The National Trust is celebrating 100 years of caring for the Roman ruins at Chedworth with activities including free tours, the creation of a centenary mosaic and fun family trails starting this February half term.
One of the grandest villas in Roman Britain, Chedworth dates back around 2,000 years and was rediscovered by the Victorians more than 150 years ago.
In 1924, the site was handed over by the Lords of Eldon to the National Trust, with funds raised thanks to a national campaign and public subscription which raised most of the £9,500 needed. The final few pounds were raised on the completion day itself, after a ‘whip round’ and a donation by members of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society.
Events planned throughout the year will tell the story of how the villa came to be under the stewardship of the National Trust, highlight its historical significance and shed some light on why the Romans may have picked Chedworth to build their grand villa.
A modern conservation building and small museum gives visitors access to the ruins and artefacts recovered from them. Families can make their way around ancient walls, fine mosaics, a water shrine and hypocaust underfloor heating systems to find clues about the villa's origins.
Clare Steele, Chedworth property operations manager, said: ‘We have big plans to share this historic milestone with visitors from across the world.
'Staff and volunteers are ready to put on a show which includes offering free tours on Mondays between April and September, working with families to create a centenary mosaic and launching Chedworth's own Roman Honey Cake recipe.
'We will also be honouring a famous resident with the Roman Snail Trail in May, putting the spotlight on archaeology and discovery in July, and hosting a Nine Men's Morris Championship in August. This centenary year there will be many reasons to return to Chedworth Roman Villa.’
The first big event — a new trail around the site — runs throughout half term week, from Saturday 10 to Sunday 18 February 2024.