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Caddington in Later Prehistory

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. Caddington has a number of sites belonging to the Neolithic period and/or the Bronze Age.

The New Stone Age, or Neolithic, lasted from about 3500 BC to about 1600 BC. It was preceded by the Middle Stone Age, or Mesolithic and was succeeded by the Bronze Age. At this time families began to settle in areas and farm cereal crops as well as keeping livestock. This development in places such as Mesopotamia and Egypt marks the beginnings of what is commonly thought of as civilization.

Caddington cannot boast anything as spectacular as Egyptian pyramids or, indeed, anything like Stonehenge or Avebury but there is plenty of settlement evidence. A Neolithic stone axe was discovered south of Brick Kiln Farm on Chaul End Road [HER 13567] and another was found somewhere near the village [HER 13568].

Other remains, though plentiful, are more difficult to date and may belong to the Neolithic or the Bronze Age. The Bronze Age lasted from around 1600 BC, to somewhere around 600 BC. It was succeeded by the Iron Age. At this time casting and use of Bronze implements became widespread though flint tools were not abandoned straight away, the two co-existing for some time.

Flint blades and flakes and a scraper tool were discovered at Inions Farm along with Romano-British and Medieval material [HER 15857]. Another scatter of flint including an arrowhead, a blade and a scraper was found south of Luton Road [HER 16059]. It is possible that some of the material found was Mesolithic in date.

20th century Field walking south of Inions Farm produced more flint scatters [HER 16060]. These included an awl, six to ten blades, a point and a scraper as well as some Romano-British material. West of the farm [HER 16063] six to ten blades, four points, two scrapers and a piece of Iron Age pottery were found. Field walking north-west of the village [HER 16065] produced a small quantity of blades and of scrapers.

Field walking at Brick Kiln Farm [HER 16068] produced a large quantity of flint flakes, a medium quantity of points and of scrapers as well as some Romano-British material. North of the village [HER 16070] a medium quantity of flint flakes was found, again in association with Romano-British material. Manor Farm produced an area of burned and worked flints [HER 16075]. Within the bounds of the village a flint tool was recovered [HER 17783].

Finally, what was believed to be a Romano-British camp south of the village, on high ground half a mile from the church [HER 13578] is probably an Iron Age enclosure. The Iron Age lasted from around 600 BC until the Roman invasion of Britain in 43 AD and the subsequent gradual colonization of England and Wales. At this time casting and use of iron implements became widespread and at least by the latter part of the Iron Age the tribes referred to by Roman historians had settled territories. The tribe associated with what is now Bedfordshire were the Catuvellauni, one of the most powerful tribes, it is believed, in the southern part if Britain in the century or so before the Roman Conquest. Evidence for this as an enclosure comes only from neighbouring field names – Dark Lane Camps, Upper Lane Camps and Lower Camps. Modern ploughing has destroyed all evidence on the ground.