Baldock

Major Settlement

A settlement existed here from early in the first century B.C. and it continued to be occupied throughout the Roman period. The settlement covered at least twenty hectares, the majority of buildings being contained within the south-east angle formed at the crossing of the Braughing-Sandy road and the ancient Ridgeway.

Various archaeological surveys have revealed a pattern of rectilinear ditched enclosures separated by lanes laid out almost at right-angles to the Braughing road. The enclosures contained storage-pits, wells and buildings, mostly of native design represented by circular wall trenches between nine and a half to seven metres in diameter, though at least one building was of rectangular floor-plan, with walls of chalk and flint measuring some seven by thirteen metres.

Cemeteries are known to have been placed at the northern and southern extremities of the settlement, and excavations at the southernmost site accounted for three hundred and seventeen cremations and at least thirty inhumations, ranging from the late-first to third centuries, though some of the inhumations may have been of fourth century date.

Epigraphic Evidence from the Baldock Area

Although no Latin inscriptions on stone have been recorded in the R.I.B. for the Baldock settlement, an inscribed sheet of lead has been found at Clothall (TL2732), about two miles south-east of Baldock along the road to Braughing.

RIB221 - Curse upon Tacita

VETVS
QVOMODO ANIES
SIGNEFICATVR
TACITA DEFICTA
Tacita, hereby accursed, is labelled old like putrid gore.
vetus: vetustas is used in a medical sense of inveterate ulcers by Celsus 5, 26, 31 and 21, 74, 127. signeficatur, for significatur. deficta, see RIB 6 (London).

There is a Romano-British villa 2 miles north-west at Radwell (TL2335), another 4 miles to the south-west at Great Wymondley (TL2029), and one more some 8 miles north-east at Litlington (TL3142) in Cambridgeshire with a Romano-British burial mound nearby (TL3241). Substantial Roman buildings have also been discovered at Shefford (TL1338), which lies about 9 miles to the north-west in Bedfordshire.

Roman Roads in the Area

The ancient trackway from Verulamium (St. Albans) in the south-west possibly continued on its course north-east to Wimpole Lodge and then onwards to Snettisham on the Metaris Aestuarium (The Wash). Likewise, the road south-east from Braughing may also have continued in a north-westerly direction to Bannaventa (Whilton Lodge) on Watling Street via a small settlement at Duston, though it is more likely that this road linked up with Sandy to the north.

References for Baldock

  • Britannia ii (1971) p.269;
  • The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965). 

Map References for Baldock

NGRef: TL2433 OSMap: LR153/166

Roman Roads near Baldock

NNW (11) to Sandy Possible road: NW (47) to Dvston Possible road: NNE (11) to Wimpole Lodge Ridgeway: ENE (17) to Great Chesterford Icknield Way: WSW (17) to Dvrocobrivis (Dunstable, Bedfordshire) S (12) to Welwyn (Hertfordshire) SE (11) to Bravghing