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Romano-British Keysoe

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. A number of Romano-British sites have been identified in Bolnhurst, either from finds or from marks in the soil which show walls, ditches and banks.

The Viatores are a group dedicated to determining the course of putative Roman roads in the modern landscape. Of necessity these identified roads are often highly conjectural and not necessarily Roman at all. Their Road Number 173 [HER 485] is identified as running from Dorchester-on-Thames [Berkshire] to Alconbury [Huntingdonshire]. It is thought to pass through Woburn, Aspley Heath, Aspley Guise, Husborne Crawley, Brogborough, Marston Moretaine, Wootton, Kempston Rural, Kempston, Bedford, brickhill, Ravensden, Wilden, Bolnhurst, Keysoe, Colmworth and Staploe.

Another Roman road (Viatores number 231) has been suggested running from Cambridge to Bedford passing through Staploe, Little Staughton, Keysoe and Bolnhurst. In Bolnhurst modern lanes and footpaths are thought to preserve the line of the road [HER 736].

Cropmarks north of Wood End show a block of rectangular enclosures which seem to pre-date medieval field divisions and boundaries. The area was excavated owing to construction of a pipeline and revealed inter-cutting gullies, pits, postholes and a double ring ditch which resemble Iron Age and Romano-British settlement and field systems. The features date from the 1st to the 4th centuries and finds include animal remains, daub, flint flake, human remains, two pots, slag, a cup and a nail, mostly Romano-British but some being Iron Age [HER 13744].

A very regular feature shaped like a trapezium with an entrance to the south-east is visible as a cropmark south-east of Keysoe Row East [HER 16688]. The regularity suggests a Roman Feature, possibly a villa. It is on the same alignment as the features above

Cropmarks north of Keysoe Row East [HER 13742]  show a rectangular ditched enclosure with an entrance and a possible building. The enclosure measures roughly 125 metres by 100 metres and is located around the head of a former watercourse. This strongly suggests a Romano-British period temple.

The occupant of Grange Farm reported that his house was moated until World War Two and that he had Roman tiles on his floor and had found Roman coins in his garden [HER 8315]. He noted that the tiles and coins had been identified as Roman by Luton Museum.