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SHARPENHOE, BEDS.

 

When the coprolite was first discovered in this area is uncertain but the diggings had spread southwestwards from the Shillington area through Higham Gobion in the 1870s. There were records of workings in Barton-le-Clay at that time but it was the geological account of the area in the early 1880s that revealed there had been workings in this parish.

 

When followed eastwards the upper gault is found to diminish in thickness so that the basement nodule bed is gradually brought nearer to the chalk. A nodule bed surmounted by light grey marly clay was seen in a shallow excavation by the roadside northwest of Grange Mill near Sharpenhoe. The same bed outcrops on the surface Northwest of Great Faldo Farm and has been found by trial borings about 18 feet below the the surface of the ground near Brook End and not far from the outcrop at the base of the Chalk Marl, which bed was formerly worked for coprolites in this place. "

(Pennings and Jukes-Brown, Cretaceous Rocks of Great Britain,Mem.Geol.Surv.1881,p286)

 

Unfortunately there was no indication as to who was responsible for the operation, whether a local landowner had allowed the tenant to have then raised or whether a contractor was allowed to work them. The subsequent mapping of the local geology by A.C. Cameron located the extent of the workings running northwest to southeast about half a mile to the northeast of the village. (1 gelogical map 46NE 1886; I.ODell, A Vanished Industry, Beds Mag.1951)