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CHEDWORTH Gloucestershire, England.

Roman villa, beside the White Way 12.8 km N of Cirencester, discovered in 1864 and excavated 1864-66. The villa faces E down an attractive valley and its buildings ultimately enclosed two courtyards, with an overall size of at least 75 by 90 m, but only the inner court and the N wing of the outer court have been exposed. Most of our knowledge of its development derives from excavations in 1957-65, undertaken in connection with consolidation.

The courtyard form had been imposed on groups of buildings which were originally detached, and the earliest structure known, which was destroyed by fire in the middle of the 2d c., was in what became the S wing of the inner courtyard; in its later, rebuilt, state this wing appears to have housed the bailiff's office and to have had a kitchen at its W end. The W wing had also undergone substantial alteration, both at the turn of the 2d-3d c. and at a later date. In its final form (4th c.) it contained a heated dining room and a suite of baths, all with good mosaic floors (the work of the Corinian school of mosaicists). These baths, however, were a late development, for the original baths occupied what became the W end of the N wing, where they were ultimately replaced by a laconicum, for dry-heat bathing, as a supplement or alternative to the damp-heat baths in the W wing (the plunge baths associated with the laconicum were for a time wrongly interpreted as fulling vats). The remainder of the N wing, extending along the side of both courtyards, contained a further series of at least eight rooms, some of them with hypocausts and including a dining suite at the E end.

Water was supplied from a nymphaeum, later Christainized, just outside the NW corner of the inner court. A small Romano-Celtic temple on a high podium, dating from the 2d to the 4th c., stood 270 in SE of the villa, overlooking the Coln river. Chedworth is one of the best preserved of British villas and may be taken as typical of the rich group that flourished in the Cotswolds in the 4th c. The site was acquired for the National Trust in 1924 and the remains are open to inspection, together with a site museum.


G. B. Fox, ArchJ 44 (1887) 322-36; I. A. Richmond, Trans. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. 78 (1960) 5-23; temple: W. St. C. Baddeley, ibid. 52 (1930) 255-64; mosaics: D. J. Smith in A.L.F. Rivet, ed., The Roman Villa in Britain (1969) 97-102; guide: R. Goodburn, The Roman Villa Chedworth (1973).


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