PREVIOUSLY KNOWN HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE SAXON SITE
Introduction and background
see also Pre-historic occupation
This section summarises the previously known information on the archaeological potential of the site, but is dealt with in more detail in the light of the excavated evidence in the Discussion below.
Known archaeology within the vicinity of the area of proposed development was mapped during the desk-based assessment, with principal reference to the Cambridgeshire County Sites and Monuments Record (SMR). No archaeology was known to exist on the actual site, though it was subsequently found that local individuals had been discovering prehistoric flintwork on the site over a number of years.
- Numerous findspots of Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age flints are recorded in the general area of Gamlingay on the SMR. Some examples of flint tools and flint axes are shown here. These tend to be located along the valley of the Millbridge/Potton Brook, to the east and south-west of the village, though a number of findspots of Neolithic/Bronze Age flints have been made in the western part of the village away from the river valley, suggestive of occupation in the vicinity. Mr J Brown (pers. comm.) provided information on findspots of Mesolithic-Bronze Age flintwork in the vicinity of the village, noting finds of a barbed arrowhead and flint axe at the moated site at Dutter End, and further material from the northern terrace of the Millbridge Brook to the west of the moated site in the allotment gardens These lithics included a leaf-shaped arrowhead, discoidal knife and microlith point, as well as a general scatter of flakes and cores. Stubbert (1993) suggests that the earliest trackway to pass through the area probably followed the present county boundary to the west of the village, running along the top of the scarp slope, though this remains largely unproven archaeologically.
- Cropmarks located c. 150m to the south-east of the area of proposed development (SMR No. 5372) include a possible ploughed out Bronze Age burial mound in the form of a ring ditch. They also suggest that further ditches, field systems and an enclosure lie within the arable field to the south (SMR No. 5373, 9968 and 11400). Earthwork evidence of medieval cultivation in the form of the remains of ridge-and-fiirrow is also widespread in the area, including throughout the village, though no traces of ridge and furrow were discernible within the site itself (included in SMR No. 11400). The Langdon map of 1602 shows evidence of the field strips which gave nse to this ridge and furrow, and it almost certainly formerly existed on the site.
- A possible Roman villa site is recorded at Dutter End (SMR No. 2337), where finds of quernstones, building materials and pottery have been made.
- The known major medieval features include Merton Manor Farm (SMR No. 02366/a), 200 m to the north-west of the site; the site of a large medieval manor, presently a fine late 15th/early 16th century timber-framed house surrounded by the remains of a moat. The church of St Mary the Virgin to the north-west of this (and c.350 m to the north west of the site) has 13th century fabric (SMR No. 253/a/2326), whilst the former rectory/parsonage of Emplins (SMR No. 2311) is a fine 15th century timber-framed building to the east of the church.