Excavations from 1977–81 within a ten hectare area south of the scheduled villa at Chignall St James, showed continuous development from a Middle Iron Age settlement into a prosperous Roman estate. Unusually high proportions of cattle bone indicate the centrality of stock-keeping in the site’s economy throughout the Roman period. It is inferred that a late Roman cemetery is the burial ground for a group of coloni. The villa, known to have had a bath-house in the late 1st century, appears to have been unenclosed until the 3rd century. This hexagonal enclosure later influenced the alignment of an early medieval narrow-rig field system.
C.P. Clarke, 1998. 'Excavations to the south of Chignall Roman Villa, Essex 1977–81', East Anglian Archaeology 83