Back in the 1990s the then Inspector of Ancient Monuments David Sherlock decided to take me to visit the site of Beadlam Roman Villa in North Yorkshire, and asked me to write about it. I'd published a couple of bits of my PhD thesis on RB villas, and English Heritage had an interest in David Neal's write-up of the 1966-1978 Beadlam excavations. David Sherlock thought I might have some 'new light' to cast on these old stones.
Standing there in the field on that grey day, staring at lines of consolidated wall footings poking through grass, I wasn't really feeling it. But back in the Department Library in Newcastle, as I studied once again the plans and the information available, a lot of ideas did come quickly, and the inspiration was a blocked doorway. That changed everything. I've always been fascinated by Roman villas, what they were, what they meant, and how British people lived in them.Read More