Spoonley Villa

I expect you have seen the Spoonley Villa mosaic under its tarpaulin and corrugated iron cover. It can be found about a couple of miles from Sudeley Castle :

spoonley wood mapW.jpg
spoonley villa 2W.jpg
spoonley alastair 2W.jpg
spoonley alastair 3W.jpg
spoonley alastair 6W.jpg

The one we can see is a Victorian mosaic, but, underneath the fields, lies a large Roman villa with beautiful mosaics, built about 2000 years ago. It was discovered in 1882 and the excavations were complete by 1889.

spoonley alastair 5W.jpg

The villa covered roughly 52 metres by 60 metres.

spoonley plan 2W.jpg
spoonley villa photo 2W.jpg
spoonley villa photo 3W.jpg

This architectural drawing was made showing the construction of the verandah:

A number of photographs were taken of the excavations, before the site was covered up again to protect it: 

spoonley villa phot 1W.jpg
spoonley drawing 18W.jpg
spoonley drawing 4W.jpg
spoonley drawing 6W.jpg

The Reverend J.H. Cardew made these meticulously detailed drawings of some of the intricate mosaic floors. They were probably laid by the school of mosaicists working in Corinium:

spoonley drawing 5W.jpg
spoonley bacchusW.jpg

This marble statue, 42 centimetres high, depicting the Roman god Bacchus with his panther was found here; it is now in the British Museum. 

spoonley drawing 7W.jpg

This man with a rake was part of a badly damaged floor, so Emma Dent had it taken up and framed. Its whereabouts now are unknown.

A number of artefacts were found which suggest that the villa owners enjoyed a remarkably sophisticated standard of living, perhaps lasting until the Romans left Britain in 410 A.D. They may have been wealthy Romano-British landowners, or possibly municipal administrators from Corinium who chose to live in the manner of independent farmers.

wadfield planW.jpg
wadfield mosaicW.jpg
wadfield artefactsW.jpg

Nearly 20 years before Spoonley was discovered, another villa was excavated at Wadfield Farm. Emma Dent reported that “the tessellated pavement was as perfect as if just completed by the workmen; but its speedy removal was found to be absolutely necessary in order to preserve it from the Winchcombe public, who, in the space of one Sunday afternoon, carried off a large portion in small pieces, as souvenirs.” 

wadfield mosaic restoredW.jpg

The mosaic floor was placed safely in the greenhouse of Sudeley Castle, but, in 1896, Emma Dent had it returned to its original site:

This fragment of Roman mosaic was donated to the museum by Dora Wigg, but we do not know who was responsible for removing it in 1863.

mosaic RomanW.jpg

The museum also houses a selection of Roman coins found locally. The bronze one is from the reign of Constantius II, 61st Emperor, who ruled from 337 to 361 A.D.

roman coin 2W.jpg
roman coin 3W.jpg
Roman coinW.jpg