Skip Navigation

Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Home > Community archives > Wyboston > Wyboston in the Romano-British and Anglo-Saxon Periods

Wyboston in the Romano-British and Anglo-Saxon Periods

There are a number of cropmarks and find spots in Wyboston from the Romano-British and Anglo-Saxon period. All are identified by the Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] which is now on-line as part of the Heritage Gateway site. This article is taken from the various entries in the HER.

A group of rectangular enclosures observed on aerial photographs at Wyboston Lakes was examined before gravel extraction in the 1950s. The site proved to be a farmstead of the later Iron Age period, with later occupation in the Roman period [HER 476], though it is unclear whether this was continuous or whether there was a break in occupation due to flooding of the site. In the Roman period a verandah-like structure was in use as a corn drier, and fragments of coal were found under its demolition layers.

Cropmarks recorded from aerial photographs at Wyboston Lakes, show a probable trackway with enclosures attached [HER 1794]. The trackway consists of two parallel linear features running east to west, and the sub-rectangular cropmarks lie to both sides of the track and aligned with it. The area has produced coins and other metalwork of Roman date, as well as brooches of the 7th-9th century AD, probably imported from Europe. The site lies to the north of the probable Roman settlement described in the previous paragraph.

To the west of the Bell Public House is an area of rectilinear cropmarks comprising the south-west corner of a large double ditched enclosure [HER 15202]. There is another rectilinear enclosure attached to the west and a straight double ditched trackway running west-north-west to east-south-east, south of the main enclosure. The cropmarks have produced a number of surface finds, these include Roman brooches, a Roman dagger chape, Roman coins, a pendent, a casket handle, a bronze strip, pins, a bracelet, a decorative buckle, Anglo-Saxon brooches, a Roman miniature axe blade, a ring, and a lead eagle figurine. Most of the finds are bronze and the evidence suggests that the site is probably that of a high status Roman settlement such as a villa.

A cropmark of two adjoining rectangular enclosures is recorded from aerial photographs in the same general area as that in the previous paragraph [HER 3239]. The site has produced an enamelled decorative stud of 2nd century date, and a circular brooch of Iron Age or Roman date, as well as four Anglo-Saxon brooches of 6th to 9th century date.

A number of finds from Wyboston include Anglo-Saxon strap ends, a brooch, a medieval seal die and a medieval to post medieval purse [HER 16029]. One of the strap ends is made of silver and has been decorated with an animal ornament which may have been inlaid with niello (an alloy of sulfur, copper, silver, and usually lead. It is black in colour). Another is bronze with an iron rivet through the nose of the animal head terminal. The remains of anAnglo-Saxon brooch and pinhead were also recovered, the pin has a faceted head and each of the right facets are decorated with a raised circle.

A number of brooches of a Roman and Anglo-Saxon date have been found in the area, along with a Roman ring. The brooches date to between the 1st and 3rd centuries and include plate and lozenge shaped types, of which most were enamelled. The other brooches were of an Anglo-Saxon date and included square headed types. The bronze ring dates to the 2nd century and was also enamelled [HER 16037]. Another Roman brooch [HER 16039] was in the shape of a duck. It was small and did not bear evidence of enamelling as is more common with large types of this kind.

A coin of the Emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161 AD) was found in 1963 west of Rookery Road [HER 481] and Roman pottery was found at Wyboston Lakes in unspecified quantity in 1960 [HER 479.