There is something which wont go away in terms of the enduring concerns over the implementation of this piece of costly infrastructure, particularly from a rural perspective. This story tells us……

Five hundred years ago, the English village of Doddershall was destroyed when Thomas Pigott, the rags to riches Lord of the Manor, evicted the tenants, pulled down their houses and turned the land over to sheep farming. The locals “went tearfully away and were brought to idleness, ending their lives in extreme poverty”, as Cardinal Wolsey noted. Now, present day locals are wrought up as the remains of the village in Buckinghamshire could be completely lost with the construction of the HS2 railway line.

The high-speed train is due to dissect the country, cutting down travel time for the modern commuter, but in the process tearing through 1,000 years of history. The earthwork remains of Doddershall are considered to be “a heritage asset of high value as an extant example of medieval settlement,” according to an Environment Statement Cultural Heritage report.

The Bucks Archaeological Society, supported by the local community, has written to HS2 Limited, appealing for a full archaeological survey and excavation of the remains of the village that was recorded in the Domesday Book in 1085.

While the Government yesterday designated a handful of medieval villages in Northamptonshire as “scheduled monuments”, meaning they will be protected from development, Doddershall over the border wasn’t so lucky. And neither were many other villages across the country that are under threat more than ever because of modern life.

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