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Gloucestershire, England

Chedworth Roman Villa

Deep in the countryside lie the remains of one of the grandest Roman dwellings in Britain. 

This fantastic Roman villa is one of the largest in Britain, tucked away down long winding roads in the picturesque countryside just north of Chedworth. The highlights of this ancient site are the many fine mosaics that rival any in the U.K. (and many in Europe), as well as the remarkable underfloor heating systems.

The stone villa was first built in the early 2nd century and expanded in the 4th century. The luxurious features and precious marble mosaics lead archaeologists to believe the dwelling belonged to a very wealthy and high-status Romano-Briton family.

The 4th-century home included an underfloor heated west wing, where the dining room with a magnificent mosaic floor was located. The villa had not one but two separate heated bath houses, one for damp heat like a Turkish bath and one for dry heat like a sauna. The remains of both can be seen at the site, as well as a courtyard and spring-fed nymphaeum pool.

The villa was discovered in 1864, and is currently preserved by the National Trust. After 100 years and much intense study, the ancient ruins continue to mystify archaeologists, who debate as to whether the site was a private wealthy farm or some kind of religious pilgrims’ guest house.