Romano-British Oakley

Information detailed on this page is courtesy of the Bedfordshire Borough Council and / or the Heritage Gateway

There have been a number of finds of Romano-British material in the parish of Oakley. Two possible Roman roads have been identified and some cropmark may mark the site of habitation.

P.G Tilson reported that a field survey was undertaken near Oakley Bridge in March 1972. There was a large quantity of pottery and a Roman coin of the Emperor Constantine the Great (307-337) A. East reported that earlier the site had yielded at least nine coins of Roman date, amongst which were: coins of Trajan (98-117); Antonius Pius (170); Crispus (317-326); Constans (337-350), and three radiates, one a local copy made in the 5th century. Some rims of pottery were of 3rd century Romano-British Wares. The area is under heavy cultivation and has been disturbed by gravel extraction during the last hundred years or more.

A. East also reported that the following two objects have been found in the course of river dredging near Stafford Bridge during 1971 and 1972. One was a stone loom weight, punched and triangular in shape, of uncertain date but possibly Roman. The other was a fragment of the lower stone of a large rotary quern made of millstone grit for grinding corn, probably Roman.

An extensive scatter of 3rd-4th century Romano-British pottery has recorded in Oakley. In 1968, a Roman sestertius of the reign of Antoninus Pius (138-161 AD) was dug up in Ruffs Furze. A few 3rd and 4th century Roman coins have also been recorded north-west of Oakley church.

The Viatores, a group dedicated to re-discovering Roman roads in Britain, have identified a possible Roman road from Biggleswade to Wellingborough [Northamptonshire]. The road may have run through Henlow, Shefford, Southill, Haynes, Eastcotts, Bedford, Clapham, Oakley, Pavenham, Odell, Chellington, Harrold and Farndish. An agger between Clapham and Oakley was probably part of this road. An agger is a stretch of road like a causeway higher at the top, along the centre of the road, than either side, to allow water to run off the road itself. A map of 1795 describes this agger as Knave’s Bush Way.

A complex of rectilinear enclosures, thought to be Roman, can be seen as cropmarks on aerial photographs