CAERWENT is a village and community in
Monmouthshire , Wales. It is
located about five miles west of
Chepstow and eleven miles east of
Newport . It was founded by the Romans as the market town of Venta
Silurum , an important settlement of the Brythonic
Silures tribe. The
modern village is built around the Roman ruins, which are some of the
best-preserved in Europe. It remained prominent through the Roman era
Early Middle Ages
Early Middle Ages as the site of a road crossing between several
important civic centres.
* 1 History
* 1.1 Roman times
* 1.2 Early Christian times
* 2 Modern era
* 3 Governance
* 4 References
* 5 External links
It was founded by the Romans in AD 75 as
Venta Silurum , a market
town for the defeated
Silures tribe. This is confirmed by inscriptions
on the "Civitas Silurum" stone, now on display in the parish church .
Large sections of the Roman town walls are still in place, rising up
to 5 metres high in places. Historian John Newman has described the
walls as "easily the most impressive town defence to survive from
Roman Britain , and in its freedom from later rebuilding one of the
most perfectly preserved in Northern Europe." In 1881, a portion of a
highly intricate coloured floor mosaic or tessellated pavement ,
depicting different types of fish, was unearthed during excavations in
the garden of a cottage.
Excavations in 1971 dated the north-west polygonal angle-tower to the
mid-300s. Further excavations were carried out in 2008 by Wessex
Archaeology and was featured in the
Channel 4 TV programme
Time Team .
Modern houses are built on top of part of the old Roman market place.
The ruins of several Roman buildings are still visible, including the
foundations of a 4th-century
Roman temple . The fact that most of the
houses lacked mosaic or hypocaust -heated floors, however, suggests
that despite its size,
Caerwent never achieved the cultural level of
other Romano-British tribal capitals.
EARLY CHRISTIAN TIMES
Caerwent was a centre for the
Kingdom of Gwent after the Roman
occupation. The name
Caerwent translates from Welsh as "fort of
Gwent", and the name Gwent derives from the Roman name Venta
(Silurum). The English town name of
Winchester has a parallel
derivation, ultimately from the combination of the
Latin words Venta,
in that case,
Venta Belgarum , and castra.
Caerwent remained an important centre, where the road between
Caerleon met the north-south road from
Shrewsbury , via
Trellech , to the sea at
Portskewett . Excavations at
Caerwent have revealed remains and everyday objects from the
post-Roman period. Metalwork, including elaborate penannular brooches
and fastening pins, have been dated to the 5th-7th centuries. A large
number of Christian burials, some stone-lined, dating from between the
4th and 9th centuries have also been discovered, both around the
town's East Gate and close to the parish church. It has been
suggested that it may have been the birthplace of
St. Patrick .
Near infra-red kite aerial photo of the south wall of
A monastery was established at
Caerwent some time before the 10th
century, and a pre-Norman cross head was discovered at the site in
1992. The Church of St Stephen and St
Tathan is dedicated to Saints
Tathan , the latter name possibly having arisen through
confusion with Saint
Tathyw . The oldest existing part of the church
dates to the 13th century.
The village appears as "Venta Siluru" and "Caer went" on the Cambriae
Typus map of 1573.
World War II
World War II a Royal Navy Propellant Factory was established
at Caerwent, immediately north of the
A48 road . Between 1967 and 1993
this was used as a storage station for the
Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force and the
United States Air Force
United States Air Force ; since that time it has been used as an army
training facility and on occasion as a filming location for large
scale productions such as Captain America: The First Avenger .
Caerwent is now a small village, largely bypassed by the busy A48
road running between the city of Newport to the west and
the east. The Northgate Inn closed in 2013, leaving the Coach and
Horses as the only village pub. The Post Office thrives and was
recently refitted. The village has a garage which has been repairing
cars since 1917. Northgate Inn pub sign
An electoral ward in the same name exists. The area and population of
this ward are identical to that of the parish.
* ^ "Parish population 2011". Retrieved 3 April 2015.
* ^ Photograph of church
* ^ A B C John Newman, The Buildings of Wales: Gwent/Monmouthshire,
2000, ISBN 0-14-071053-1
* ^ Morgan, Octavius (1882), "Goldcliff and the Ancient Roman
Inscribed Stone Found There 1878",