The following diagrams are reproduced from the book
‘The Roman Villa at Box’ by Mark Corney with kind permission from KOBRA


Romano-British structures buried below the
village of Box, Wiltshire

Some 1700 years ago, a large complex of sophisticated buildings occupied the ground to the north, east and west of where Box Parish Church stands today. Their design was Roman, but they had probably been commissioned and built by local Britons, who had adopted Roman ways since the Roman occupation of Southern England some 2 or 3 centuries earlier. Now only their foundations and some of their beautiful mosaic floors remain, the stone walls, roofs, windows and doors having been destroyed by the weather or robbed by later generations to construct their own more simple buildings.

The Romano-British structures included at least 50 rooms; the largest of which was a huge reception hall at the north-east corner; 12.5m long, 7m wide and estimated to have been 14m tall. Many of the rooms had central heating, most had glass windows and the interior walls were plastered, painted and decorated mainly to represent marble. So far only one bath suite has been discovered but there must have been others. Close to the town of Aquae Sulis (modern Bath) this is among the largest Romano-British complexes or villas in South-west England. In its earlier days, it certainly was a villa (dwelling house) but its later expansion suggests a sacred site or a healing centre or both, based on the three mineral-rich springs which still gush from the limestone hills to the South.

Ideally the site should be excavated, enclosed in buildings and opened to the public, but houses, gardens and roads now cover the Romano-British stonework, which makes physical excavation impractical. So, as a second best, a model has been constructed to show how the ancient stonework of the core of the complex would look if all the overlying houses were demolished and careful excavation carried out. To locate the reclamation works, models of the end of the Parish Church, the Selwyn Hall and the Wilderness have been included around the edge.



Annotated plan of the Villa



Notes on Roman Remains at Box
by the Rev. E.H. Goddard, published in Gentleman's Magazine in 1831