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Brading Roman Villa, Brading

Categories: Art Museums, Museums
Inspirock Rating:
4.4/5 based on 400+ reviews on the web
Brading Roman Villa was a Roman courtyard villa which has been excavated and put on public display in Brading on the Isle of Wight.Discovery and excavationIn 1879, a farmer called Mr Munns struck a buried mosaic floor while making holes on his land for a sheep pen. Captain Thorp of Yarbridge, who was in the area looking for Roman antiquities, helped Mr Munns uncover the Gallus panel the next day. By spring 1880, all of the site on Mr Munns' land had been excavated, which was half the villa; the remainder lay in the Oglander estate. Excavations were able to continue when Lady Louisa Oglander purchased the other half of the site.Although the site was open to the public by the Oglander estate for many years, it was handed over to a charitable trust in 1994 and upgraded with a visitor centre, exhibition, shop and cafe. In 2004 the cover building was replaced and the visitor facilities were upgraded. Behind the site is a small amphitheatre made from grassy banks. This was recently made from spoil from the building work.Oxford University began a five-year excavation in August 2008, with hopes that it would reveal some new mosaics.HistoryThe Roman 2nd Augusta Legion under Vespasian conquered the Isle of Wight in 44CE. The first simple villa dates from the mid-1st century but, over the next hundred years, it developed into a large and impressive stone-built villa around three sides of a central courtyard. Its luxurious rooms contained many fine Roman mosaics.Despite a disastrous fire in the 3rd century AD, the villa was still used for farming purposes for another 100 years. Around AD340, Brading Villa, like many estates in southern Britain, was suffering frequent pirate raids. However, Roman coins excavated at the site indicate that Brading was still occupied until AD395, when Emperor Honorius began his reign. The Villa was used for storing grain for an unknown period of time before finally collapsing in the 5th century. Undergrowth covered the site, and when the land was cleared to be used for agriculture, the location of Brading Roman Villa had been forgotten.
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  • Brilliant visit to the villa, very informative and great to interact with parts of the villa! The guide there was really knowledgable and kept things very interesting. Great to see a piece of Roman hi...  read more »
  • We both love history and this gem didn't disappoint. Easy to find. Virtually all inside. Volunteer guides happy to give tour and commentary if required. Very well laid out and signed. A fascinating lo...  read more »
  • Thoroughly enjoyed our trip here! We were greeted by Spencer who obviously loves his job and such enthusiasm is infectious. He even managed to enthrall a group of teenagers who arrived during our visi...  read more »
  • Brilliant half a day out, could perhaps do with a little more in depth information as you walk around but there are museum workers on hand to fill in the gaps. The villa is covered by a purpose built building which not only covers the remains but also houses a restaurant, gift shop and education centre. Great disabled access too.
  • Always interesting and usually good exhibitions, great café and views.
  • Very informative. We all enjoyed our day out, with the bonus of the V&A exhibition featuring Japanese Enamels: The Seven Treasures and Cloisonné. Great café too.
  • A great little place if your children are learning about the Romans! Some excellent mosaics and a good cafe as well. What more could you ask for?
  • My 7 years old son loves it.
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