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BRADING Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England.

The Roman villa at Morton, near Brading and 1.6 km N of Sandown, was excavated in 1879-81. It was apparently built around two courtyards of which only the inner (ca. 55 x 55 m but widening a little towards the E) has been fully defined. The dwelling house, on the W side of the inner court and looking across it towards the the sea, was a modified form of corridor villa (27 x 16.5 m) with 12 rooms. On the N side of the inner court was a large aisled building (42 x 16.5 m) which was subsequently divided internally, and on the S side was a simple rectangular building (48 x 9 m) also divided. Only one building (15 x 6 m) relating to the outer court was excavated; this lay on the S side. The dates of the building and modification of the villa were not worked out, but the coins found ranged from Domitian to Honorius, with a predominance of those later than 250.

The main house is notable for its 4th c. mosaics; the themes include Orpheus, the Gnostic deity Abraxas, Astronomy, and scenes from the Metamorphoses. At a later stage a corn-drier was cut into the pavement of the corridor of the main house, and a large collection of iron implements was found on the site. A system of so-called Celtic fields on Brading Down may be related to the villa. Parts of the buildings have been preserved and are open to inspection.


J.E.P. & F.G.H. Price: A Description of the Remains of Roman Buildings at Morton near Brading, Isle of Wight (1881); VCH Hampshire I (1900) 313-16; mosaics: D. J. Smith in A.L.F. Rivet, ed., The Roman Villa in Britain (1969) 91-94; fields: H. C. Bowen, ibid. 43-44; ironwork: H. F. Cleere, “Roman Domestic Ironwork, as illustrated by the Brading, Isle of Wight, Villa,” Bulletin Institute of Archaeology, University of London 1 (1958) 55-74.


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