St Tathan, otherwise known as Tatheus was the first abbot of Caerwent and he is best known for having given instruction to St Catwg (the son of Gwynlliw) who is said to have studied at Caerwent for twelve years before founding numerous churches in Wales and Brittany. St Tathan died in 570.

 

Caerwent Church was built in the 13th Century, but it can be said to be half-Roman for its walls are largely built with stone taken from the old fortress. The vicar even stands on Roman mosaic to read the lessons!

 

In the porch can be seen two inscribed stones and the larger one is of particular interest. It was discovered many years ago buried on the village green and records the setting up of a statue to Tiberius Claudius Paulinus ‘by decree of the tribal senate’, by ‘the commonwealth of the Silures’. This is one of the most important memorials relating to Roman Britain because it provides an insight into local administration.

 

This stone was set up in about 220 and the reference to ‘the commonwealth of the Silures’ confirms the importance of the Celtic tribe in this locality. The Romans never succeeded in fully subjugating the Silures and eventually a compromise had to be reached which resulted in the establishment of the Roman Republic of the Silures.