Roman villa, 2.4 km S-SW of Stroud, beneath and
around the ruined Norman church. It was excavated in
1793-96 and partially in 1954. Its origins and development are not known, but in its final 4th c. form the
buildings were grouped around a series of two, or probably three, rectangular courtyards. The main residential
buildings surrounded the innermost (NW) court (30 x
27 m). From this a passage in the SE side led to the
second court (48 x 45 m), which was flanked by farm
buildings. Of the presumed third court only the NW and SW sides were located.
The butt-ends of walls on the 18th c. plan indicate
that further buildings existed outside those flanking the
inner court, and the main bath suite was not found.
Even so, however, the villa was large (150 by 97.5 m)
and had at least 65 rooms. It was also very rich, with
marble statuary and no less than 20 mosaics, including
the celebrated Orpheus pavement. Adorning the triclinium, 14.7 m square and placed centrally in the NW side
of the inner court, it is the finest known product of the
4th c. Corinian school of mosaicists, to whom the other
pavements are also attributable. The remains of the villa
are buried, but the Orpheus mosaic is periodically opened
to public inspection in aid of local charities.
Further excavations were begun in 1973.
S. Lysons: An Account of Roman Antiquities discovered at Woodchester in the county of Gloucester
(1797); id., Reliquiae Britannico-Romanae
II (1813); H. O'Neil, Trans. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc
. 74 (1956) 172-75; R. G. Collingwood & I. A. Richmond,
The Archaeology of Roman Britain2
(1969) 143; mosaics: D. J. Smith in A.L.F. Rivet, ed., The Roman Villa in
(1969) 97-101; D. J. Smith, The Great Pavement
and Roman Villa at Woodchester