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Romano-British Aspley Heath

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 Heath, 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. The line of this road has been traced running as an agger [HER 5160] past Longslade Cottage. It then continued into Aspley Guise along a valley north of Aspley Lane. An agger is a linear feature Ithe road itself), slightly raised and with ditches either side.

At some time before 1806, perhaps in 1759, a Roman amphora (a large pottery storage vessel for oil or wine) was found on Wavendon Heath [HER 864] in a sand pit. Another sign of occupation was fifty four Roman coins discovered near the boundary with Woburn and so close to the agger noted above. They all dated to the late third century of the fourth century [HER 16045].