Worldcon Report 13: Chedworth Roman Villa

by Brenda W. Clough

image The one thing I really did want to accomplish on this trip was to visit a Roman villa. There are two major sites in the UK, one near Bath and the other in Gloucestershire. Since I have to drive north to the Lake District, it seemed only sensible to make a stop at Chedworth, between Cirincester and Cheltenham in the middle of England. It was an easy two hour drive from London — nothing, to an American.

image And oh, it is so cool! The most eye-popping mosaics outside of Pompeii are here, carefully and expensively sheltered in climate-controlled conditions. They have an entire Roman villa here, two courtyards, two separate bath complexes, and a holy spring dedicated to the Nymphs. Note, to the lower left, the wooden board — not originally Roman. The local frogs adore this pond, and animal-loving site managers inserted a ramp into the pond so that the frogs could more easily get in and out. The spring has never frozen and never failed, presumably due to all the sacrifices the Romans made to the Nymph of the spring in the day. Possibly she also approves of kindness to frogs.

And there are three styles of hypocausts, a Roman latrine, an active archaeological excavation — everything your heart could desire. I have written a time travel trilogy, and among other things the characters insisted on going to a Roman villa. This is going to be so great!

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About Brenda Clough

Brenda W. Clough spent much of her childhood overseas, courtesy of the U.S. government. Her first fantasy novel, The Crystal Crown, was published by DAW in 1984. She has also written The Dragon of Mishbil (1985), The Realm Beneath (1986), and The Name of the Sun (1988). Her children’s novel, An Impossumble Summer (1992), is set in her own house in Virginia, where she lives in a cottage at the edge of a forest. Her novel How Like a God, available from BVC, was published by Tor Books in 1997, and a sequel, Doors of Death and Life, was published in May 2000. Her latest novels from Book View Cafe include Revise the World (2009) and Speak to Our Desires. Her novel A Most Dangerous Woman is being serialized by Serial Box. Her novel The River Twice is newly available from BVC.

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Worldcon Report 13: Chedworth Roman Villa — 3 Comments

  1. The only drawback to this site is accessibility. Not only is it not accessible by train or bus — you would take your life in your hands to even bike or walk, due to the narrowness of the farm lanes (studded with sheep poop) that lead to the site. Apparently the Romans had a nice Roman road which got you there in a straight fast line; the country lanes of rural Gloucestershire are totally a different tale. You will need a rental car, for sure. However, once you get into the general area, handy brown signs set up by the tourism people lead you there — eventually.