Down the Aisle
Pumping Iron

Let’s go to Secklow

Secklow meeting mound

The Monday Photo
Right at the top of the highest hill in the area sat a meeting mound; right next to the spot where three parish boundaries came together.

This was the meeting mound for Secklow Hundred and It’s still there, behind the library at Central Milton Keynes. It's a low circular mound with a surrounding ditch. A few mature trees are on the mound.

A Hundred was notionally a hundred hides though in practise this varied quite a bit, and a hide in Anglo-Saxon times was the amount of land needed to support one family group.

The Secklow hundred wasn’t too different from the area now covered by the town (but now a city) of Milton Keynes; it covered quite a few parishes.

An archeological dig undertaken in 1976 and 1977 when the mound was threatened with destruction by the new town found Roman and Medieval pottery, suggesting it was constructed some time between the 4th and 13th Centuries.

What was it for? Every month the freemen of the Hundred would meet to discuss local issues and land management, and to make sure that common law justice was done. Freemen were one cut above the serfs, but below minor nobility.

Even in the middle of the 20th Century a lane led to the mound from Bradwell, turned sharply and went to Loughton. (there was another road between these villages that was far more direct)

A track from the moot mound joined the road between Great Linford and Woolstone, and from the mound footpaths led off in all directions.

To the East lay the parish of Woolstone cum Willen. But before Milton Keynes came, this area round the mound was known as Bradwell Common. All these names have since been used for estate names.

Secklow mound lay near the centre of an area five miles long and two miles or more wide, where there wasn’t a single village; you could travel almost due South from Great Linford and not come near another settlement until you reached the railway at Bletchley.

To find the mound, walk past either side of the CMK library and keep going until you reach the far end of the piece of parkland.

On the back edge is the moot mound, and there’s an information board with a charming illustration that reminds me of the Noggin the Nog children’s series.

I used a Sony A6000 and zoom lens for this photo.

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