About Crofton Roman Villa
Crofton Roman Villa in Orpington, London, contains the remains of an ancient house and farm complex originally built in the 2nd century and occupied until around 400 AD. Today parts of its excavated ruins are on display to the public, and present a fascinating look into Roman Britain.
Crofton Roman Villa history
Crofton Roman Villa was first inhabited in around 140 AD, and formed the centre of a 500-acre farming estate. Over its 260 years of occupation it was altered several times, and at its peak had a total of 20 rooms.
In 2 rooms, its floors were made of ‘opus signinum’, a building material made up of broken down tiles mixed with mortar, and beaten down with a rammer. Elsewhere, 3 other rooms had tiled or ‘tessellated’ floors, the remains of which can still be viewed today. By the 5th century however, the villa was abandoned likely during the Roman retreat from Britain.
In 1926, local workmen discovered a host of Roman artefacts at the site while constructing new driveways for a council building, and the following excavation unearthed the ancient villa beneath. It was not until 1988 however that the site was extensively excavated by the Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit, who alongside Bromley Council transformed it into the educational site it is today.
Crofton Roman Villa today
Today the site has been partially excavated and is housed inside a modern purpose-build structure. Visitors can see the remains of 10 of the villa’s rooms, as well as the original tiled flooring and the hypocaust under-floor heating system. Short talks by a villa guide are available, and there is a host of information boards around the site including graphic displays of the villa and its excavation.
A touch table features a selection of real Roman finds for handling, while around the site there are also a number of reconstructed items from the Roman era such as pottery, lamps, and jewellery. The site is child-friendly and also hosts special events for children in the Easter and summer holidays.
Getting to Crofton Roman Villa
Crofton Roman Villa is located in Orpington in London, on the A232 (Crofton Road). Orpington train station is adjacent to the site, while a number of bus services stop directly outside at the Orpington Station stop. Parking is also available off York Rise, adjacent to the train station.
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