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Chalgrave in the Dark Ages

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. The Dark Ages is that period beginning with the final withdrawal of Rome from Britain in 410 AD. It may be argued that this period, when the glories of the Classical World of Greece and Rome were forgotten and replaced by an intellectual recession and triumph of barbarism over civilization, stretched as far as the Renaissance when Classical learning was rediscovered. Traditionally, in England, it was held to end with the Norman Conquest of 1066. Such a view is, nowadays, unfashionable, and the term Early Medieval is generally preferred, but Dark Ages still has a popular resonance!

A road known as the Thiodweg or Theed Way was first recorded in the Chalgrave Charter of 926 [HER 10843] but may have had a prehistoric genesis. It ran roughly east-west across south Bedfordshire for twelve miles, through the parishes of Leighton Buzzard (where it crossed the River Ousel at Yttingaford, or Tiddenfoot, site of a peace treaty between King Edward the Elder (899-924) and the Danes in 906), Billington, Stanbridge, Eggington, Tilsworth, Chalgrave, Houghton Regis, Toddington, Sundon and Luton where it met up with Icknield Way. The road was used to carry salt from the fens of East Anglia westward.

In the 20th century a bronze ornament was discovered in the garden of a house in Tebworth Road, Wingfield. It dated from the 10th or 11th century and may have been a decorative mount [HER 17804]. In 2011 a metal detectorist found two Anglo-Saxon coins, part of a knife scabbard and a stirrup south of Hill Farm [HER 19306].