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
(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