The Thurlows

Village News & Information

Roman and Saxon Times

More important for the early settlers, however, must have been the river, fast flowing and clear, with easy crossing points providing an ideal place to settle. Neighbouring Little Bradley has been the subject of archaeological excavation and there is strong evidence of pre-historic settlement and two clearly defined Romano-British occupation areas. So it would not be unreasonable to suppose that this area too has been inhabited since then, although the only real evidence of early occupation in Thurlow came in 1890, recorded by the Antiquarian Society in Cambridge. Mr Wootten, of Great Thurlow, discovered a pit containing amongst other things, pottery shards, a coin and a small figurine, all dating from the Roman period. Professor Hughes, speaking to the Society on March 2nd 1891, discussed the network of Roman roads in the area including the Via Devana which stretched from Wandlebury through Linton to Horseheath. He suggested that the Romans followed the valley from Haverhill to the Thurlows and on towards Newmarket. When he tried to find out if there were other traces of a camp or villa in the village the only clue was the small channel that ran down the hill near to his discovery which was known as the ‘Castle Ditch’.

There is still visible evidence of moated sites, which were a feature of Saxon defence systems against marauding tribes. Several of the local farms have remnants of such moats (the Glebe, the Island, Wadgells and Sowley Green), providing us with further evidence of such continuous occupation.