North Leigh Roman Villa

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North Leigh Roman Villa
North Leigh Roman Villa.JPG
North Leigh Roman Villa
North Leigh Roman Villa is located in Oxfordshire
North Leigh Roman Villa
Location within Oxfordshire
General information
TypeRomano-British Villa
LocationNorth Leigh, England
grid reference SP397154
CountryUnited Kingdom
Coordinates51°50′10″N 1°25′28″W / 51.8362°N 1.4245°W / 51.8362; -1.4245Coordinates: 51°50′10″N 1°25′28″W / 51.8362°N 1.4245°W / 51.8362; -1.4245
Construction startedc. 100 AD
Demolishedc. 400 AD

North Leigh Roman Villa was a Roman courtyard villa in the Evenlode Valley about 0.5 miles (800 m) north of the hamlet of East End in North Leigh civil parish in Oxfordshire. It is in the care of English Heritage and is open to the public.[1]


The architect Henry Hakewill excavated the ruins in 1813–16.[2] Professor Francis Haverfield conducted further excavations in 1910.[2] Aerial archaeology in 1943 photographed the previously unknown plan of the southwest wing.[3] Excavations for the Ministry of Public Building and Works in 1958 revealed several phases of occupation and development, starting with Iron Age postholes indicating that the first buildings on the site were wooden.[4] The ruins were further excavated in the 1970s.[2]


Excavations indicate that the site was first occupied during the Late Iron Age.[5] In the 1st or early 2nd century AD the first villa building was built.[1] This consisted of three buildings, one of which was a bath-house, along the line of what was to become the north-west range.[1]

3rd century mosaic

Early in the 3rd century the south-west and north-east wings were added, partially enclosing the courtyard.[1] By the 4th century some of the buildings on the north western and south western ranges had been rebuilt and extended.[5] In its 4th century form the villa had 60 rooms built on three sides of the courtyard with the fourth side formed by a corridor in which the gateway was set.[5] The villa was luxurious, including four bath suites, 16 rooms containing mosaic pavements, 11 rooms with plain tessellated floors and another 11 rooms with under-floor hypocaust heating.[5] Further ranges of farm buildings lie to the south west of the main complex, and aerial photographs indicate that the site extended over a large area on the west bank of the River Evenlode.[5] The villa was abandoned in the 5th century.[1]

The villa is notable for its 3rd century mosaic in what is believed to have been the dining room. This floor was lifted and relaid in 1929, and is now protected by a purpose built shed.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "North Leigh Roman Villa". Days Out. English Heritage. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  2. ^ a b c "Site Name: North Leigh Roman Villa". Oxfordshire's Historic Archives. Ashmolean Museum. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  3. ^ Leeds & Atkinson, 1943, pages 197–198
  4. ^ Case, 1958, pages 133–134
  5. ^ a b c d e NORTH LEIGH ROMAN VILLA, Pastscape, retrieved 27 May 2012

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