Orpheus Pavement from Woodchester

Contributed by Gloucestershire Museums

Orpheus Pavement from Woodchester

This is one of the most complex and intricate mosaic designs found in northern Europe and is 2,209 square feet. When complete, it contained one and a half million pieces of stone. It was made around AD 325 by craftsmen from Corinium (Cirencester) with the main design based around Orpheus and his relationship with nature. The Pavement was part of a magnificent Villa built at Woodchester during the reign of Hadrian (AD 117-138) at a time when the Cotswolds had become one of the richest provinces in Roman Britain. There are many theories about who lived in the Villa. Perhaps it was the country house of the Roman Governor of the province or the home of the Roman General, Vespasian. Lost for many centuries after the departure of the Romans, the Pavement was discovered in 1693. At present the original pavement is buried beneath the churchyard at Woodchester. The last time it was uncovered (1973) 140,000 visitors caused such traffic congestion that the villagers decided it should never be unearthed again. This prompted two local builders, Bob and John Woodward, to make a reconstruction of the Pavement. The reconstruction took about ten years to make and is currently at Prinknash Abbey.

Comments are closed for this object


  • 1. At 11:19 on 1 April 2010, micae wrote:

    Thirty years have passed and I think the villagers should allow the world to view the original pavement once again.

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  • 2. At 10:42 on 26 May 2010, petersbear wrote:

    Unfortunately the replica is about to be sold and there seems to be no interest in saving it locally because of the size.

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Woodchester, Gloucestershire


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