Ashtead: 1st and 2nd century AD Villa and Bathhouse

The excavation of a Villa and Bathhouse, 1925
Photographic Record and Survey of Surrey no. 8514

Ashtead Roman Villa and Bathhouse dates to the 1st and 2nd century AD. In the north of Ashtead Common a number of earthworks and other features surround the site. The villa is a rare type of corridor villa, with considerable evidence that it adjoined a large scale tile manufactory. A branch road from the Roman road Stane Street approaches the site.

The site was excavated from 1924-9 and the results published in three papers by A W G Lowther. The site occupied one of the highest points on Ashtead Common and is surrounded by marshy ground, with a small stream, the Rye, flowing at the foot of the southern slope.

The building comprised a villa of corridor type with a separate bathhouse, both reconstructed in several phases of occupation. The bathhouse ‘resembles many of the ordinary camp bath houses’ in plan and was probably used by the men of the adjacent tile-works. The villa had its own bath appendage – probably of similar date to the separate baths. There was considerable evidence of Claudian occupation of the site prior to the erection of the known buildings.

The first buildings were erected circa AD 67-79, but the main period of activity and occupation was AD 117-38. The buildings were dismantled about AD 150, but the villa was partly rebuilt in AD 180. By about AD 200, at the latest, the site had ceased to be occupied. Extensive areas of quarries and spoil heaps demonstrate the extent of industrial activity on the site in the Roman period.

This information is taken from the Surrey Historic Environment Record ref. 270.

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