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Little Staughton Before 1086

Jeanette Atkinson and Brenda Foster have been working on adding Community Archive pages for Little Staughton.

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 http://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/gateway/. A substantial site, a find spot and five crop marks in the parish indicate human activity before the Roman Conquest.

A flint tanged arrowhead of late Neolithic or early Bronze Age measuring  41.48 millimetres in length from the tip to the base of tang was found on Colmworth Road  [HER 199901]. An Iron Age settlement has been recorded in the west of the parish; it was probably established by Belgic migrants on fresh unpopulated land (as stated in a report prepared when a natural gas pipeline was laid in 2001).

Crop marks, indicating soil disturbance as a result of walls, ditches of other features, have been identified as follows; all are tentatively ascribed to the prehistoric period but without excavation of field-walking no more accurate date can be ascribed:

  • south of West End [HER 16687] - an isolated rectangular enclosure;
  • west of The Old Rectory [HER 16740] - a sub-rectangular enclosure;
  • north East of Wickey Farm [HER 16737] - a double straight ditched track way and a possible rectangular enclosure attached;
  • east of the former Kangaroo public house [HER 16685] an isolated sub-rectangular enclosure;
  • south-west of Hill Farm [HER 16739] - a regular rectangular enclosure.

The Roman armies of Emperor Claudius (41-54) arrived in Britain in 43 AD. The Viatores are a group dedicated to trying to find Roman roads in the modern landscape. One such road may have run from Dorchester-on-Thames [Berkshire] to Alconbury [Huntingdonshire], passing through Little Staughton on the way [HER 485]. It has been conjectured that a second road [HER 236] may have run from Cambridge to Bolnhurst through Staploe and Little Staughton, where modern lanes and footpaths are thought to preserve the line of the road. 

Evidence of a substantial Romano-British rural agricultural settlement has been found in the parish (coins and other artefacts discovered in the west of the parish when a natural gas pipeline was laid in 2001). A Roman denarius of Empress Faustina (died 175), wife of Marcus Aurelius (161-180) has also been found in the parish.

Another coin found in Little Staughton belongs to the early medieval period. A fragment of a hammered silver coin minted in London in the reign of Æthelred II (978-1016), called Æthelred the Unready and dating between 979 and 989 has been found [HER 19899].