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Romano-British Houghton Conquest

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 significant number of Roman finds have been made in the parish. The most impressive of these was a hoard of twenty four coins, three brooches and a knife found by metal detecting in How End [HER 18517]. The coins are as follows (in the early imperial money system there were two copper ases in a dupondius, two copper or brass dupondii in a sestertius, four brass sestertii in a silver denarius and twenty five denarii in  gold aureus. The respective values of later coins are unknown though it is thought an antoninianus (not its ancient name) was worth two denarii. It was originally of debased silver but later merely had a thin silver wash that quickly came off leaving a radiate coin, this silver/copper alloy being known as billon.

  • As of the 1st or 2nd century;
  • Dupondius of Antonia struck by her son Claudius between 41 and 50;
  • Sestertius of Hadrian (117-138);
  • Denarius of Hadrian minted between 134 and 138;
  • Three billon radiates of Gallienus (253-268);
  • A billon radiate of about 260 to 275;
  • Two billon radiates of Claudius II (268-270);
  • Two billon radiates of the gallic usurper Tetricus I (271-274);
  • Billon radiate of the Gallic usurper Victorinus (269-271);
  • Billon radiate of the British usurper Allectus (293-296);
  • A small copper coin of Constantine I minted in mid 310;
  • two small copper coins of Constantine I minted between 321 and 323;
  • a small copper coin of Constantine II minted between 323 and 324;
  • a small copper coin of Crispus minted in 324 or 325;
  • a small copper coin of the house of Constantine minted between 330 and 335;
  • a small copper coin of the house of Constantine minted between 335 and 341;
  • A copper coin of Constans minted between 348 and 350;
  • A contemporary forgery of a small copper coin of Constantius II (337-351);
  • Silver siliqua of Honorius minted between 395 and 402

A number of coins were found in Houghton Conquest in 1848, reportedly including a gold aureus of Titus (79-81) [HER 3928].

4th century pottery, a brooch and a coin have all been found north-east of How End [HER 15803]. A small copper Roman coin found near the windmill [HER 16156] was in poor condition but probably dated to the mid-4th century. A knife handle was found south-east of Thickthorn Farm [HER 18760]. It is just over 55 mm long and seems to be a hound chasing a hare. South-east of Great Thickthorn Farm a lead die was found by metal detecting [HER 18759]. It may be Roman or later. A coin of the house of Constantine  dating from between 318 and 324 was found by metal detecting [HER 20069].

Roman pottery has been found north of the windmill [HER 15975]. A Roman bracelet was found by metal detecting in the parish [HER 20075] and a coin dating from between 335 and 337 [HER 20070]. A coin of Claudius II has been found by metal detecting [HER 20071] and a badly worn 4th century copper coin [HER 20072]. North of Little Thickthorn Farm during archaeological excavation of the former Elstow Storage Depot Roman tiles and pottery were found [HER 18252].

A Romano-British trackway has been identified north-east of the Old Rectory [HER 18192]. A rectangular enclosure cropmark, made by the existence of ancient buried ditches, banks and walls in growing crops, has been identified at How End [HER 2425]. A scatter of Roman pottery found whilst field walking confirmed the date.