The Roman Painted House
Kent CT17 9AJ
Dover in south-east England is a major entry port for visitors coming to Britain by road from Europe. Keen to start their travels visitors often fail to explore Dover and miss one of the finest Roman Houses on show in Britain.
Built about 200 AD the house formed part of a large mansio or official hotel, for travellers crossing the Channel. The mansio stood outside the great naval fort of the Classis Britannica, but in 270 AD it was demolished by the Roman Army during the construction of a larger fort. Three of its main rooms were then buried substantially intact under the fort’s ramparts.
Finely Painted Wall Plaster
Thanks to the burial by the Army, parts of five important rooms can now be seen, with thick flint and tile walls, strong concrete floors and elaborate under-floor heating (hypocaust). Of extra special interest are some 300 square feet (27.9 square metres) of finely painted wall plaster, the best preserved in situ Roman plaster at any site north of the Alps. The designs relate to the worship of Bacchus, the Roman God of wine and revelry, both appropriate for weary travellers staying in the mansio.
Above a lower dado, of red or green, visitors can still see an architectural scheme of many coloured panels framed by fluted columns. The columns sit on projecting bases above a stage, producing a clear 3-D effect. Parts of 26 panels survive.
Shattered remains of some of the paintings were retrieved and have been restored to their original glory. A visit to this site gives the visitor an idea of the exquisite art and culture that the early Romans brought to England before the Empire started to Decline and Fall.
Plan Your Visit
Accommodation - Search & Book through Expedia here: External Link
Closed October – March
Open - Visit the official website for opening days and times.
Again, visit the official website for up to date prices
Free parking in the forecourt
Contact & Further Information
+44 (0)1304 203 279
Painted House External Link
Google Maps - The Roman Painted House