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HER No.:10530
Type of Record:Monument


Town of 8th/9th century origins.

Grid Reference:TL 050 496
Map:Show location on Streetmap

Full Description

1974 summary; Despite settlement in the Ouse Valley above and below the present town of Bedford from earliest times there is no evidence for urbanisation before the Middle or Later Saxon period. A river crossing may have determined the location of a settlement which was given a rectilinear plan by Edward The Elder in 915-6. The excavation of a section across the Kingsditch is reported.

Bedford Castle (demolished 1224-5) dominated the town North of the river. The town does not appear to have developed significantly beyond the limits of the rectilinear plan untill the 18th century.

Excavations since 1967 have produced some plan evidence for Saxon and Medieval Buildings, but prior to the 16th and 17th century standing examples are all ecclesiastical. Many substantial timber-framed buildings are known only from photographs and other illustrations. The main types of Post-Medieval buildings are indicated.

1983 ref; In the source above an interpretation of the layout and origin of the early topography and plan of Bedford were given. There are however, several considerations which suggest alternative hypothesis.

P31/ … The Analysis so far has suggested that apart from the church of St. Paul's and the Norman Castle. There are five main elements in the growth and development of the Northern Burh, these are;

1) Defences, of sub-rectangular form
2) Four main streets set at right angles, the West, North and East Streets passing through presumed gates in the centres of the defences, with the South Street leading to the bridge.
3) The Bridge, placed approximately centrally in relation to the defences and the street system.
4) Two Market areas immediately outside the North and East gates, each associated with a church.
5) Main and extra-mural roads.

P32/ … South Burh constructed c.915. The conclusion that the Northern Burh of bedford pre-dates the Southern Burh is confirmed by the topography of the town …

p33/ … Bedford is one of a series of at least 12 Burhs, all with a rectangular or sub-rectangular plan, placed along the frontiers of Mercia by King Offa (died 796)

Protected Status: None recorded

Monument Type(s):

  • BEAM SLOT? (Unknown date)
  • BREWERY (Unknown date)
  • DITCH (Unknown date)
  • DITCH (Unknown date)
  • FLOOR (Unknown date)
  • PIT? (Unknown date)
  • POST HOLE (Unknown date)
  • WALL (Unknown date)
  • WATER TANK? (Unknown date)
  • BOUNDARY DITCH (9th Century to 10th Century - 801 AD to 900 AD)
  • BURH (9th Century to 10th Century - 801 AD to 900 AD)
  • TOWN (9th Century to Modern - 801 AD to 2050 AD)
  • GULLY (10th Century to 13th Century - 901 AD to 1200 AD)
  • PIT (10th Century to 12th Century - 901 AD to 1100 AD)
  • BURH (10th Century to Unknown - 975 AD)
  • CASTLE (11th Century to 14th Century - 1001 AD to 1300 AD)
  • CELLAR (Post Medieval to Victorian - 1540 AD? to 1901 AD?)
  • ROBBER TRENCH (Post Medieval to Victorian - 1540 AD to 1901 AD)
  • WALL (18th Century to Victorian - 1701 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WELL (18th Century to Modern - 1701 AD to 2050 AD)

Associated Finds: None recorded

Associated Events: None recorded