Caerwent, a village and a parish in Monmouthshire. The village stands on the Julian Way, 2½ miles NW of Portskewett station on the G.W.R., and 5 WSW of Chepstow, under which it has a post office; money order office, Caldi-cot; telegraph office, Portskewett. Caerwent was the chief city of the great Caractacus. The Romans under Ostorins, Agrieola's lieutenant, crossed the Severn in boats and landed at Portskewett, then seized Caerwent and fortified it, and held it for 400 years, naming it Venta Silurum. Caractacus was sent to Rome as a prisoner, where he uttered those touching words:-" Alas, that a people possessed of so much magnificence at home should envy me a humble cottage in Britain" on which the Emperor Claudius released him. St. Paul was at this time a prisoner in Rome. The family of Caractacus were converted under him to Christianity, and on returning home introduced the Gospel to Britain; and it is probable that these early Christians met for worship on the place where the church of Caerwent now stands. There were Christians also in the Roman army stationed at Caerwent, so that Caerwent church must have been one of the earliest ecclesiastical foundations on the Welsh side of the Severn. Many tessellated pavements, &c., have been found; an extensive one not far from the church was discovered in 1893. The ground is full of them, and they extend miles beyond the fortified walls. The latter extend 505 yards by 390; in parts they are from 9 to 12 feet thick, and 30 feet high. The Via Julia passed right through Caerwent to Caerleon, the second Roman station, Caerwent being the first and their base of operations. Caerwent is situated on a slightly elevated ground in the midst of a plain which looks like the bed of a prehistoric estuary, and is surrounded on all sides (except that to the Bristol Channel) with high hills. It is one of the most picturesque and fertile districts in the kingdom. The parish includes the hamlet of Crick. Acreage, 2002; population of the civil parish, 348; of the ecclesiastical, 514. The living is a vicarage, united with the perpetual curacy of Llanvair-Discoed, in the diocese of Llandaff; net value, £165 with residence. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Llandaff. The church has a rich porch, and striking Early English arcades; was probably, built of materials of the Roman city, and is in good condition. There is a Baptist chapel.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Caer-Went St. Stephen|
|Poor Law union||Chepstow|
|Registration district||Chepstow||1837 - 1968|
|Registration district||Caerleon||1968 - 1974|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Caerwent from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858. (Caer-Went (St. Stephen))
Online maps of Caerwent are available from a number of sites:
- Bing (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- Google Streetview.
- National Library of Scotland. (Old maps)
- old-maps.co.uk (Old Ordnance Survey maps to buy).
- Streetmap.co.uk (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- A Vision of Britain through Time. (Old maps)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers online: