Caerwent Roman Town - History and Facts | History Hit

Caerwent Roman Town

Caerwent, Wales, United Kingdom

Caerwent Roman Town is home to the ruins of the once-thriving Roman settlement of Venta Silurum.

Lily Johnson

31 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Caerwent Roman Town

Caerwent Roman Town in Wales is a collection of Roman ruins that once formed part of the once buzzing Roman settlement of Venta Silurum. The perfect site for lovers of Roman Britain, Caerwent features some of the best preserved remains in the country.

Caerwent Roman Town history

Caerwent Roman Town, or Venta Silurum, was likely founded around 75-80 AD, and served as a settlement of the native Silures tribe. The Silures had put up a staunch fight against the Roman conquest since 48 AD, waging effective guerrilla warfare on the invaders and defeating the Second Legion’s forces.

In 74/75 AD the Roman fortress of Isca, now Caerleon Roman Fortress, was established nearby, and whether the Silures agreed to the Romans’ terms or were militarily defeated, by 78 AD they were eventually subdued and residing in Venta Silurum.

Venta Silurum was established as the Silures’ capital, where a local council sat in governance of the surrounding area. The native population were given nominal independence and responsibility over this and continued to worship their Celtic gods, them having been equated to Roman deities – the Celtic Ocelus representing the Roman Mars for example.

In the 2nd century the town reached its peak as a thriving settlement, complete with a range of buildings and facilities. An all-important public bath house was featured, as well as an amphitheatre, forum, market-place, and temple.

Following the Roman retreat out of Britain, Venta Silurum remained occupied until at least the mid-5th century, and eventually gave its name ‘Venta’ to the medieval Kingdom of Gwent. Following this the town became known as Caerwent, meaning ‘fort of Gwent’.

Caerwent Roman Town today

Today Caerwent Roman Town is managed by Cadw, and features the remains the temple, amphitheatre, marketplace and a number of houses complete with mosaics.

Sections of its impressive 16-feet high defensive wall also remain – considered to be one of the best preserved in Northern Europe – while stone artefacts unearthed during excavations are on display in the parish church.

Information panels along the way give you more of the site’s history, and pre-booked guided tours are also available on certain days.

Getting to Caerwent Roman Town

Caerwent Roman Town is located in Wales, just off the A48 between Newport and Chepstow. The nearest train is Caldicot, 2.4 miles away, while the 73 bus service between Newport and Chepstow stops at St Stephen’s Church, a 2-minute walk to the site.