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.
1.1 Roman times
1.2 Early Christian times
2 Modern era
5 External links
Main article: Venta Silurum
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
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
Monmouth and 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 Caerwent
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
Stephen and 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; 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
Chepstow to 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
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",
^ E-castles: Caerwent
^ Wessex Archaeology,
Caerwent Roman Town: Archaeological Evaluation
and Assessment of Results, February 2009
^ Photograph of temple foundations
Caerwent at Roman-Sites.com Archived 2011-07-15 at the Wayback
^ Hywel Wyn Owen, The Place-Names of Wales, 1998,
^ Raymond Howell, A History of Gwent, 1988, ISBN 0-86383-338-1,
^ Rodney Imrie, The Parish Church of St. Stephen and St. Tathan,
^ A reproduction of the map is at
^ Bently, David (2010-07-07). "
Captain America to film war scenes in
Wales". Coventry Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2010-12-19.
Retrieved 2010-10-21. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Caerwent.
Aerial video showing many parts of Roman Caerwent
Caerwent community website
BBC News: 'Stylish' Roman life found on dig (30 June 2008) Retrieved
25 January 2009.
Monmouthshire principal area
Towns and villages
Croes y pant
St Brides Netherwent
Pen y Clawdd Castle
Grade I listed buildings
Grade II* listed buildings
Communities of Monmouthshire
Llangattock Vibon Avel
Magor with Undy