NGRef: SJ 722 337
The villa is situated just five miles north-east of the partly-known Roman road running between Pennocrucium (Stretton, Water Eaton, South Staffordshire) in the south-east and Mediolanum (Whitchurch, Shropshire) to the north-west (Margary#19).
The site lies on a south facing slope towards the Coal Brook (a tributary of the Tern), where, superimposed on the natural slope is an elevated area about 400ft in width (east-west). The buildings so far discovered lie near the southern and western edges of this area, which strongly suggests that the buildings may form part of two sides of a courtyard villa facing south-south-west.
There are two known Roman buildings; Site A was uncovered by Pape in 1928 and was identified as part of a corridor villa, aligned NNW-SSE, and possibly dating from the late first century. Site B, identified as the villa's bath-house, lies only 30 ft east of the south-east corner of Site A, and was excavated in 1966/7.
Two periods of occupation have been identified. The original structure was built out of the local red sandstone, and has been tentatively dated to the second century, and at a later date (as yet unknown) the original building underwent several alterations to its superstructure and its function appears to have changed. The original furnace was blocked up with rubble and a new floor laid over the top. At the same time the hot plunge bath was discontinued, and rooms I and II were heated from a new furnace cut through the wall of room II and fed from outside the building.
"[SJ722338] ... work was resumed on the bath house in 1969. An earlier floor beneath the hypocaust suggests that the building was only converted to use as a bath-suite in a secondary phase. The space between this building and the known corridor-house was roughly paved with sandstone." (Britannia, 1971)
Just one mile to the north of the Hales Villa and two miles east of Market Drayton is the site of the Battle of Blore Heath. The battle was fought on 23rd September A.D. 1459, when the Yorkist Earl of Salisbury beat Lord Audley, during one of several ill-recorded battles of the 'Wars of the Roses' between the rival English houses of York and Lancaster.
While a young man, Robert Neville, Earl of Salisbury had earned himself a great reputation fighting alongside his brother-in-law Richard, Duke of York, during the latter stages of the Hundred Years' War against France. He would naturally side with his old friend during his bid for power in England. His father, Thomas de Montacute Earl of Salisbury, was wounded by cannon fire on 24 October 1428 only 12 days into the Siege of Orleans. Raised by the English on 12 October 1428, the siege continued until 7 May 1429 when a 4,000 strong French army led by Jean D'Arc relieved the city. Incidentally, James Touchet Lord Audley and William Montague Earl of Salisbury, the great-grandfathers of the two protagonists at Blore Heath, had fought side by side at both Crecy and Poitiers at the beginning of the Hundred Years' War.