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History Museums

Roman Villa - Brading

REF NR: 270

1. The Isle of Wight is home to one of the finest Romano-British archaeological sites in Britain – the Brading Roman Villa. The Roman Villa houses a comprehensive collection of Roman archaeology, for example pottery, coins and tools, and perfectly conserved mosaic floors. This gives a unique opportunity for visitors to see incredible artefacts from Roman life.

2. Captain Thorp of Yarbridge started the search for Roman artefacts in the fields surrounding Morton Farm back in 1879. He was later assisted by a local farmer named Mr Munns. Farmer Munns was using an iron bar to make holes in the ground for holding the uprights of a sheep pen when he struck what was revealed to be the Bacchus Mosaic floor. Having informed Captain Thorp they set to work and by next morning had unearthed the Gallus panel. The Gallus panel is a unique feature of these particular mosaics and features a ‘cock-headed man’ (see image below). This is thought to be a lampoon of Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire Caesar Gallus (251-253CE) whose name translates from Latin as ‘cock’.

Come spring of the following year more than half of the Roman Villa had been excavated within Mr Munn’s land. The rest of the villa reached out beyond Munn’s farm and into the Oglander Estate, Intrigued, Lady Louisa Oglander purchased the entire site so that the archaeology could continue.

The Oglander estate opened the site to the public for many years; however, it was eventually handed over to a charitable trust who heavily invested in turning it into a tourist attraction with an award winning Exhibition and Visitor Centre.


Mosaics, many lovely mosaics can be viewed at the centre, well worth a visit to see these wonderful designs.