If you're a bit tired and thirsty after a day tramping round the ruins of the Roman town, and feel in need of some refreshment, you oculd do a lot worse than pop into the Calleva Arms, a wonderful country pub facing the village green right in the middle of the village. I stopped for a pint in the evening (be aware that the pub closes in the...more
Actually within the old Roman Town walls of Calleva Atrebatum (modern day Silchester) lies the wonderful old Church of St. Mary the Virgin. The first thing that surprised (and delighted) me wa that, although no-one was about, the Church was actually open. I know this might sound like an odd thing to say but, due to vandalism and theft, so many...more
I am not sure how truthful the title of this tip is, but I did read that the Roman town walls at Silchester are the best preserved example in England. They are certainly impressive, although the town that they enclosed is long gone (see photo 4). To walk round the 2.8 kilometre distance of the walls and look at cows grazing peacefully within, it is...more
The church of St Mary the Virgin is built within the Roman walls of Calleva Atrebatum, and its walls are constructed partly from Roman brick and tile. The present building dates from the mid thirteenth century, but it is probable that there was another, earlier church on the site (which was originally an enclosed pagan site).It's a lovely little...more
...............was built around 50 AD, not long after the Roman town was built. The ground level was lowered, and the earth removed was used to form the seating bank. It is remarkably large, there is an excellent view from the banks, and sound carries very clearly; one can imagine how it once was, with displays and plays and entertainments, the...more
.............the Roman town, named for 'the town in the woods of the Atrebates' the local Iron Age tribe). Although the town within is covered in pasture (many of its treasures in Reading museum, although much remains to be excavated) the walls still stand, and create an intriguing and pleasant walk.more
Both the north gate and the south gate of the Roman town were once impressive structures, with archways and (eventually, it is thought) battlements. Imagine how an Iron Age peasant might feel walking through such a gateway for the first time; the awe he or she must have felt at these massive stone structures, the wonder at the thriving township...more
Unlike other Roman towns, Calleva was not built on after the Romans left, so the site is intact. That said, it has been put to the plough over many centuries. You can walk round the town walls, however, and inspect the amphitheatre, both of which demonstrate what a big and important place it was in Roman times. The Archaeology Department at the...more
Locals' village pub on village green - the kind of scene that is traditionally English more in the breach than the observance. It hasn't yet fallen victim to the marketing people and long may that remain the case.
Excellent Gales Ales from Portsmouth.
Attractive menu of hot and cold food on offer.
Traditional games - backgammon when I was there - played. Also cricket on the green in season.
Favorite Dish: Gales HSB (Horndean Special Bitter)
Pub games - by which I mean those that don't demand an endless diet of coins in the slot and especially not the ubiquitous pool table - are a sure sign of a good and lively pub, and the Calleva Arms is a good example. This guy seemed surprised but pleased that I wanted to picture him playing backgammon.
Public transport to Silchester is, to say the least, a bit sketchy, and it pays to plan ahead or else you could face a long wait, or even no bus at all. I had travelled to Reading by train and caught the 143 bus. Even on a weekday this service only runs seven buses a day which call at the village. Alternatively the 44A runs from Basingstoke. Be aware that the last bus runs before 1800.
Travel time from Reading was about 45 minutes and the fare (from memory) about three pounds.
Inside the church of St Mary the Virgin (which is open during the day) there are some lovely wall-paintings. Amazingly, these date from around 1230; in Medieval times all churches were beautifully decorated inside. It is unusual to see so much remaining, as such paiintings have usually been destroyed or defaced beyond repair over the centuries.more
The walls of the Roman town are obvious, but if you look closely at the church (especially on the south side) you can see lots of Roman brick and tile which was used to build it. There's a Roman pillar and its base in the churchyard too; you'll pass it if you walk round the church.The church is (strangely ) on Church Lane. You'll find it if you...more
There's a lot still to be discovered about Calleva Atrebatum, and it's one of the UK's most important archaeological sites. More information can be found at the website of Reading University Department of Archaeology
I'm sure that suitably-qualified volunteer diggers would always be welcome.