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Friday, 25 January 2019

Caerwent





Last week we drove up the road to Caerwent, wondering why, in the forty or so years we’ve been in the Monmouth, Newport area, we’d never gone there before. Caerleon, on the outskirts of Newport, was one of the three major Roman legionnaire bases in Britain, the other two being Chester and York, and yes we’ve been there many times, so why not Caerwent just twelve miles away?

A section of the South wall showing the ruins of an octagonal tower.

Caerwent can boast to being the first town in Wales and was initially built to tempt the newly conquered Silures down from their hill forts. A few years of hypocausts, forums, basilicas, hot water and baths, and the formerly warlike Silures were completely won over. Caerwent became a trusted and  self governing town, a settlement for retired legionnaires, and allowed to defend itself with a spectacular wall, most of which is still intact two thousand years later.

This is just one of the many Roman remains within the village. It is what's left of the Forum, the foundations of the Basilica to the right. Venta Silurum housed luxurious mansions, temples, baths, shops and houses. The remains can be see wherever you go.  

The walls enclose the entire village and were probably built as a defence against Irish pirates in the latter half of the Third Century.  

Originally called Venta Silurum it was strategically placed, where the road between Gloucester and Caerleon met the North South road from Shrewsbury via Monmouth and Trellech. By the Sixth Century, and after the Romans had left, it became more commonly known as Caerwent or ‘Fort of Gwent’.

We walked the length of the West, South and East wall before cutting into the village. The photos tell you everything else. Over a mile of the 5 meter wall still exists, though when it was built it was 7 metres high.



Looking  back at where we've walked
Still a way to go


Close ups reveal what a work of art it is.



On top of the wall looking back. The field to the right is still to be excavated.
And to the side of that field, the Church of St Stephen and St Tathan. 

On the East Wall looking down on the road and development outside of the settlement

We're now approaching where the wall breaks to allow access to the main street

Access to Caerwent's main street from the East Wall. 


And most importantly, within the walls and amidst the beautifully excavated ruins, stands the The Coach And Horses,  which sells very good beer.  

Whilst I'm drinking, there' s more information here. 


5 comments:

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

Hey, Michael ... thanks for dropping by my place :)

Maria Zannini said...

I can see myself getting lost there, and happily. That's my idea of a holiday.

Mike Keyton said...

Mac, I quite often pay you a visit. Just don't comment

Mike Keyton said...

We'd love to show you and Greg around some day. There is so much to show you. If getting lost is your thing, we could arrange that too, I'm sure

; )

Adam M. Smith said...

Sounds like an absolutely lovely day trip, Mike. I really enjoyed the great photos and the historical background. I'm also rather jealous of all the landscape greenery. Ours is buried under a foot of snow that's unlikely to leave for a while. But we always wish for what we don't have...