Romano-British Villa

Combe Down, Monkton Combe, Avon

NGRef: ST7662
OSMap: LR172
Type: Roman Villa
Roads
NNW (1½) to AQVAE SVLIS (Bath, Avon)
SSE (16) to Cold Kitchen Hill (Wiltshire)

Building Inscription from the Combe Down Villa

PRO SALVTE IMP CES M AVR ANTONINI PII FELICIS INVICTI AVG NAEVIVS AVG LIB ADIVT PROC PRINCIPIA RVINA OPRESS A SOLO RESTITVIT
"For the health of Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Pius Felix Invictus Augustus,¹ Naevius the imperial freedman, helped to restore from its foundations the procurator's headquarters which had broken down in ruins."
(RIB 179; dated: AD212-217 or 218-222)
  1. Either the emperor Caracalla who ruled from January AD212 until April 217, or emperor Elagabalus who ruled from May 218 until March 222; their official names are very similar.

An inscription recovered from the Romano-British villa at Combe Down (vide R.I.B. 179 supra) would seem to indicate that by the early-third century the Provincial Procurator had relocated his offices to a palatial residence outside Aquae Calidae (Bath, Avon). It is possible that this villa was the winter quarters of the chief financial officer of Britannia, away from the hustle and bustle of the commercial centre at Londinium, where the stresses of procuratorship could be eased away in the naturally heated waters of the nearby springs sacred to the goddess Sul-Minerva.

There were stone quarries about a mile to the west at The Tumps (ST7462), and other roman villas at Wellow (ST7257) and Iford (ST7958), about 4 miles to the south-west and south-east respectively.

See: Chronicle of the Roman Emperors by Chris Scarre (Thames & Hudson, London, 1995);
The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965).
All English translations, including any inherent mistakes, are my own.

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