Can this be true??

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A Roman Villa at Ollerton??

The apparent discovery of a Roman Villa at Ollerton was noted by the Newark Advertiser newspaper (edition of 15th May 1861, p2 c4) in the following manner. 

“OLLERTON – DISCOVERY OF A ROMAN VILLA – The Rev. William B. Philpot, rector of Walesby, in a letter with respect to a “Discovery of a Roman Villa”. He states that “an extensive villa, with its dependent establishments, has been lately brought to light by the plough and the spade. The plough struck against one of the under piers of one of the hypocausts.

“The ploughman imagining it to be some kind of draining tile, or an old chimney pot, took the opinion of an intelligent local antiquarian. He kindly communicated with myself. We were helped in our labours by the tenants and neighbours, and when the principal portion had been laid open to view the Rev. Edward Trollope, the discoverer of the villa on the property of the late Earl of Westmoreland, paid us a visit, and on Tuesday last kindly explained the idea of the Roman villa to a large assembly from the adjoining parts.

“Our villa stands within half-a-mile of the great Roman road from Camulodunum to the settlements in Yorkshire. From indications in the neighbouring fields it is not unlikely that this may have been a settlement of some extent. Coins have been found of the period of one of the Gordians, of Constantine, of Constantinus II, and of Constans; also some fragments of handmills, a stone chisel, faggot-fork, spindlewhirls, and numberless pieces of funeral urns, dolia diota, and jars of many sorts and sizes, some of very choice Samian and Durobrivæ ware.

“The hypocaustal features are very clearly marked, as the furnaces, flues, ashpits, and under piers, which are filled with clay, and much burnt. There are foundations of the walls of three rooms, and a cold plunging bath, with a long drain by which the water escaped down the slope of the hill. Bones of red deer, oxen, and sheep have been dug up, with the usual number of oystershells. The spot commands a view of Lincoln, and is within a few minutes’ walk of a view of the Humber and the sea.”

This page was added by Website Administrator on 21/02/2012.
Comments about this page

This is likely to be an article about a villa discovery at Walesby, Lincolnshire. There certainly was a Rev. William Philpot active in Lincolnshire at that time. The next step in resolving this uncertainty would be to check the list of incumbents for the church at Walesby, Lincolnshire. The editor of the Newark Advertiser, may have made an error, it seems. Walesby, Lincolnshire is set on high ground in the Wolds. From English Heritage’s monument record 351895: ‘A Roman building, probably a villa (6), at Walesby, on the west side of the Wold and 1/2 mile from a Roman road was discovered and excavated in 1861. It had a hypocaust and covered an area variously estimated at 100 and 300 square yards. Many finds include 2nd to 4th century pottery, coins, and two pieces of a large lead vessel decorated with the chi-rho monogram.’

By LudetheDude Michalek
On 14/01/2013

I agree with Lude above.  Walesby in Lincolnshire is approximately twelve miles from the Humber and the sea, and is characterised by Walesby Hill running through it, so presumably has high spots from which one could see the estuary, whereas Ollerton is nowhere near either and certainly doesn't have a view of any coast!  Also, running a fairly straight line from Colchester (Camulodunum) to Yorkshire as mentioned in the article, will pass very close to the Walesby in Lincolnshire, on what is now the A46. Sad for Ollerton, perhaps, but a wonderful find.  Is it still to be seen?

By Marion Prest
On 15/07/2014

There have been a number of Roman artefacts found in and around Walesby and I believe some scholars say there was a Roman camp at Ollerton. A relative of a close friend has found coins and suchlike in the village. Also, evidence came to light during a recent planning application that there are Romano-British crop marks around the village. Some residents recently stated that a possible Roman building was found a few years ago but the whereabouts has been kept secret. I have been told that a Roman torc was found and this is currently in Retford Museum.

By Albie Ontour
On 18/07/2014


Nothing remains of the Walesby villa part from crop marks. It's a beautiful part of the wolds and Walesby church, not far from the villa site, is worth checking out.

By Ludethedude Michalek
On 04/08/2014


it’s pretty much a fact that there are the remains of a roman camp under what is now the industrial estate on the road going out to Kirton. There is also about a mile of fairly well made roman road heading off west from the roman camp in the direction of St Giles Church, Ollerton. Adrian Oswald visited and wrote up a description in 1939. Both the camp and the road are now hidden under pit-tip and new development. I’m not aware of any other evidence of roman building in the Ollerton area apart from the above. As for traces of a roman villa you’d have to go a little further east as far at Laxton and Moorhouse.

By Ludwik Michalek
On 10/08/2014

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