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Kempston Hardwick 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. Aerial photographs have revealed cropmarks south of Manor Road [HER15184].

These marks are sub-rectangular and may represent field enclosures. Without exploration on the ground it is impossible to date them so they may be from a period anywhere from the Neolithic through to the Romano-British.

Cropmarks at Marsh Leys Farm, now beneath the industrial estate, indicated an Iron Age settlement extending well into the Romano-British period [HER 9600]. A number of boundary ditches running south-west to north-east and north-west to south-east were identified indicating an Iron Age field system. Several water pits dating from the Iron Age were also identified along with a round house. Specific Iron Age finds included: some pottery sherds and animal bones, and a bead. Some finds were much earlier, comprising four flint blades, two scraper tools and five cores, all from the Neolithic or Bronze Age: flint tools continued to be used right through the Bronze Age as they were easier to produce from raw materials more easily to hand than bronze implements.

Amongst other things at Marsh Leys two burials were found, one of which was wearing Roman sandals. Roman finds comprised: animal remains, two bricks, a coin, a flagon, some nails, a pin, two querns for grinding corn, pottery, a glass vessel, a dish, three jars, a mortarium (a large pottery vessel with rough grit included in the body of the vessel for grinding up food in a kitchen) and some roof tiles.