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Chedworth Roman Villa

Chedworth, Gloucestershire

Featured Location Guide

Chedworth is the remains of a large country house of the Roman period, one of the largest Roman Villas in the country, and was initially discovered in 1864 by accident when a game keeper of the local estate found fragments of paving and pottery. It is considered to be one of the largest villas in Britain. Originally it was owned by Lord Eldon and within the grounds he built a small picturesque building as a museum to hold the recovered objects. Today it is owned by the National Trust who continue to preserve and protect it and on a visit you can see:-

Two bathhouses one Hot and one Cold, and the hypocausts (underfloor central heating in the Hot Bath). The Romans appear to have liked their baths. The Hot Bath was sauna-like and designed to make the pores sweat. You can see the remains for the circular sweating chambers and hypocaust which kept the room hot. Then there is the cold plunge bath which was used to cleanse.

 

Inside the north bathhouse looking
 across to one of the plunge pools

 Hypocaust (Underfloor heating) of Living Room

Entrance for hot coals into Bath House

a water-shrine - which is spring-fed pool in one corner of the site. Water still runs down a narrow 4th century channel into the pool and many through coins into it hoping it will bring them luck.

museum - with some of the finds such as pots, nails, hinges and more, many that were found on site or in the surrounding area.

mosaic floors - within 5 rooms are protected by shelters and on display. The most interesting is probably the ones in the Dining room as there are more here in one place. The designs contain figures, geometric patterns, animals and mythical figures depicting the seasons. But there are also mosaics on the floors in the bathhouses as well.
latrine - today a hole in the ground, but originally would have been a building with a wooden bench with a row of holes cut in. These were earliest flushing toilets with fresh water being carried through a stone channel through the area. They didn't have toilet paper then but they did use sponges on sticks which were kept in salt water when not in use and once used washed in the water channel before it entered the toilet area.

 

Picture of Museum building with Roman re-enactors in front.

Click on images to see larger versions

This is a 1700 year old stately home, which is believed to have been first build around 120AD and over the course of nearly three centuries it evolved into the 4th century mansion that the ruins depict today.

It is set in a wooded combe, surrounded by trees, although the main site is open and is a sun trap, so make sure you are covered when visiting in the summer months. As well as the physical items you can see many of the areas around the buildings and structures have been left to grow wild so there is an abundance of wild flowers to photograph, and if visiting at the end of July beginning of August large numbers of butterflies.

Within the main building as you enter there is a 18 minute audio visual presentation which tells you about the site, who found it and what sorts of things they have found. It has been a tourist attraction since nearly when it was first found due to the fact that the original owners opened it up in this way to raise capital to continue their excavations and allow others to marvel at what was being found.

Throughout the year there are also a range of events put on by Living History groups demonstrating some of the processes of Roman crafts as well as re-enactments put on by Roman Soldier re-enactment societies to help give a better understanding of Roman life. Be aware if you visit on one of these event days it will be busier and the roads leading to Chedworth, once you leave the main A429 road, are mainly single track with passing places, and the drive leading to the villa is two cars wide, but they do allow parking along it so can be tricky getting out again.

Roman Snails - larger than the average. Believed to have been brought in by the Romans who liked to eat them, they were fed on a diet of milk to fatten them up and so they couldn't get back in their shells. The Romans would then cook and eat them as a delicacy. They can still be found in the area so keep a look out.

Roman Snail by  Fred Dawson 

This picture taken at Westcott nr Dorking Surrey

Roman Snail taken at Chedworth

There are audio tour wands available and a different ones for Adults and Children, that explain the story of the villa and tell you about the 12 main focal points of the villa.


Further information Grid

 

Location:

Chedworth Roman Villa, Chedworth nr Cheltenham

Ceremonial County: Gloucestershire

Grid Reference:

SP053135

Map Link:

Multimap

Aerial photo: Multimap Aerial    Google Aerial Map 

Route(s):

 

Best Times to Visit:

 

E-mail:

chedworth@nationaltrust.org.uk

Website:

www.chedworthromanvilla.com

Other useful websites:

Wiki,

National Trust

Nearby Locations:

Great Witcombe Roman Villa Gloucestershire

Cirencester Amphitheatre, Gloucestershire    

Corinium Museum, Cirencester, Gloucestershire

Other Relevant pages:

Roman Britain

Gloucestershire Attractions

 

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Planning Grid

Location:

Chedworth Roman Villa, Chedworth nr Cheltenham

Grid Reference:

SP053135

Getting there:

From the A429 3 miles NW of Fossebridge follow the road to Yanworth and beyond. There are brown tourist signs in places, some times just normal white road signs with the villa marked on them.

Access:

Ramped access to main entrance building. Terrain inside is a large number of steps, slopes, grass, undulating terrain.

Parking:

Free parking near the entrance and on busy days an overflow car park 250 yards further down the lane.

Facilities:

small shop selling Roman related books, maps, sweets, drinks etc. Picnics are allowed in the grounds

Things To Do, See and Photograph:

mosaic floors, remains of hypocast and bathhouses,

What to take:

 

Nature highlights:

wild flowers, butterflies at right time of year, Roman Snails! There are several walks in the nearby woods - ask at reception for details

Address:

Chedworth Roman Villa

Yanworth

nr Cheltenham

Gloucestershire

Postcode:

GL54 3LJ

Telephone:

01242 890256

Opening times:

Open Tuesday-Sunday and BH Monday's

13-27 Mar 10am-4pm; 28 Mar-31 Oct 10am-5pm;

2-14 Nov 10am-4pm

Charges:

Adult: 5.70; Child 3.35; Family 16.30

National Trust Members: Free

Photo Restrictions:

 

Other Restrictions:  
Special Needs Access: Wheelchair access is difficult in some areas as there are quite a few steps as well as slopes, grass, undulating terrain. Ramped access to entrance building. Poor wheelchair access to main features, steps to all mosaics and museum.
Special Needs Facilities: Disabled toilet in the main entrance building. Disabled parking near entrance plus drop off point.
Children Facilities: Baby changing facilities, pushchairs and back packs are allowed, children guides and family trails and during school holidays activities are provided for children.
Dogs Allowed: No dogs allowed except assistance dogs

Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Further information and Planning Grids or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Topic or Section references from the Grid below. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.

 

By: Tracey Park Section: Roman Britain Section Key:
Page Ref: chedworth Topic: Roman Britain Last Updated: 05/2010
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