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Potton 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. Potton has a number of sites showing prehistoric or Romano-British settlement.

A number of sites can only be classed, tentatively, as prehistoric and field walking or excavation would be necessary to confirm or disprove this hypothesis. An area of irregular cropmarks south of Gamlingay Heath [HER 657] has been identified as prehistoric. They are generally indistinct but appear to be largely oriented north-east to south-west. West of Gamlingay Road, Potton Brook and the railway are a series of marks which have been identified as trackways and roughly rectangular enclosures [HER 660]. Cropmarks south of Bury Hill [HER 15083] are rather obscured by alluvial deposit but may be rectangular enclosures.

The earliest datable finds from Potton date to the Neolithic. An unpolished green stone axe was found in the parish [HER 14799] and in January 2008 another axehead was found south-east of Eagle Farm [HER 18579].

A number of Bronze Age sites have been identified. A ditch and a pit visible as cropmarks at Vicarage Farm [HER 743] may be late Bronze Age or early Iron Age. The remaining sites are ring ditches. A ring ditches is usually taken to be the remains of a Bronze Age round barrow in which the dead were buried. A ring ditch was identified as a cropmark near sand quarrying west of Potton Brook [HER 658] but when the area was stripped back for sand extraction in 1980 no Bronze Age remains were found. Another ring ditch has been identified north-west of Poultry Farm and east of Gamlingay Road [HER 661]. It appears to lie at the junction of two trackways. A further two ring ditches have been identified as cropmarks east of the junction of Hatley Road with Sutton Road [HER 2812]. Another ring ditch has been identified north of Standalone Farm and just south of Wrestlingworth Road [HER 15084] standing adjacent to the corner of a rectangular enclosure.

An Iron Age enclosure and trackway have been identified as cropmarks near Vicarage Farm [HER 743]. A small quantity of slag, from ironfounding, has been found in the locality as well as sherds of pottery from the late Bronze Age through to the middle Iron Age. An Iron Age coin was found in Potton in 1858 [HER 18694].

Roman-British settlement in Potton is seen in an area of sand working west of Gamlingay Road [HER 658]. During sand extraction in 1980 a ditch was revealed which contained Roman pottery from the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. This ditch may have bordered a Roman road. A Roman coin was found in Sutton Mill Road in 1979 [HER 11307], the coin was silver and so was probably a denarius of the 1st or 2nd century.