History & Aims

A Brief History of the Trust

The Roman Research Trust was established as a British Registered Charity in January 1990. Its formation as a charitable Trust to support education and research in Romano-British Archaeology was originally based around the excavation at the Littlecote Roman villa directed by Bryn Walters and was successively supported, financially and in other ways, by Sir Seton Wills and Mr Peter de Savary. It was intended that the work at Littlecote would remain an important element in the Trust’s objectives but that it would have a broader remit, focussing on Romano-British archaeology in the county of Wiltshire and neighbouring counties to the west. Not long after the establishment of the Trust, the organisation of the Friends of the Roman Research Trust was founded, to act as a support group and fund-raising body for the Trust which would also organise activities connected with sites and projects of interest in Romano-British archaeology.

In 1991 the financial position of the Trust improved dramatically as a result of the unconditional bequest to it by Mrs Audrey Barrie Brown of Fresden Farm. The financial circumstances surrounding the legacy were such that the Trust could not prudently retain ownership and the property was sold by auction. The proceeds were invested to provide an income from which the Trust might make grants in support of Romano-British archaeology. The Friends of the Roman Research Trust was later re-formed as a separate and independent organisation, called the Association for Roman Archaeology and having no connection with the Roman Research Trust.

Aims and Policy of the Trust

The Trust Deed of the RRT states that the primary objectives of the Trust are to “advance the education of the public in the science of archaeology by promoting the research and excavation of archaeological sites in particular in the county of Wiltshire and its neighbouring counties to the west.” While trustees recognise this preference, applications for projects anywhere in Britain will be considered for funding.

The objectives of the Trust will ordinarily be achieved through financial support of the following types of activity:

  • excavation, recording, analysis and publication of Romano-British archaeological research not otherwise funded or where existing funds are insufficient;
  • Romano-British archaeological exhibitions in museums and other places accessible to the public;
  • scholarly research into aspects of the Roman occupation of Britain by postgraduate students and professional archaeologists;
  • supporting visiting lecturers speaking on Romano-British topics to schools, colleges, historical societies, etc.;
  • funding of seminars and conferences on Romano-British Archaeology,
  • other activities consistent with the Trust deed from time to time determined by the Board.

Statement of values

The RRT supports ethical and sustainable research into Roman Britain. All recipients of our grants are required to support and adhere to our values.

  • Research should be conducted to high academic and professional standards.
  • All research must be conducted with regard to appropriate method statements and risk assessments that ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone who comes into contact with the work.
  • All research must be conducted in a way that ensures adequate and appropriate safeguarding of everyone who comes into contact with the work.
  • All research should be conducted in a way that respects the equality, diversity and individuality of all involved.
  • Research designs should pay appropriate consideration to the environmental impact of the work and take reasonable and proportionate steps to minimise any adverse environmental effects.
  • Fieldwork investigations in particular should be properly resourced and conducted in accordance with a Written Scheme of Investigation which covers (as a minimum): research context; specific project aims; fieldwork methods; post-excavation and reporting methods.
  • All research should strive to be the best value for money.
  • The results of funded research should be disseminated in a format proportionate to the significance of the findings. Applicants who have a legacy of unpublished research are unlikely to receive funding.

Financial Assets and Statements

The capital assets of the Trust consist principally of monies acquired as a result of two bequests, by Mrs Audrey Barrie Brown and Mrs. Beatrice Norman. The capital value of the Trust’s assets as at December 2019 was £1.92m. Most of the Trust’s capital is invested in a balanced portfolio of equities intended to provide distributable income and capital growth in excess of inflation. The Trust generally aims to utilise approximately £25,000 per annum for grants to Romano-British archaeology and its own running expenses.

The Trust has also benefited from the gift of an archaeological archive and library by Mr. David Smith, formerly Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, and the bequest of slides and other archaeological papers by Mr. Andrew Powell.

The Composition of the Board of Trustees

The Trustees, who are chaired by an archaeologist with expertise in Roman Britain, meet twice a year. The annual grants meeting is held in conjunction with the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies when grants to the Donald Atkinson fund, administered by that society, are also considered.