A very large and important Anglo-Saxon cemetery was found in Kempston. The bulk of the finds were made in 1863 and 1864 although some were made in the 1850's and a few in 1884 and 1888. The majority were recorded by James Wyatt, the well known Bedford antiquary and the Rev. Samuel Edward Fitch MD, curate of All Saints Church.
The finds from the cemetery were exhibited to Bedfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society and written up by Fitch in an article for their journal. It included illustrations by Bradford Rudge, a well known local artist.
In a re-examination of the evidence from the site in 1986 it was suggested that the cemetery contained both male and female graves, some dating from the early part of the fifth century. "It is postulated that perhaps the beginnings of the Kempston cemetery represent the burial ground of detachments of German mercenaries, with their wives, whose task was to guard the ford which later became formalised as Bedford." ( Kennett, 1986,p5)
- Discovery of Saxon remains at Kempston by S. Fitch in Bedfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society Journal, 1864 (available in Bedford Central Library, local studies collection)
- Recent work on the Anglo-Saxon cemetery found at Kempston by David Kennett in South Midlands Archaeology Vol. 16 1986 (available in Bedford Central Library, local studies collection)
Anglo Saxon Cemetery, by Bedfordshire Libraries, 2005.
Page last updated: 30th January 2014