Aerial photographs have revealed the site of a significant larger
settlement in the field, interestingly
termed, Settle Mead. Several trackways and what appear to be house platforms
can be seen on a site of about twelve acres.
(Beds.Arch.SMR 1885) According to one archaeologist this could be an
Iron Age - Roman village. As it is unlikely to be excavated it is difficult to
say exactly but its pattern certainly resembles similar settlement of that
period. Not long after 45 AD the Romans had control of this area. The Roman
Road from Sandy to their camp at Godmanchester 22 kilometres to the north ran
almost north-south less than 500 metres from the foot of the ridge.
(Beds.Arch.SMR 505) This road follows the present line of Hasells Hedge but,
over the centuries, the metalling has been "robbed out" to provide a
cheap source of building material. There are defensive earthworks, known as
Caesar's Camp, on the hills to the north of Sandy Station (O.S.180492) and
others 1.5km. south on Sandy Warren (O.S. 184478) overlooking the Roman Road.
Excavations in the cemetery have revealed a small Roman settlement as remains
of the road. With a considerable number of other archaeological along Stratford
Road and the eastern slopes of the ridge it show there was Roman
occupation only three kilometres from
On the Oxford clay and the gravels of the valley floor there is
also considerable evidence of Roman settlement. Pottery and coins were found at
Cold Arbour Farm (O.S.192544) three kilometres north of the village and there
was a significant Roman villa in Tempsford with a mosaic floor. Samian ware,
bone and coins dating from between 161 AD to 378 AD. were found at the site.
(Beds.Arch.SMR 523; VCH Hunts.i,p.268, Proc.Camb.Antiqu.Soc. vol.14. p.151) A
coin dated AD 310 was found in the grounds of Woodbury Hall. (Family document
in possession of Lady Errol)
Excavation, as far as is
known, has not taken place on the village site, but fragments of a large grey
earthenware vessel dating from Roman times were found opposite Warden Gap on
Sandy Road (O.S.199509). Other grey shards from a large bowl were found on the
west side of Sandy Road. (Found by the Henry’s, Sandy Road) There was at least
one kiln in operation in the village. One has been unearthed behind the Lawns,
another on the site of Church Farm. Many pot sherds have been unearthed in the
area. The availability of extensive deposits of clay just below the ridge along
the spring line were exploited in the Middles Ages as well as in the late-19th
century. (Beds.Arch.SMR 2002) The ponds could be water-filled clay pits. The trackway opposite the site where the
pottery was found leads down the ridge to the Roman Road only a kilometre away.
This is the present route of the Greensand Ridge Walk. It passes the strangely
symmetrical Warden Hill on top of which was a hut circle. Might this have been
a defensive site?
When the Romans left the
country in the fourth century the Romano-British settlers continued to farm the
area but, although it is possible, there is no evidence of a continued
occupation during the Dark Ages.