Roman Villa in Ashford Carbonell

About the only thing Covid hasn’t shut! In 1994, aerial photography carried out on behalf of the Royal Commission for Historical Monuments England (RCHME) revealed a cropmark in a field at the extreme southern edge of the parish (OS no. SO532693). This was interpreted as a winged villa of the Romano-British period with an associated aisled barn, within a courtyard. It overlies a single-ditched rectangular enclosure which could be either Iron Age or an earlier Roman structure. The site is near the existing lane which, until the mid-nineteenth century, was part of a through road from Ludlow via Steventon, Saltmoor and the main street of Ashford Carbonel to Little Hereford, and which is believed to be a very old trackway.
An amateur archaeologist from the Black Country (whose name I have forgotten) visited the site a few years later and alerted us to its existence, but too late for inclusion in my book! He found shards of pottery and tiles and I later discovered a few more bits. I later showed our finds to a member of staff of the Shropshire Museum Service, and was told that most of our collection was of orange Severn Valley Ware, a product of local origin. All the pieces were very worn, which made it difficult to identify any particular pot forms. There was also a fragment of Roman hypocaust tile which must have come from the villa itself. I was told that it was very useful to see some dateable objects to tie in the photographic evidence and was asked if I would donate the pieces. They are now in the Shropshire Museum Service (though not in Ludlow).
In the interests of good husbandry the surface of the site has now been cleared of “rubble”, so any remaining artefacts are well buried, below the level of cultivation. The field itself has been under the plough since 1940; before that it had been pasture for many years. For the moment it is sufficient to know that the site exists. It is not under threat of development of any kind, so not in need of a ‘rescue dig’.
Reference: Life and Death of a Roman City by R White & P Barker (Tempus Publishing). This contains a plan of the site.
Phyllis Ray