Puckeridge nestles in an area of natural beauty, 27 miles north of London, between the villages of Standon and Braughing both recorded in the Domesday Book. The earliest known settlement was founded by the Catavellauni, Celts from north-eastern France. The Celts began to arrive around 250 BC.
By 200 AD, rich from the proceeds of agriculture, they built a town at the northern end of the village identified as Ad Fines. This was a regional capital, the starting point for three major Celtic roads to Colchester, St Albans and Baldock – all important Celtic centres before the Romans took over. Ad Fines had a large temple dedicated to Minerva, at least two bath houses on the banks of the River Rib and survived until the end of the 5th Century AD.
The departure of the Romans caused the collapse of the grain trade. Commercially weak, the townspeople could not resist the Saxon invaders of 600 AD. The Saxons, typically, eschewed the ready-built township on the hill and built their rude settlements elsewhere, at Braughing and Standon. They referred to Ad Fines as the Devils Hill or in their tongue, “Puck’s Rigg”. Contributed by Tony Harris.