Gargrave Roman villa – reconstruction MYD4006 © English Heritage Photographic Library
Aerial photographs show that the Roman villa at Gargrave was surrounded by an extensive ditched field system covering an area of 40 hectares (100 acres). It is likely that further land for grazing would have been held on the unenclosed moorland nearby. Pig bones indicate that there was also woodland nearby for them to forage in. The site has been extensively excavated since the 18th century but is as yet not fully published.
The earliest occupation on the site is indicated by a number of native style circular timber and turf built huts. They may date to the very late Iron Age or early Roman period. One of these huts actually survived throughout the Roman occupation but may not have been used as dwelling.
In the second half of the second century AD, a house with a front corridor and a central entrance between slightly projecting wings was developed. It had mosaic floors, underfloor heating and a detached bathhouse as well as an internal bath suite. Two new house buildings were added at a later date together with a single-roomed squarish building at one time linked to one of the new houses by a covered walk way.
The main houses seem to have been abandoned in the fourth century and most of their stone walls and roof tiles robbed for use elsewhere. Objects from the excavation are on display at the Craven Museum.
Gargrave villa – excavation MYD4006 © The Craven Museum, Skipton, 2004.
Hartley, B R & Fitts, R Leon (1988) The Brigantes. Gloucester: Alan Sutton
Gill, Harry M (1988) The History of Gargrave. The Ecclesiastical Parish of Gargrave Vol 2. Sheffield: Sheffield City Polytechnic