History of the farmhouse and oratory


The history of the farmhouse and oratory

When the Romans first settled in Gaul, a Roman villa was built here.
At the same time, a Roman monument was erected on the eastern side of the site. Situated close to the road for easy viewing, this monument is listed as a historic monument;
It’s a funerary pile that the wealthy owner of the time had built during his lifetime to show off his wealth.

At around 4 m high and built on 3 levels, typical of the period, this funerary pile is considered by archaeologists to be one of the best preserved in the whole of southern France.



In 1747, an oratory was added to the north side of this Roman monument, to house a statue of the Virgin Mary.

An Occitan cross was placed at the top.

This oratory gave its name to the current farmhouse.


The foundations

In 1783, on the foundations of the vanished Roman villa, a large wine farm was built, which later became the present-day mas.

Since 1920, and perhaps before, this farmhouse had been separated into 2 properties. Today’s main guest house (without the kitchen) was the working farm. The rest of the buildings were barns used to store tools by the other owner.

A large wall divided the courtyard in two, separating the 2 parts.

Finally, in 2005, the then owner was able to buy back the 2nd part (abandoned barns) and restore the original farmhouse to its former grandeur.

Historical discoveries

The land surrounding the farmhouse is littered with pottery fragments from the 1st century BC and Roman tiles.
In 1823, excavations on the grounds of the “ferme saussines” (as it was known at the time) unearthed a “dolium“.

It was a large terracotta jar, miraculously preserved: 3.10 m high, with a circumference of 4.35 m at the widest point, 2.75 m near the neck and 2.35 m at the base. Capacity 1800 liters.

This monumental buried jar must have been used to preserve wine or store grain.

This dolium was displayed in front of the entrance to the Maison Carrée in Nîmes, along with a 2nd 1400-liter dolium, until the 1980s, when they were broken by vandals.

The “smaller” 1400-liter dolium has now been glued back together and is on display at the Musée de la Romanité in Nîmes.