Venta Silurum (Caerwent) Mansio

Mansio

The large building on the left of people entering through the south gate is thought to have been a mansio. A mansio (from the Latin word mansus, meaning “to remain” or “to stay”)  is a form of inn or stopping place where officials and couriers of the imperial posting service (curses publicus) would lodge and change horses while on official business.

The mansio would have been entered from the street which leads to the South Gate. The entrance to the mansio was via a double wooded gate 2.5m wide, which would open against the wing walls. A large yard stretched across the front of the building, where travellers would have dismounted from the horses. A porters lodge was a later addition.

You would need to enter the mansio via a couple of rooms before reaching the courtyard. The mansio was arranged around three sides of this courtyard. The forth side was enclosed by a wall built against the town ramparts.

Several of the rooms were equipped with hypocausts. A fine mosaic was discovered the large room, in the north west corner, it had an apse in the western end divided from the rest of the room by two pilasters (the pavement is now in the Newport Museum). The room to its east (T1) has a tessellated pavement with a geometrical pattern in black and white and a border of red sandstone and an elaborate design in the middle. The room to the east of that (T2) is similar but without the central design.

A large latrine, with a latrine on three sides, above which would have been wooden seating, lay in the corner of the courtyard, and indicated the building was to accommodate multiple people.

 

Plan of Venta Silurum (Caerwent) Mansio

Venta Silurum (Caerwent) Mansio