Chedworth Roman Villa are set in a small valley in the Cotswolds, just
off the A429 Fosse Way near Northleach. The Fosse Way was a major Roman
route leading to the significant nearby town of Cirencester and
Chedworth is typical of the kind of rich villa that must have stood all
along the route. Chedworth has been in the ownersip of the National
Trust since 1924.
The site was discovered in 1864 by a local gamekeeper who had lost his ferret while working on land belonging to the Earl of Eldon. While digging to retrieve the animal he unearthed part of a mosaic and subsequent excavations revealed the extent of the villa.
|The degree of preservation that exists today is partly down to the fact that the Earl paid for roofing for the site as soon as it was uncovered, protecting it from the elements. The villa remains consist of typical Roman walls with some fine surviving examples of mosaics, an almost intact hypocaust, two bathhouses, a latrine and, in one corner of the site, a water shrine. There is also a small musuem on site.|
The villa originally had three separate ranges and is believed to have been established by about 150 CE. Later developments were much grander than the first buildings. In the fourth century there were extensive additions including a grand garden court, that had open verandahs enclosing it, and extra rooms in the bath houses to incoporate a dry heat area. The highlight of any vist to Chedworth today must be the mosaics that still exist in situ. At least 11 rooms are known to have had mosaic floors but only five significant floors remain.