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  Grovehill, Piccotts End, Woodhall Farm and Phoenix

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A Blank Page?

 

I started out with the idea in my mind of a blank emptiness of the land, a few people in small isolated settlements knapping flint for their axes, making iron tools and casting bronze spears. I looked across the fields and assumed that they had been untouched, uncultivated until the Romans arrived.

 

I assumed, too, that nobody had lived on the land before the present houses were built.

 

Then when I was reading The Making of the English Landscape I began to question this. The authors make a very good case for very early people moving about, making temporary settlements and marking out trails all across the country, it seems that most of the land was far from being untouched or changed by man.

 

So, I asked myself, why am I not aware of this, either no one lived here on my virgin land, or all trace of them has been lost. Archaeologists returned to dig under the Roman Villa at Gadebridge after second thoughts about indications of a much older building. Sometimes new farmhouses were built on the footprint of much older ones. The words 'New House' on Bryant's 1820 map suggest that there had been an 'old house' there before.

 

Then I realised that footings for New Town houses, ditches for services and the Link Road have probably been built right through the land I was considering. Maybe there were archaeological surveys carried out before these ploughed their own wide furrow up the fields.