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Romano-British Aspley Guise

The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] lists all prehistoric and Roman sites and find spots known in the county. The record is now available on-line as part of the Heritage Gateway website. Oddly, there are no prehistoric finds or sites recorded for Aspley Guise, just two places where Roman material has been found and some possible Roman roadways.

The Viatores are a group dedicated to finding surviving pieces of the Roman road network in the modern landscape. One of these roads [HER 485] has been identified as running from Dorchester-on-Thames [Oxfordshire] to Alconbury [Cambridgeshire]. The road enters the county at Aspley Heath and runs through Woburn, Aspley Guise, Husborne Crawley, Brogborough, Marston Moretaine, Wootton, Kempston Rural, Great Denham, Kempston, Bedford, Ravensden, Wilden, Bolnhurst, Colmworth and Staploe. The road seems to connect the religious houses of Woburn Abbey, Cauldwell Priory, Newnham Priory and Bushmead Priory, suggesting it played a part in their location and that it may have continued to be used until the dissolution of the monasteries in the 1530s and 1540s.

Two aggers have been identified in Aspley Guise which formed parts of this Roman Road. Aggers are slightly raised linear structures (the road itself) with a ditch on either side. One [HER 10450] lies north-west of Aspley Lane in a narrow valley and is twenty feet wide, terraced for about two hundred and fifty yards. The other [10451] ran close to Birchmore Farm and joined Gypsy Lane at the first bend that road takes heading south-west from Mount Pleasant. The road then, presumably, ran on into Husborne Crawley in a straight line across what is now Crawley Park.

A well preserved Roman coin was found in Aspley at some point in the past [HER 11245], unfortunately, however, the denomination and date are not recorded. Finally, when the foundations of a house near the Roman Catholic church on Aspley Hill were being dug in 1958 Roman pottery was found [HER 11246].