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Brogborough Before 1086

A reconstruction of an Iron Age round house at Flag Fen October 2011
A reconstruction of an Iron Age round house at Flag Fen October 2011

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. The earliest evidence of human habitation in Brogborough is from the late Iron Age. A farmstead was identified on Brogborough Hill, north-west of Ridgeway Road, when digging the route of the new A421. A series of ditches, pits and a gully as well as the site of the roundhouse showed the location and a lack of any imported pottery suggested it was of low status [HER 12939]. Finds included human and animal remains, oyster shells, pot sherds, a quern for grinding corn, slag from iron-making, two brooches and a bead. It is estimated that the settlement was abandoned in the early 2nd century AD.

A late Iron Age or early Romano-British field system [HER 12938] was identified around the same time. It may be that the site, which is lower down the slope, west of Highfield Crescent and under the new A421, began as late as the 2nd century when the site further up the slope (see above) was abandoned. Animal remains, pottery, Roman brick and tile have been found.

Iron Age and/or Romano-British activity may have been identified west of Ridgmont Station [HER 19550]. Pottery from the period was found in ditches but may not necessarily represent habitation.

The Viatores are a group dedicated to identifying Roman roads in the modern landscape. They have suggested a road (numbered 173) from Dorchester-on-Thames to Alconbury which passes through Bedfordshire, going through Staploe, Colmworth, Keysoe, Bolnhurst, Wilden, Ravensden, Brickhill, Great Denham, Kempston Rural, Kempston, Wootton, Marston Moretaine, Brogborough, Husborne Crawley, Aspley Guise, Aspley Heath and Woburn [HER 485]. An agger has been identified east of Redfield Farm and formed part of this proposed Roman Road [HER 10454]. An agger is a long, thin convex line thought to show remains of a Roman road.

Roman finds have been discovered in Brogborough. These include the following:

  • The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire mentions Roman remains found east of Brogborough Park Farm and adjacent to the earthworks, the type of remains is not stated [HER 2018];
  • About two hundred sherds of pottery, including come high-grade Samian ware (orange-coloured vessels decorated with built up decoration) were found in 1968 when the current course of Bedford Road was built over Brogborough Hill [HER 2793];
  • A single sherd of Roman pottery was recovered during excavations at Junction 13 of the M1 [HER 20095];
  • Also found at Junction 13 was another single sherd [HER 20096]

Finally, a late Anglo-Saxon pit was identified on Brogborough Hill during the A421 excavations. It yielded a single spur dating from the 10th or 11th century [HER 20116]