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villa drawing

About our Villa

Who found it?

Imagine the excitement of George Tupper who in 1811, now over 200 years ago, uncovered the Summer dining room water basin after striking it with his plough.  


Today the Villa is still managed by the Tupper family under the control of the Trustees who continue to strive to maintain the site for the education and enjoyment of all who visit.

Who lived here?

No records exist from the Roman period. It may have been a Roman immigrant family, a family from elsewhere in the Empire, or more likely, according to experts, a Romano-British family. Judging by the quality of the mosaics it was someone of considerable wealth. The family in the painting that is displayed in the foyer at the Villa, may have dressed as shown. Their clothing may have been more elaborate when they were entertaining. The man is wearing a ring and brooch found during excavations at Bignor during the nineteenth century.

Soon after its initial discovery a local resident John Hawkins of Bignor Park, took responsibility for the excavations of the Villa.  He invited leading antiquary Samuel Lysons to supervise work.

Discovering the Villa caused many concerns from vandalism to earthworms.  

Protecting the Villa in following years as more and more of the site was exposed was vital.  It began with high thorn fences and then in the early 1812 the first brick building construction began.  These flint thatched buildings are Grade II listed in their own right.


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