Chedworth Roman Villa
Simon Esmonde Cleary
Nestling in a wooded combe in the heart of the Cotswolds and surrounded by beautiful woodland walks, Chedworth Roman Villa is one of the most important sites where visitors can come into direct contact with Roman Britain. Its uncovering in 1864 yielded one of the most complete plans of a Romano-Britain villa, and the museum constructed immediately after is one of the earliest (if not the earliest) purpose-built, on-site museums in the country. The Villa and its finds demonstrate the prosperity of the Golden Age of Roman Britain in the fourth century AD. During this time Britain’s ruling class had come to absorb much Roman culture, such as the gods and goddesses and myths of the Mediterranean. But this is not the full story. Parts of the villa complex have as yet not been excavated: the agricultural buildings, the houses of the labourers who cultivated the fields and tended the herds. It was these resources and workers that paid for the lords and ladies to live in such high style. This guide tells the story of how the fortunate wealthy few at the very top of Romano-British society lived and worked. It includes details about when the Villa was first built, who the people who lived at the Villa and on its lands were, what the landscape of this part of the Roman Cotswolds looked like, and how this great Villa came to be abandoned and fall into ruin. Including painstaking reconstructions and drawings of the villa and its facilities through the ages, this guide benefits from modern conservation and archaeology to reveal the secrets of a unique treasure of Roman Britain.