Romano-British Villa

Spoonley Wood, Gloucestershire

NGRef: SP0425
OSMap: LR163
Type: Villa
Roads
Possible Road: N (29) to SALINAE (Droitwich, Worcestershire)
Probable Road: S (16) to CORINIVM (Cirencester, Gloucestershire)

The Romano-British Villa at Spoonley Wood

Spoonley Wood started as a Romano-British building of the "Aisled Barn or Corridor" type with the long axis aligned NE-SW. There are other buildings of the same style situated at Stroud (Gloucestershire), Norton Disney (Nottinghamshire), Ickleton and Denton (both in Cambridgeshire), Hartlip (Kent) and Bignor (Sussex).

The original "Corridor Villa", constructed of small, roughly-squared blocks of the local Bath Oolitic Sandstone, was later converted by the addition of two long wings extending to the north-west which were built at each end. This "Winged Villa" was later turned into a "Courtyard Villa" by the addition of an enclosing wall to the north-west which connected the two wings. The same phases of development, from corridor-, to winged- to courtyard-type were also seen in the Roman villa at Folkestone (Kent), but Spoonley Wood is often cited as the classic example of this sequence as it was the first to be discovered, being excavated in the late-1880's.

Unfortunately the dating evidence from the Spoonly Wood villa is sparse, and the construction dates of the various stages may only be approximated in relation to the phases observed in the Folkestone villa, which it closely resembles. At Folkestone, the original "Aisled Barn" or "Corridor Villa" was built sometime during the late-1st or early-2nd centuries, the conversion into a "Winged Corridor Villa" occurred during the mid-3rd century, and the final stage as a "Courtyard Villa" was achieved towards the late-3rd or early-4th. The Folkestone villa continued to be occupied until around AD370. It is possible that the Spoonley Wood villa went through these three stages of development at roughly the same time.

There is a probable road southwards to the Civitas capital of the Dobunni at Cirencester, which possibly continues north-north-west towards the major salt-works of the tribe at Droitwich, but may equally have had Alcester as its northern terminus.

See: The Roman Villa - An Historical Introduction by John Percival (BCA, London, 1971)
Britain in the Roman Empire by Joan Liversidge (London 1968);