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Romano-British Hockliffe

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 Romans invaded Britain in AD 43 and remained until 410.

Given that the north-east boundary of Hockliffe is formed by a major Roman road surprisingly few Romano-British finds have been made in the parish The A5 was called Watling Street by the Anglo-Saxons but was one of the most important roads made by the Romans in Britain, running from London, north-west to Anglesey [HER 5508]. Even today stretches of the road are straight enough to betray its Roman origins. Small scale excavations on the site of medieval earthworks adjoining Church Farm exposed an earlier occupation level containing pottery, an iron spear head and possibly coins believed to be of a Romano-British date [PL/AC2/25]. Springs near the top of a north-facing slope to the south of Leighton Road flow northward into Clipstone Brook. The area around these springs appears to have been uncultivated despite being surrounded by ridge and furrow, suggesting it was a marshy area [HER 11683]. As similar ridges in nearby Eggington and Stanbridge are known to have had Romano-British occupation sites next to springs it would not be surprising to find that Hockliffe followed the same pattern [PL/AC2/25].

A number of metal detecting finds from the Roman period have been made in the parish. An incomplete oval plate brooch was discovered at Church Farm in 2000. In 2007 a fragment of Roman silver finger ring of the 'keeled' type, probably dating from the 3rd century was found in the north of the parish near the A5 to the south-west of Battlesden Lodge. Only one shoulder, part of the hoop and the bezel survive. The shoulder is decorated with incised lines which run out to the edge, and the bezel consists of an octagonal moulding. This is inscribed 'DEO TOTA'. The shoulder is inscribed 'FELIX'. The legend on the bezel refers to the Celtic deity Toutatis. The missing shoulder would have almost certainly have had the inscription 'VTERE', which, when combined with 'FELIX' translates as 'use (this ring) happily.' 'TOT' rings are relatively common Roman finds. [HER 19066]. In the same year three Roman coins were found north-east of Ground Farm [HER 19044], and in 2012 a lateIron Age to early Roman copper-alloy strip brooch was found near Watling Street [HER 19444].