One of the most influential forces on the British Isles was the ideas brought by the Roman Empire. Following a brief invasion by Julius Caesar (to gain support and make him look good in the Senate) it was Emperor Claudius who ordered the invasion of Britain. This was partly because he needed to give his army something to do and he wasn’t a very popular choice.
The Romans found an Iron Age people at war with each other and generally living in wooden halls and roundhouses. A Roman tactic was to befriend one tribe and offer to help it subdue a bigger one. Once the larger tribe was defeated the Romans either turned on their Allies or decided to wipe out the tribe they had made peace with. In Britain, this was the Dobunni tribe. Their capital was at Bagendon but once they had seen and enjoyed Roman ways of living it soon became clear that this was a better choice. They removed to their new capital of Corinium down in the Churn Valley
As the years went by Roman Legionnaires settled near the Severn and formed the city of Glevum. This began to grow rich in the fertile farmland and the trade coming up the Severn Sea. The nearby mines of tin and iron in the Forest were also adding to the wealth.
It is these two events that give Gloucestershire the many Roman Villas and towns that we know today. Chedworth Roman Villa and Great Witcombe Villa are both prime examples of the wealth and influence that was taken from Rome’s lead. The towns of Cirencester and Gloucestershire are also prime examples. Two major Roman roads also run through the county namely the northbound Fosseway and the easterly Ermin Street, which heads all the way to Londinium.
There are smaller Villas dotted around the county’s countryside and many have been discovered with the use of modern archaeology. It shows a rich Romano-British landscape full of farming and communication the likes of which wouldn’t be seen again until the Reinassance and late middle ages. The landscape itself has been shaped by farming and its always been a rural place, but once upon a time, it also held two of the largest and most influential towns in this outpost of the Empire.