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Anglo-Saxon Marston


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. 


Archaeological excavations carried out before the construction of the entrance road to the Marston Vale Millennium Country Park showed early Saxon settlement remains in two areas [HER20329]. A detailed report on this area was published in Bedfordshire Archaeology, vol.27 (2017). Evidence showed an early-middle Saxon settlement covering an area of around 2½ hectares, with two main foci comprising large groups of intercutting pits; these may have been dug for clay extraction but were re-used for disposal of rubbish. Some middle Saxon Maxey-type ware pottery was found here. A second pit group to the south-west did not contain this type of pottery, and may have been of slightly earlier date. The southern settlement focus produced a large number of postholes believed to indicate fence lines.  


Excavations carried out at Church End Lower School before the building of an extension to the school buildings uncovered a Saxo-Norman aisled hall. This building was 7 metres wide and at least 9 metres long, and had at some time been modified by the insertion of an aisle at the west end of the building. Pottery finds suggest that it was occupied and abandoned before the 12th century [HER16356]. It is thought that this area may have been the centre of the medieval settlement around St. Mary’s Church. A possible Saxon ditch was also discovered in the area. 


Based on place name evidence it is likely that Marston Pillinge was an Anglo-Saxon settlement. Pillinge is an "-ingas" place name indicating a 5th to 7th century date [HER789]. 


A lead Anglo-Saxon spindle whorl found in Marston Moretaine is in the collection of the Higgins Museum in Bedford.