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Steppingley 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.

The two oldest finds from Steppingley are from the Mesolithic period: a blade and two flakes [HER 7478] and a flint scraper [HER 7476]. A Neolithic polished flint axe was also found in the parish [HER 2796]. The Bronze Age in Steppingley is represented by two concentric circles on or near Mill Hill. They are ring ditches, probably the remains of round barrows for burying the dead [HER 746]. A linear crop mark may represent the line of an old road or track from Steppingley and Flitwick to Millbrook; archaeological excavation produced Iron Age pottery from a round house and numerous ditches [HER 686].

A few features which show up as crop marks are tentatively described as prehistoric, though identity cannot be confirmed without field walking or excavation. Crop marks are patches of soil where old features such as ditches or walls still show up in the modern landscape due to the different growth of vegetation over them as compared with the surrounding area. One such crop mark lies south of the former Methodist chapel. It is a rectangular feature with a broad ditch [HER 955]. North-east of the village are a number of rectangular crop marks which may represent prehistoric field boundaries [HER 758]. Crop marks south of Moor Plantation are small and mixture of circles and rectangles [HER 742]. A square cropmark was identified on an aerial photograph of 1974 [HER 8296] whilst north of Flitwick Plantation is a small sub-rectangular cropmark [HER 16567].

The Roman occupation has left some traces in Steppingley. The Viatores are a group dedicated to finding Roman roads in the modern landscape. One possible road (Viatores 176) has been identified running from Woburn to Dunton and passing through Husborne Crawley, Ridgmont, Eversholt, Steppingley, Flitwick, Maulden, Clophill, Campton and Chicksands, Shefford, Clifton, Henlow, Langford, Biggleswade, Astwick and Edworth [HER 5342]. A Roman pot was discovered during excavations for a gas pipe line half a mile south-west of the church [HER 16014].