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When the coprolites were first extracted in Henlow is unknown. The earliest evidence is 1878, many years after the industry had first started in Bedfordshire, at the neighbouring parish of Shillington. However, in his report to the bishop in 1873, the vicar, Rev. Wm. Holesgrove, informed him that, “Our Squire is dead and the property is to be sold and our parish is in a very unsettled state.” (Cambridge University Library Ely Diocesan Register C3/25) Whether the sale attracted a search for the lucrative coprolites that were being raised nearby is uncertain. In 1878 the major contractor in the area, John Bennet Lawes, sent  had his Hitchin surveyor, George Beaver, do some surveying of the coprolite diggings on Henlow Oldfield and Henlow Grange. (Diaries of G.Beaver, Hitchin Museum, p.117a.) This was confirmed in Chambers’ account of the village which stated that,


Curious nodules or lumps of stone known as coprolites of the greensand and Gault have been dug in great quantities between 1870 - 1880.”

 (Chambers.C.G., ‘Bedfordshire’,117, p.73)