Brading Roman Villa - History and Facts | History Hit

Brading Roman Villa

Brading, England, United Kingdom

Brading Roman Villa was a first to second century Ancient Roman farm on the Isle of Wight.

Lily Johnson

24 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Nilfanion / CC

About Brading Roman Villa

Brading Roman Villa was part of an Ancient Roman farm on the Isle of Wight and is now an archaeological site and museum, featuring a fascinating collection of ancient mosaics.

Brading Roman Villa history

The first building constructed at Brading Roman Villa appeared in around 100 AD, not long after the Roman invasion of Britain in 43 AD. This consisted of the South Range, which was soon followed by the larger North Range in 200 AD.

By the 4th century, the grand West Range was completed as a winged corridor villa, making up the main building of the family’s residence. Over time the interior of the West Range was changed, with walls moved and mosaics added to suit the changing times and fashions.

A number of neighbouring villas were situated around Brading, with the island’s location a perfect choice for reaching both mainland Britain and Gaul (modern France). Later in the 4th century however, Brading suffered heavily from pirate raids, eventually collapsing to ruin in the 5th century.

Brading Roman Villa today

Today Brading Roman Villa is housed in a museum built around the dramatic ruins of its West Range, in which visitors can explore what was once the grandest part of the Roman residence. In places, the Villa’s walls rise up to one metre in height, while aspects of its hypocaust – or underfloor heating system – can also be viewed.

The highlight of Brading Roman Villa is its mosaics however, the largest of which portrays a mixture of religious, nautical and farming imagery. One mosaic also features the image of Medusa, similar to the one found at Bignor Roman Villa, and was thought to ward off evil and protect the house.

Outside, the foundations of the North and South Ranges are marked in chalk, with a 3D recreation of the entire site helping visitors to visualise what it may have once looked like.

Getting to Brading Roman Villa

Brading Roman Villa is located in Brading on the Isle of Wight, just off the A3055. The Southern Vectis Bus Service 3 stops at the Villa, while Brading train station is short walk to the site following signposts through the village.