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Melchbourne Before 1086

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. Perhaps the oldest identified feature in Melchbourne is a ring ditch observed as a cropmark south of Eastfield Farm. Ring ditches are generally the remains of round barrows and thus features which belong to the Bronze Age [HER 15038].

A number of features have been identified as cropmarks but, without more detailed examination, can only be tentatively assigned as prehistoric. Enclosures have been identified along a south-west to north-east ridge top south of Wimsells comprising a large rectangular enclosure and two smaller circular enclosures [HER 14066]. Other marks may represent landscaping features in Melchbourne Park. North of Grange Farm a scatter of roughly rectangular enclosures along a ridge top [HER 15035].

East of the site of the former preceptory of the Knights Hospitaller an indisctinct rectangular enclosure abutting a north-south line may be prehistoric [HER 16572]. A similarly indistinct rectangular enclosure has been identified north-east of Eastfield Farm [HER 16622]. North-east of Yelden Road is a scatter of rectangular enclosures on top of a ridge [HER 16571]. A group of small roughly rectangular cropmarks west of Inn Farm may be prehistoric [HER 16474].

A cropmark west of Woodleys comprising a scatter of rectangular enclosures on a ridge top has produced mid to late Iron Age and Romano-British pottery through fieldwalking [HER 16573]. Also late Iron Age or, perhaps, Romano-British is a copper alloy brooch found near the village, a 4th century AD Roman coin being found nearby [HER 15894]. Another small Roman bronze coin was found in Melchbourne Park [HER 15156]. Finally a group of roughly rectangular enclosures south-west of Hillands Plantation produced one possible Anglo-Saxon pot sherd and a small amount of Romano-British pottery through fieldwalking [HER 15036].