Stony Stratford Settlement

Possible Roman Settlement

This suspected Roman settlement lies astride Watling Street on the border between Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire in the north-western outskirts of Milton Keynes. The military highway here crossed the stream of the River Great Ouse, where, as intimated by the modern name, the water-course was forded. The normal method the Romans used to construct a ford was to lay a number of large, dressed stones into the river-bed to provide a continuous road-surface just beneath the surface of the water which would allow the easy passage of pack animals and ox-drawn carts. It is possible that the original Roman ford was also provided with “stepping stones” in order that pedestrian travellers could avoid getting their sandals damp, but this is pure speculation.

Stony Stratford – The Ford on the Stone [i.e. Roman] Road

In 1789, at Windmill Field in the parish of Old Stratford, Northamptonshire (just across the river Great Ouse from Stony Stratford in Milton Keynes), an urn was uncovered that contained three fibulae and two headdresses. It also contained around thirty fragments of silver plaques which were decorated with images of the Roman gods Mars, Apollo and Victory. There were also inscriptions to Jupiter and Vulcan leading to theories that this was a votive hoard at a Roman temple. The hoard is now kept at the British Museum

Stony Stratford Epigraphy

RIB216 - Dedication to Mars

To the god Mars ... this sacred offering ..
DEO
MARTI S
A [...] D
[...] N
[...] S
No commentary.

RIB215 - Dedication to Jupiter and Volcanus

To the god Jupiter and Volcanus, I, Vassinus, hereby have promised six denarii when they might be pleased to bring me, their votary, safe home and on the fulfilment of my vow I have paid the money.
DEO
IOVI ET VOLCA
VASSINVS
CVM VELLI
NT ME CON
SACRATVM
CONSERVARE
PROMISI DENA
RIOS SEX PRO VO
TO SOLVTO P D
No commentary.

RIB217 - Dedication to Mars

Sacred to the holy god Mars: (...) gave this as a gift.
DOE MAR
[...]I SAN
S
D D
No commentary.

There are villas nearby at Wolverton (SP8240) to the east, at Cosgrove (SP7942) on the opposite side of the Ouse in Northamptonshire, and another about 5½ miles to the north-east at Gayhurst. On the opposite side of the Watling Street to the west there is another nearby villa at Deanshanger (SP7639) in Northamptonshire, while about 5 miles to the south-west close to the villa at Foxcote (SP7235) there is a Romano-British rural temple at Bourton Grounds (SP7233), also a burial mound containing Roman material at Thornborough (SP7333); all of these latter three sites in Buckinghamshire.

References for Stony Stratford

  • The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965). 

Roman Roads near Stony Stratford

Watling Street: NW (8.5) to Lactodvrvm (Towcester, Northamptonshire) Watling Street: SE (8.5) to Magiovinivm