Facts about Baldock
Baldock is a historic market town in the local government district of North Hertfordshire in the ceremonial county of Hertfordshire, England, where the River Ivel rises. It lies 33 miles (53 km) north of London, 15 miles (24 km) southeast of Bedford, and 14 miles (23 km) north northwest of the county town of Hertford. Nearby towns include Royston to the northeast, Letchworth and Hitchin to the southwest and Stevenage to the south.
The earliest monument in the area is a narrow Cursus, probably from the middle Neolithic. At the beginning of the Iron Age, there was a hillfort at Arbury Banks, 5 km to the northeast of Baldock, that dominated the area. In the Late Iron Age, the local power base shifted from the hillfort to the vicinity of Baldock. The soil was easily farmed and transportation was more convenient. In the later part of the middle, Iron Age Baldock became the site of a large Oppidum, arguably the largest such site in Britain.
It is possible the Knights Templar used a name already in use, especially since the location was already a crossroads. Other etymologies have been suggested, including Middle English “balled” meaning bald together with Old English “ac” meaning oak; a conjectured Old English personal name “Bealdoc” meaning bold. In addition, the settlement was already thriving as a late-Saxon part of Weston and may have been identified by a large old tree near the Saxon graveyard or where the Templar church was built.