Little Horwood

Mesolithic and Neolithic flint tools are a fairly common find in the county, coming up on Slobbersditch Field and Fenton Field. There is place-name evidence in the form of Shucklow for a pre-Saxon barrow in the parish. Shucklow derives from the Saxon for “evil goblin’s barrow”, but the location and date of this mound is uncertain. Part of Norbury Camp, which is probably Iron Age, is in the parish and there have been finds of Early Iron Age pottery at Woodend.


There is a great deal of evidence for Roman occupation of the area, not surprising as three Roman roads are said to pass through the parish. Roman pottery has been found at Old Farm, Little Horwood Manor, Hawkthorns, Fernfield Farm, Tile House, Narbury and near the church. Groundwork for development at Woodend uncovered many sherds of Roman pottery, tile, brick fragments and two features, possibly both ditches.


Medieval earthworks at Warren FarmThere are historical records of Little Horwood’s medieval past, including charters for Whaddon Chase, a private medieval hunting park from the thirteenth century, and the hamlet of Shucklow, mentioned in a tenth century charter. This charter also records the boundaries of Little Horwood and specifically mentioned Whitman’s Grove as one boundary. There are also some indications from historic records that the field-name Fenton may indicate another medieval settlement. Another medieval hamlet that has since disappeared is that of Nod, which is recorded on a map of 1599 and earthworks can be seen on aerial photographs. Similar earthworks have been recorded on aerial photographs at Hill Farm, which date to the medieval or post-medieval period. A medieval or post-medieval moat, fishponds and house platform are known from field survey at Wood End Farm and a watermill is known from historic records. At Woodend medieval pottery and tile was found with the Roman artefacts mentioned above.


The oldest surviving building in the parish is the church of St Nicholas. The nave dates to the early thirteenth century, the south aisle and chancel were added in the fourteenth and the tower in the fifteenth centuries. A series of medieval wall paintings, each painted over the one before, were discovered on the north wall of the nave. They date from the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries. The Shoulder of Mutton and Appletree Cottage date back to the fifteenth century. Many of the other timber-framed listed buildings date to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, though there are also some eighteenth and nineteenth century houses.


The sixteenth century estate map of Salden marks some interesting features, such as Little Horwood bridge, on the approximate site of the modern bridge, a watermill at what is now the airfield and one, possibly two, windmills at Manor Farm, which are now low mounds.


Nineteenth century maps record the increased industrial nature of the parish, marking gravel and clay pits here and there, and brick kilns at Bacon House Farm. More field barns and smaller fields are also noted, that have disappeared under greater modern mechanisation of agriculture. The latest feature of archaeological interest recorded here is the airfield, which was a satellite airfield for Operational Training Unit 26 at RAF Wing in the Second World War.