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Alderbury & Whaddon

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Prehistory; 10,000 BC to 50 BC


In times of prehistory, once the ice began to withdraw, pine trees and oaks spread across the landscape and man began to settle in the countryside. Mesolithic, or  middle stone-age man (10,000-4,000 BC) began to inhabit the valleys, fishing in the rivers and hunting in the forests.


The river gravels are a rich source of archaeological finds and the few surviving prehistoric artifacts of significance to Alderbury and Whaddon have been found in gravel deposits. Most are shaped flint tools, celts and socketed bronze tools such as a sickle or chisel. These, however, are too few in number to permit any real analysis although they have been preserved and can be found in the various museums of the region. The only large Mesolithic site in Wiltshire was found at Downton below excavations of a Neolithic site (4,000-2,000 BC) at Castle Meadows, carried out in 1956.


Alderbury itself does, however, have some signs of early settlement. At The Lynchets, there is evidence of an enclosed settlement, probably from the late bronze age or early iron age. This is the earliest known settlement within the boundary of today’s parish.


The Romans: 50 BC to 450 AD


There are few traces of Roman artifacts being found within the boundaries of Alderbury and Whaddon. However, it is almost certain that there would have been strong Roman influence in the area, as Roman roads are to be found in many of the adjoining parishes and many of the surrounding towns were of major significance to the Roman occupation. For example, there was a major Roman presence at Rockbourne, only ten or so miles away and there is a well established Roman road passing near the adjoining villages of Pitton and Farley, on its way from Salisbury to Winchester. By 60 BC, the whole of southern England (with the exception of the area to the west of Exeter) was under Roman rule.


There have been a number of finds which indicate the presence of the Romans. These include sherds of Romano-British pottery found near Hole Farm and two brooches from the same period. There was also a corridor-type Roman villa to the east of the present parish boundary in Grimstead. It has been shown to comprise a well appointed farmhouse with hypocaust, three bath-houses and sundry outbuildings. It is considered by Sumner, who conducted the excavations, to be of higher standing than the better known remains at Rockbourne. Unfortunately, no visible traces now remain due to modern farming techniques, mainly ploughing. Excavated in 1914 and 1915, it revealed 59 coins from the period of Gallenius (Emperor 253-268) through to Valentinian I (Emperor 364-375). Only seven, however, were fourth century, suggesting a date for the villa of the second half of the third century. There was also what was possibly a Centurial stone. Artifacts found included a silver spoon, bronze ornaments, an iron stylus, fragments of glass vessels and various types of pottery, including Samian, New Forest ware and red rosette stamped ware. All of this points to a building of some importance and is a reflection of the Roman occupation in the area. In the following years, from about 300  onwards, the south of Britain was subject to intermittent raids by the Saxons. The Romans finally withdrew in 400 and by the year 442, the Saxons had become rulers.







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