History of MK

For the uninitiated, the mention of Milton Keynes conjures images of large estates, roundabouts and concrete cows, alongside the assumption of very little heritage. In reality, nothing can be further from the truth, with a rich history, an abundance of open spaces and pockets of historic villages, market towns, woodlands and agricultural land. Let’s find out more:

PALAEOLITHIC 500000 – 10000 BC

  • Most of area covered with ice but with intermittent warmer periods
  • Flint hand-axes from this period found redeposited in river gravels

MESOLITHIC 10000 – 4000 BC

  • Mesolithic flints, including microliths and narrow blades found in the Great Ouse, Ouzel and Loughton Brook valleys

NEOLITHIC 4000 – 2200 BC

  • Large amounts of original tree cover removed
  • Settlement sites found at Stacey Bushes, Heelands and Secklow

BRONZE AGE 2500 – 700 BC

  • Remains of the dead often buried under barrows
  • Clusters of former barrows constructed close to the river at the northern end of Newport Pagnell parish, and at Tyringham
  •  Large circular timber round-house, one of the largest in Britain, built near Blue Bridge, Wolverton
  • A hoard of gold torcs was placed in a large pottery vessel and buried near Milton Keynes village

IRON AGE 800 BC – 43 AD

  • Hillfort enclosed by a single ditch was constructed in a prominent position above Wavendon with views to the west
  • Large area of land used for agriculture with small settlements of timber-built roundhouses
  • At Furzton the settlement had a predominantly cattle-based economy with large rectangular ditched enclosures and droveways

ROMAN 43 – 410 AD

43 Romans invade Britain. Watling Street constructed shortly afterwards

60 Revolt against the Romans by Queen Boudicca. After destroying Verulamium (St Albans) her forces marched northwards along Watling Street, through the Milton Keynes Area to her final battle somewhere between St Albans and Wall (Staffordshire)

Circa 75 Roman Fort constructed at Little Brickhill and town of Magiovinium developed.

Circa 100 Bancroft Roman Villa started

Circa 200 Bancroft Roman villa destroyed by fire

Circa 300 New villa built over the ruins of the old Bancroft villa

Circa 350 Bancroft Roman villa had an impressive walled garden with a stone-built fishpond. The fishpond and villa outline can be seen at North Loughton Valley Park.

SAXON 410 – 1066 AD

Circa 550 Anglo-Saxon Settlement at Pennylands

Circa 575 Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at London Road Newport Pagnell with high status burials and grave goods such as ornate glass vessels

879 Treaty of Wedmore. The River Ouse was part of the boundary separating the lands of King Alfred and Guthrum the Dane

Circa 950 Market established at Newport Pagnell

Circa 1000 Tower of the Church of St Michael, Lavendon built

1010 Danes attack Newport Pagnell

MEDIEVAL 1066 – 1485

Circa 1154 Benedictine Priory of St Mary founded at Bradwell

1199 Market established at Stony Stratford

1204 Market established at Fenny Stratford

1215 The castle at Castlethorpe attacked and taken by Fawkes de Breaute

Circa 1250 Windmill built at Great Linford. This was excavated in 1977 and is the earliest dated windmill in England

1290 The body of Queen Eleanor rests overnight at Stony Stratford on the route from Harby, Lincolnshire to Westminster. A cross was built on the site

1348 Black Death arrives and over the following decades kills nearly one third of the population

1483 The 11-year-old King Edward V was taken at Stony Stratford on the order of the Duke of Gloucester. He was later murdered at the Tower of London

TUDOR 1485 – 1603

1493 Guild of St Katherine and St Margaret established at Fenny Stratford

1524 Priory of St Mary, Bradwell suppressed

1587 Gayhurst House begun. In the early seventeenth century the Gunpowder plot conspirators met here

STUART 1603 – 1714

1643 The Parliamentary Army of the Earl of Essex spent 6 weeks at Great Brickhill. Royalist forces encircle Newport Pagnell with defences, a short section of which still survives in Bury Field. Newport Pagnell subsequently taken by the Parliamentarians. John Bunyan was a member of the Newport garrison for several years

1706 Hockcliffe to Two Mile Ash Turnpike constructed

1708 Little Brickhill badly damaged by fire

HANOVERIAN 1714 – 1837

1721 Chicheley Hall built for Sir John Chester to the designs of Francis Smith of Warwick

1742 Part of Stony Stratford destroyed by fire

1764 John Newton, former slave ship captain, made curate at Olney. A friend of the poet Cowper, he was later influential in the abolition of slavery

1767 William Cowper, poet and hymn writer, moves to Olney

1800 Grand Junction Canal (later the Grand Union Canal) opened

Circa 1803 Tyringham Hall, bridge and lodges built to the design of Sir John Soane

1810 Iron bridge constructed across the Lovat at Newport Pagnell to the designs of Henry Provis

1816 Bradwell Windmill built

1817 Newport Pagnell arm of the canal opened

VICTORIAN 1837 – 1901

1838 London and Birmingham Railway established works at Wolverton and Wolverton viaduct erected

1853 Joseph Hambling, dancing master at Stony Stratford, used by Charles Dickens as the model for Mr Turveydrop in ‘Bleak House’

1861 Dorothy Pattison was first School-mistress at the new Little Woolstone School. She left after 3 years and became an influential surgical nurse near Redcar. Affectionately known as ‘Sister Dora’ it is said that she accomplished as much for civil nursing as Florence Nightingale did for military nursing

1886 Herbert Akroyd Stuart invented an oil engine at Bletchley which was the forerunner of the modern diesel engine

TWENTIETH CENTURY 1901 – 2000

Circa 1920 Salmon’s manufacture the ‘NP’ car at Tickford Street, Newport Pagnell

1939 The Government Code and Cypher School took over Bletchley Park to work on intercepting and transcribing German military communications. This work was very influential in numerous operations in WWII

1952 The Town Development Act leads to Bletchley becoming an overspill town for London

1955 Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. operate from Tickford Street, Newport Pagnell

1959 M1 motorway opened

1967 Milton Keynes New town begun

1969 Open University created at Walton and construction starts on first ‘New Town’ flats in Simpson

1978 Liz Leyh’s concrete cows at North Loughton Valley Park opened to the public

1979 Peace Pagoda erected by Buddhist Monks and shopping building completed

1984 Campbell park opened

1985 ‘The Point’, Britain’s first multiscreen cinema opened

1988 Granby Mosque built

1991 Ecumenical Church of Christ the Cornerstone completed

1992 Woodhill Prison completed

1999 Milton Keynes Theatre opened

2000 Midsummer Place Shopping Centre Opens

TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY 2001 – 

2001 Xscape - Europe's largest indoor ski slope opens

2007 The City marks its 40th anniversary and the Stadium:MK opens

2008 The completion of the original plan for Milton Keynes

2015 Milton Keynes hosted three Rugby World Cup fixtures and was selected for the trial of autonomous cars

2017 The City marks its 50th anniversary and robot deliveries are tested in the city

Last Updated: 19 September 2018