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Knotting in Prehistory

A reconstruction of an Bronze Age round house at Flag Fen October 2011
A reconstruction of a Bronze Age round house at Flag Fen October 2011

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 oldest datable find from Knotting is a Bronze Age axe-head [HER 9974]. Some cropmarks east of the village have been interpreted as two ring ditches [HER 15029]. These are usually the remains of Bronze Age round barrows for burying the dead.

The Bronze Age was succeeded by the Iron Age and Knotting has a number of occupation sites from this era. Some cropmarks south-east of Knotting Fox Cottages [HER 1898] seem to be the remains of an Iron Age enclosure as a few sherds of contemporary pottery have been found there.

A reconstruction of an Iron Age round house at Flag Fen October 2011
A reconstruction of a Iron Age round house at Flag Fen October 2011

To the north-west of Temple Spinney are the remains of a rampart identified as Iron Age by fragments of pottery and slag, the waste product from iron smelting [HER 2656]. South-east of the village of Knotting is an area of debris from occupation which includes Iron Age pottery [HER 2660]. A similar scatter of pottery has been found south of Sheeprack Wood [HER 2666]. More Iron Age pottery has been found adjacent to a pond in the north of the parish [HER 1385] and it has also been reported in the garden of Mousehole Cottage [HER 10582].

Some cropmarks around Knotting are suspected to be indicators of prehistoric activity such as banks, ditches and track ways but without excavation or fieldwalking  the suspicions cannot be proved. The farmer at Strawberry Hill, for example, reported a circular cropmark in the dry summer of 1976 [HER 1856]. A group of irregular enclosures has been identified to the west of West Wood [HER 15032] and a group of rectangular and curved enclosures north-east of the wood [HER 15026]. West Wood itself lies on the boundary with Northamptonshire and was formerly part of a medieval deer park called Higham Park. Also to the north of the parish is a small oval enclosure identified through cropmarks [HER 15027].

North-east of the village is a group of rectangular and irregular enclosures [HER 15028] and there are indistinct marks, perhaps of rectangular enclosures to the east of the village [HER 15034]. Finally more indistinct marks, probably indicating a group of enclosures, has been identified to the south-east of the village [HER 15033].