The Journal Of Antiquities

Ancient Sites In Great Britain & Southern Ireland

Winterton Roman Villa, Old Cliff Farm, North Lincolnshire


OS grid reference SE 9138 1809. At the west side of Winterton, a small town 5 miles north of Scunthorpe, in north Lincolnshire, are the oblong-shaped earthworks of what would have been the quite opulent 2nd century Winterton Roman Villa, one of two in this area. The site is located behind Old Cliff Farm just to the west of Roxby road and Top Road (A1077). Normanby Hall Country Park is 1 mile to the south-east, while the Humber estuary is just 2 miles to the north. The Romans called the Humber river Abus Fuvius. In the town of Winterton itself, to the east of North Street, is the site of another Roman villa, or a 4th century Romano-British farmstead, and few miles to the east of the town is the course of the Roman road running north from Lindum (Lincoln) to Eboracum (York) via a ferry across the river to the (civitus) Roman capital of Brough (Petvaria) on the opposite bank of the estuary. The area around Winterton was home to a Roman tile-cum-pottery manufacturing site and also an early mineral extraction site that processed iron-ore.

The villa appears to have been built in three seperate stages at different times from the early to middle 2nd century AD up until the mid 4th century AD (the Romano-British period), each newer (ancillary) building being linked via a corridor (aisle) with the most recent part of the villa at it’s western-side measuring roughly 110 by 40 feet with interior dry-stone walls and double rows of roof support posts at 8 feet apart. There was a limestone floor with two large mosaics and a water channel or gulley running beneath that with a hypercaust (underfloor heating system), and some interesting wall paintings. During excavations pottery sherds from the 2nd century AD were found under the mosaic floor. Two stone round houses also stood in the grounds of the villa.

The eastern side of the villa had been, in more recent times, demolished to make way for road widening and, during this road widening in 1968 some 4th century Bronze-workings were found. Workmen also came across a stone coffin with lead lining at the bottom. This contained the skeleton of a  woman in her early 20s who may have lived at the villa in Roman times, although a more recent date, perhaps of the Anglo-Saxon or Viking ages, has been given to her?

When archaeological excavations took place between 1958-1967 ‘broadperiod’ pottery sherds from the 2nd century were excavated; also fragments of  mosaics, a statue, parts of the hypercaust heating system and a number of other antiquities from the villa site as well as finds from the surrounding area, all of which are now on display in the North Lincolnshire Museum, formerly the Scunthorpe Museum, on Oswald Road in the town.

Just to the east of North Street (the B1207) road in Winterton are the scant earthworks of what is probably another Roman villa, or a Romano-British farmstead-cum-settlement, according to some, from the 4th century AD? This site was discovered in 1953.


Stead, I.M., Excavations at Winterton Roman Villa and other Roman Sites in North Lincolnshire, H.M.S.O (Dept of The Environment Archaeological Reports no 9), 1976.

Ordnance Survey, Historical map and guide – Roman Britain, (Fifth Edition), Southampton, 2001. 

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Author: sunbright57

I am interested in holy wells, standing stones and ancient crosses; also anything old, prehistoric, or unusual.

2 thoughts on “Winterton Roman Villa, Old Cliff Farm, North Lincolnshire

  1. I read your entry on Winterton Roman Villa with interest. It seems ‘Villa’ complexes were often built on Iron Age Farming sites suggesting a continuity of occupation and the importance of farming to the Empire. Did you see the programme on Channel 4 a few years back in which a project was undertaken to build a Roman Villa using techniques available to people at the time? That reconstructed Villa can still be seen at the Wroxeter Roman Museum.



    • Hello BarryS, I think I do remember that programme and was there a Roman bath-house reconstructed at Wroxter. Yes, I believe the Romans did indeed build on Iron-Age sites. Thank you for your interesting comment. Webmaster.