Chedworth Roman Villa - History and Facts | History Hit

Chedworth Roman Villa

Gloucestershire, England, United Kingdom

Chedworth Roman Villa is a well-preserved ancient Roman house in the Cotswolds.

Lily Johnson

07 Apr 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Chedworth Roman Villa

Chedworth Roman Villa in Gloucestershire was a luxurious and vast Roman residence built in the 2nd century, and expanded in later years. It is a unique site due to evidence found of Roman occupation following the withdrawal of the Roman army in the 5th century, and today provides visitors with a fascinating glimpse into what was once an opulent ancient home.

Chedworth Roman Villa history

Believed to have been built in around 120 AD, Chedworth Roman Villa would have been a typical upper-class home in the Roman period. In its initial build phase, the villa consisted of three buildings comprising 3 sides of a rectangle, with a bath house to the north. Following a fire in the early 3rd century, the west and south wings were rebuilt and the bath suite enlarged, before in the 4th century it was further transformed into an elite residence.

A portico was added at the villa’s entrance, as well as an inner garden and outer courtyard, while a second set of baths was constructed in the west wing. Exquisite mosaics were installed in the dining room, alongside 14 other rooms in the villa.

Interestingly, there is evidence at Chedworth of significant occupation following the Roman withdrawal out of Britain in 410, making it a unique site in the country. In room 28, the mosaic and east and west walls were installed after 424, providing the first piece of evidence that Roman activity remained in Britain longer than previously thought. Over half of the coins found at the villa also date from the mid-late 6th century, indicating its further occupation in the Anglo-Saxon period.

Chedworth Roman Villa today

Today Chedworth Roman Villa is run by the National Trust, and welcomes visitors to view its fascinating remains. Audio guides or guided tours are available, however guests are also able to explore the villa at leisure, taking in its various sights.

Many of the villa’s mosaics may be enjoyed, including one in the dining room that depicts figures from each season dancing, while the hypocaust – or underfloor heating system – can also still be admired. Outside an octagonal shrine surrounds a natural spring, built as a Nymphaeum to honour water nymphs in the area.

The adjoining villa museum showcases some of the finds discovered during excavations of the site including coins, hair pins, and a stone relief of a ‘hunter god’ alongside a stag and a dog, likely placed in a temple at the site.

Getting to Chedworth Roman Villa

Chedworth Roman Villa is located near Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, and can be reached by following the brown signs marked ‘Roman Villa’ from the A429. Parking is available 20m from the site, with further spaces in a lay-by close to the visitor centre. Public transport to the site is limited, with the nearest train station 11.6 miles miles away at Cheltenham Spa, from which a pre-booked taxi may be taken. The Stagecoach West 78 service also runs from Winson to the Roman Villa stop, a 4-minute walk to the site.

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