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An Outline History of Stanford in the Vale

Browse Chapters:
Introduction
Prehistory
Romano-British
Anglo-Saxon
Domesday Stanford
Medieval Stanford
Reformation and Tudor Stanford
Civil War Stanford
Early Modern Stanford
19th Century Stanford
The First World War
The Inter-War Years
The Second World War
Post-War Stanford
 
Church and Chapel
Schools and Libraries
Civic Administration
Newsletters
Health and Social Services, and Young People
Village Halls
Fairs, Festivals and Fetes
Clubs and Societies
Businesses
Acknowledgements & Further Reading
 
Additional articles:
BBC Domesday 1986
Church Green Fire 2005
Coat Of Arms
Virtual Tour 2002

Romano-British

In A.D. 43, the Romans invaded Britain, reaching this area by A.D. 44. The Vale appears to have been extensively cultivated, with small settlements and farmsteads linked by trackways. There were villas at Woolstone and East Challow and a large temple complex at Marcham.

Romano-British Settlement Within the parish of Stanford, there were two main distinctive Roman settlements, one to the north of the parish and the second underlying the present village. The first of these is a substantial Romano-British settlement near Bowling Green Farm which was excavated by Oxford Archaeology from 1988 to 2009 during the expansion of gravel and sand extraction pits. The evidence from this fieldwork suggests that the site contains a 2nd century villa within an enclosure, associated with late Iron Age farmsteads. This may have been superseded by a large settlement, perhaps even a small market town, in the late 3rd-4th century A.D. During excavation, field walking and through the examination of aerial photos, evidence has been found, or the presence is inferred, for the following on the site: a villa or bathhouse; a shrine or temple; ovens and kilns; a well; pits, ditches and gullies and buildings of various construction and status. Roman coins, pottery and other artefacts, and indications of buildings have been found elsewhere in the vicinity, suggesting other Romano-British settlements, such as in the Frogmore Brook valley of Hatford parish.

Roman Pottery found around the village.
Roman Pottery found around the village.

The second Roman settlement in the parish underlies the present village settlement. Until recently, this was thought to have only been a small single farmstead, but thanks to recent archaeological fieldwork and excavation carried out by both Cotswold Archaeology and Ashby; this has been proven to be incorrect. Instead it has been found that the Roman settlement was actually substantial in size. This is mainly due to two archaeological discoveries, the first in 2008, when two 1st to 2nd C cremation burials were found on the southern side of Stanford, and the second in 2013, when the corner of a large, 1 m deep, Roman ditch was found adjacent to the Manor House. From these findings, it is thought that the Roman settlement was about 300 m north to south. However, the east-west extent of the settlement is not presently known. Artefacts recovered from this settlement area have included: pottery, including Roman Samian Ware of the 1st to 2nd C (imported from Gaul), Oxford Ware of the 3rd to 4th C, Grey Ware and Black Burnished Ware; and also a large quantity of Roman building materials, such as floor tiles, which may indicate a wealthy settlement with substantial buildings. Furthermore, from test pitting, it is suggested that the line of the High Street, which runs south-west to north-east through the village, may also have first been established at this period. From this evidence, it is thought that the Roman settlement may have been located in this position to control movement over the fording point on the Ock, and was the primary settlement from which modern day Stanford grew.

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