Hi rockstars...We were on the move again today as we left Bath and headed to our new location and adventures. We're coming to you from Chipping Campden at the top of the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire tonight after a nice (tiring) day of sightseeing. It was a mixed bag today with, as always, some nature and history combined.
This first image is of a small group of fallow deer which roam free on a ancient deer park called Dyrham Park, a 270 acre park dating back to the 17th century. There's around 200 fallow deer in all and currently it's fawning season so we were lucky enough to see some very young ones amongst the groups roaming the parklands. These deer are controlled (meaning culled) and are used for venison. They were cute though.
Dyrham Park and its country house sits in a valley not too far from the village of Dyrham and was built in the 1700's for William Blathwayt on the site of a former (and much older) manor house. The grounds contain the deer park, formal and informal gardens (including water and statuary features) and the 13th century church of St Peter where a lot of the Blathwayt family are buried. Within the house is a treasure trove of artworks and furniture from all over the world.
After a walk around the gardens we checked the house out which is in a poor state structurally at the moment. The National Trust (who now own it) are woking on some repairs however it is a slow process as it needs to be done holistically and with great care to preserve the original property. They have just completed the roof renovation and are working on a few other areas including the 17th century staircase.
From there we headed over to Cirencester (pronounced Sy-ren-sester apparently) to take a look at the Roman museum. Cirencester used to be called Corinium Dobunnorum and was a Roman-British town of substance founded in the 1st century AD and abandoned around 430AD some four hundred years later. Cirencester is built on the same location and one can even go and see the Roman Amphitheatre built to hold some 8000 people by the Romans. It is unfortunately not even a ruins, just sloped mounds now though. We spent quite a long time in the museum and I plan to tell some stories in future posts.
We then took a lovely drive about 8 miles away to the site of a quite well-preserved Roman Villa, also now owned by the National Trust. This is a significant site and in the next week will be the subject of yet another archeological dig/investigation. The villa was built not too far from the Fosse Way, a major Britain-Roman roadway and only a few miles (in a straight line) away is the city of Corninium (now Cirencester) so was well placed. It was a substantially-sized complex, below you can see a 3D model of it and an artist's impression. The following picture is some archeological works set up as a demonstration. Naturally when the real work starts the public will be barred as it is highly sensitive work.
Model of the villa in 3D
Artist's impression of what the villa would have looked like. The building at the top left of the image is the building in the foreground of the 3D model
The image directly above shows a mosaic floor being uncovered and the image below shows what a Roman mosaic floor would have looked like in real life. The image below was taken in the Corinium museum not the Roman Villa and I use it only as an example. Mosaic floors were typical in temples and the buildings of the rich. The tiny pieces of stone and teracotta are only about 6mm (and smaller) in diameter and so the floor takes a lot of work, time and effort to create...That relates to cost and therefore it was the domain of only the very rich.
The Roman's were an ingenious bunch and installed such things as heated floors, saunas, cold rooms and the like into their buildings. The Roman baths in Bath (Roman Aquae Sulis) are a perfect example. They used ingenious methods and craftsmanship to make it all work. The villa we visited today also had similar rooms. I will do a post when I have more time on the method of how they made it work, probably based around the Roman Bath's in Bath.
After touring the Roman Villa we headed to straight to Chipping Campden, one of the Cotswolds many beautiful villages, and our accomodation at the Eight Bells Inn. This 14th century building (yep, almost 700 years old) is a lovely Inn and B&B and so far we are really enjoying it. We had a lovely meal and a few ciders in the bar and mixed with some locals and other tourists a little. It's been a long day though and so now, at almost 10pm I'm ready for bed. We have some more adventures planned for tomorrow so I'll need my rest huh?
Thanks for reading and following on our journey.
Faith & Galen x