2.2.2 Rijswijk / villa Risuuic
In a List of Landed Property of the diocese of Utrecht, Rijswijk features as ‘villa Risuuic’ (Henderikx 1987, especially 95, 122). This list was compiled in the late ninth and first half of the tenth century in an attempt to reclaim lost possessions of the Chapter of St Martin’s, and hence reflects an earlier situation. It relates to the Utrecht diocese’s landed property acquired between the first quarter of the eighth century and the years of Viking domination (c. 860-885). At Rijswijk this included part of a villa, comprising a church with its land and three other mansa. The list tells us nothing about the full size and the layout of the settlement. The presence of a church suggests a fair-sized habitation, which we might envisage as an ordered complex of farms, comparable to that of De Geer, but with a church. If we presume that the latter stood at roughly the same spot as the present-day village church of Rijswijk, the villa would have been at a distance of no more than a few hundred metres from the castellum. Maybe it was even located within the vicus. We might indeed speculate that the first (wooden?) church Christianised the old pagan cult site of Haeva. Such a (private) chapel is unlikely to have been founded before the late eighth century. The founder is unknown. It is generally assumed that the territories of the Roman castella became royal estates. Might the villa have been part of this?
There are two main possibilities for the origins of the villa. Either it was a new foundation in Merovingian times or it developed from an older habitation, going back to at least the Late Roman period. In the latter case, it may have evolved from the Roman vicus, possibly with a connecting Frankish phase. The parallels to De Geer would in that case be very strong, but without further evidence this must remain mere conjecture. Nor do we have any indication as regards the donor’s identity.