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Romano-British Stevington

The Romans landed in Britain in 43 AD and spent the next few years pacifying what is, today, England and Wales, the border at one point in the 2nd century reaching into southern Scotland. The Romans left, according to The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 410 AD.

Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record notes that The Viatores, a group dedicated to researching Roman roads in Britain, identified a road running from Kempston, through Kempston Rural, Bromham, Stevington, Carlton, Chellington, Harrold and Podington then on to Irchester in Northamptonshire in 1964 [HER 58]. The Viatores traced from the evidence of exposed metalling and roadside aggers (from the Latin word meaning a causeway), combined with modern road lines and field and parish boundaries. Doubt has since been cast on the identification as some of the boundaries were found to be post-medieval in origin, and there is no indication of the road on air photos of the parish of Kempston.

The only other remains in Stevington which might date to the period of Roman occupation are deposits of iron slag. These have been found by field walking and, without additional finds may, instead, date to the Iron Age. The deposits found, as identified by the Historic Environment Record, are as follows:

  • North-east of Park End [HER 9050]: an area of bloomery slag of Iron age/Roman type was found in a ploughed field. There was a varying density increasing towards the south-west side of the field with a maximum of 15-25 slag pieces per square metre with no evident soil colouration.
  • North of the former railway line and south-west of Mill Farm [HER 9051]: two areas of Bloomery slag were found; both areas had a maximum density of 10-20 slag pieces per square metre and there was no evident soil colouration.
  • South-west of Park Farm [HER 9052] two areas of Bloomery slag; both areas had a maximum density of 10-20 slag pieces per square metre and there was no evident soil colouration.
  • At Park Farm, close to Park Road [HER 9053]: in a field of young crop. There was a maximum density of 15-25 slag pieces per square metre and slight soil colouration.