Page last updated at 16:07 GMT, Tuesday, 10 November 2009
Caerleon - millionaires' town
Caerleon
Caerleon sits on the River Usk just outside Newport.

The historic town of Caerleon has a long association with Camelot - many years before the lottery operator's more recent claim to fame there.

According to legend, it was home to King Arthur's court of the same name.

The town of 8,700 inhabitants has been better known as being a stronghold of the Roman army, than home to winners of an historic lottery jackpot.

But Caerleon, which sits on the River Usk outside Newport, is happy to write a new chapter in the history books.

Known to the Romans as Isca and founded in AD 75 it was one of the most important military sites in Britain.

It was home of the 2nd Augustan Legion a Roman garrison housing 5,000 soldiers placed to keep Welsh tribes in order.

The National Roman Legion Museum in the town vividly portrays life under Roman occupation and the amphitheatre, baths and barracks can still be visited.

The museum also houses one of the largest gemstone collections of the Roman empire, lost by Roman bathers and discovered beneath the remains of the fortress baths.

The impressive amphitheatre plays host to the annual summer re-enactment, the military spectacular.

The Arthurian legend, with the town home of King Arthur's court Camelot, is cited in the Mabinogion and by Geoffrey of Monmouth.

Caerleon Castle is mentioned in the Domesday book and was originally constructed of timber. It sat on the top of a high mound or motte which can still be seen today. The timber castle was gradually replaced by stone walls in medieval times.

Roman amthitheatre
The remains of the spectacular Roman amphitheatre in Caerleon still play host to an annual re-enactment

The town is justly proud of its well preserved Roman heritage. Visitors from all over the world come to the National Roman Legion museum to view the unique artefacts amongst which is the the oldest recorded piece of writing in Wales.

Alongside its well documented Roman heritage Caerleon has a lively arts scene. It's home to the Ffwrwm Arts and Crafts centre, a collection of five craft workshops and an art gallery. The Hanbury Arms pub in the town plays host to the town's annual arts festival each summer. Lord Tennyson reputedly wrote 'Idylls of the King' whilst lodging at the inn.

It is also known as a seat of learning and the University of Newport has a large campus there.

The town can look forward to welcoming a large influx of tourists next year when the nearby Celtic Manor Hotel hosts the 2010 Ryder Cup.

As part of the construction developments for the cup a £2m twin suspension bridge has recently been completed spanning the River Usk which will transport players and spectators to a new practice ground.




SEE ALSO
Shock of 45m lottery win couple
10 Nov 09 |  Wales
'They never said a word'
10 Nov 09 |  Wales


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