Here hidden away in deepest southeast Wales are some of the best Roman remains in Britain. I suspect that until recently, when it featured on Team Time, Caerwent was known only the most diehard of Roman history fans.
The Roman town of Venta Silurum was founded in 75AD. The stone walls were added in the 4th century and was occupied until at least the mid 5th century. I know of this place because my dad took me there as a kid. It made an impression because I was more used to being dragged round green fields being told that the tiny lumps in the ground were the remains an auxiliary cavalry camp (which they were – Greensforge near Kingswinford). My imagination as a kid was pretty good but all I wanted to do at that age was run round castles killing pretend dragons. Here the walls reach over 20’ in places, with recognisable gateways, outlines of shops and temples.
And what appears, to me at least, a Norman style motte lies in the southeast corner which gives the town a strong resemblance to Portchester castle. It’s strange to think that we today are almost the same distance away, in time, to the Normans that built the castle than the Normans were to the Romano British who built the town. If you are in the area it is definitely worth visiting and enjoy a walk around the wall, it can be very evocative.
The batteries on my phone ran out so unfortunately I wasn't able to take any images of the motte or gateway.
Date of visit: 28th June 2009