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Romano-British Bolnhurst

The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] contains information on the county’s historic buildings and landscapes and summaries of each entry can now be found online as part of the Heritage Gateway website. A number of Romano-British sites have been identified in Bolnhurst, either from finds or from marks in the soil which show walls, ditches and banks.

The Viatores are a group dedicated to determining the course of putative Roman roads in the modern landscape. Of necessity these identified roads are often highly conjectural and not necessarily Roman at all. Their Road Number 173 [HER 485] is identified as running from Dorchester-on-Thames [Berkshire] to Alconbury [Huntingdonshire]. It is thought to pass through Woburn, Aspley Heath, Aspley Guise, Husborne Crawley, Brogborough, Marston Moretaine, Wootton, Kempston Rural, Kempston, Bedford, Brickhill, Ravensden, Wilden, Bolnhurst, Keysoe, Colmworth and Staploe.

Another Roman road (Viatores number 231) has been suggested running from Cambridge to Bedford passing through Staploe, Little Staughton, Keysoe and Bolnhurst. In Bolnhurst modern lanes and footpaths are thought to preserve the line of the road [HER 736].

Cropmarks north of Wood End show a block of rectangular enclosures which seem to pre-date medieval field divisions and boundaries. The area was excavated owing to construction of a pipeline and revealed inter-cutting gullies, pits, postholes and a double ring ditch which resemble Iron Age and Romano-British settlement and field systems. The features date from the 1st to the 4th centuries and finds include animal remains, daub, flint flake, human remains, two pots, slag, a cup and a nail, mostly Romano-British but some being Iron Age [HER 13744].

A Roman brooch dating from the 1st century was found west of Manor Farm [HER 15158]. Though the spring and pin are missing and the catchplate is damaged it is otherwise in good condition.

A coin dating to the Roman Republic (216-30 BC) was found together with a brooch near land of Church Farm [HER 16043]. The brooch was made of bronze and the coin was a silver denarius. The coin pre-dates the invasion of Britain by at least seventy years but may still have been in circulation or kept as a luck piece [HER 16043]. A low-value Roman bronze coin has also been found in Bolnhurst [HER 16184].