CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Roman villa of ‘enormous importance’ discovered under Wiltshire home

PUBLISHED: 12:01 18 April 2016 | UPDATED: 12:01 18 April 2016

Colour sketch of the site

Colour sketch of the site


Wiltshire resident Luke Irwin, has discovered the remains of a Roman mosaic, one of the largest Roman Villas ever discovered in the UK

Luke found the Roman villa whilst laying electricity cables at his home. It is the most significant discovery of its time in over a decade and excavation of the site part funded by Historic England has found that the mosaic forms part of what may be one of the largest Roman villas ever built in the UK. Recognising that mosaics don’t often turn up alone in remote fields, Irwin quickly called in the Wiltshire Archaeology Service and Historic England (formerly English Heritage).

Upon excavation of the site, archaeologists from Historic England and Salisbury Museum confirmed that the mosaic formed part of a grand villa which was built sometime between 175 AD and 220 AD, and was repeatedly re-modelled right up until the mid - 4th century.

Mosaic discovered on the Whiltshire siteMosaic discovered on the Whiltshire site

The three-storey structures found are similar to those found at Chedworth, meaning there is reason to believe that the villa belonged to a family of extraordinary wealth and importance. Other artifacts discovered include discarded oyster shells, a perfectly preserved Roman well and, movingly, the stone coffin of a Roman child which held geraniums until it was identified.

A Roman villa inspired rug from the Luke Irwin collectionA Roman villa inspired rug from the Luke Irwin collection

Historic England Archaeologist Dr David Roberts says ‘This site has not been touched since its collapse 1400 years ago and, as such, is of enormous importance. Without question, this is a hugely valuable site in terms of research, with incredible potential. The discovery of such an elaborate and extraordinarily well-preserved villa, undamaged by agriculture for over 1500 years, is unparalleled in recent years. Overall, the excellent preservation, large scale and complexity of this site present a unique opportunity to understand Roman and post-Roman Britain.’

The chance of discovering the floor of a Roman villa of this significance is one in a million and the chances of rug designer discovering are likely one in several billion. This once in a life time discovery fired rug designer Luke Irwin’s imagination, and together with long-time collaborator and Co-Creative Director Vikram Kapoor, he has created a collection of rugs inspired by what it all began with, the mosaic.

Mosaic fragments found on the Wiltshire siteMosaic fragments found on the Wiltshire site

Rug designer Luke Irwin says: ‘I was overwhelmed by the realisation that someone has lived on this site for 2,000 years. You look out at an empty field from your front door, and yet 1,500 years ago there was the biggest house, possibly, in all of Britain. The link to the collection is my perpetual desire to be immersed in history. It’s the sense of wonder. It’s how time just drifts on. When you hold a tessara [mosaic tile] in the palm of your hand this history feels tangible it’s like an electric shock.’

A Roman villa inspired rug from the Luke Irwin collectionA Roman villa inspired rug from the Luke Irwin collection

The 18 piece Mosaic Collection launches in May 2016 and is available from the Luke Irwin showroom, 20-22 Pimlico Road, London SW1W 8LJ.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & about

Celebrate the other side of Yuletide in the South Gloucestershire village of Marshfield, where on Boxing Day a curious procession from another age can be seen making its way along the High Street...

Read more

Get out and enjoy seasonal celebrations with a Cotswold twist

Read more
Friday, December 14, 2018

The Cotswolds are abundant with picture perfect locations ideal for a ramble. Gather loved ones, wrap up warm and blow away the cobwebs with one of these winter walks in the region

Read more
Monday, December 10, 2018

Tracy Spiers takes an impressive, if hypothetical, budget on a shopping spree in Cheltenham’s independent stores

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hundreds of participating National Lottery-funded visitor attractions across the UK are saying ‘thanks’ to people who have raised money for good causes by buying a lottery ticket, including a number of venues in the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

“We’re looking forward to lots of festive fun this Christmas festival and hope to welcome lots of people to our town.”

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

“Faringdon upholds old-fashioned values through its traditional shops, personal service and shop owners who go the extra mile to make their customers feel at home.”

Read more
Friday, November 23, 2018

Home to some of the country’s most breathtaking architecture and picturesque gardens, the Cotswolds boasts plenty of beautiful stately homes you need to visit. We pick eight special locations that are made even more magical during Christmas time

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Taking the classroom outdoors is fun, inspires fresh ideas, broadens horizons – and encourages a new generation to enjoy and care for the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, November 19, 2018

Chipping Campden – once the meeting place for a council of Saxon kings – now offers the warmest of welcomes to all its visitors, from the humble shopper to the seasonal shin-kicker

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

As well as three days of action-packed racing and tradition, there’s plenty to do away from the course at this year’s November Meeting. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, shares his 14 suggestions on how to make the most of your time at Cheltenham Racecourse

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Warwickshire town of Alcester is considered one of the best understood Roman settlements in the country. Tracy Spiers digs below the surface to discover its hidden jewels

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search