Unearthing a piece of history
PUBLISHED: 12:51 20 April 2006 | UPDATED: 10:01 06 May 2010
A four hundredweight block of local history was unearthed at the weekend 66 years after it was buried to hide it from German eyes. The milestone outside Sutton had remained largely forgotten and hidden beneath the earth until the new owner of the field wa
A four hundredweight block of local history was unearthed at the weekend 66 years after it was buried to hide it from German eyes.
The milestone outside Sutton had remained largely forgotten and hidden beneath the earth until the new owner of the field was told about it by a man who watched it being hidden as a seven-year-old boy.
Peter Stonebridge, now 73, from Potton, watched with his sister Sylvia, now 77 and living in the US, as council workers tipped the great milestone into a trench.
He later sold the land and the houses on the site that had belonged to his father to local businessman Dick Sturman owner of Simplyoak, a furniture restoring company.
Mr Sturman is in the process of developing the land so when Mr Stonebridge told him about the milestone the search began to try and find it before it was lost forever under concrete.
Potton resident Steve Cutmore was recruited with his JCB digger and the excavation of the three-acre field began with Mr Stonebridge trying to remember where the stone was buried.
On the first sweep the digger found nothing so Mr Stonebridge went home only to get a phone call to say they had unearthed it on the spot where he had been standing.
"I remember watching it being buried," said Mr Stonebridge whose family ran a lorry and coach company for many years.
"They said it was to prevent German troops knowing where they were if they landed. Other milestones were removed and all returned to their rightful places in Sandy, Biggleswade, Potton and one at the John O'Gaunt Golf Club.
"The Sutton one had always been missing but I knew where it was all the time and when Dick asked me about it I told them where it was."
Mr Sturman said he is now asking the local council to see whether the stone can be returned to its rightful place at the side of the road.
"I have planning permission to build our new showrooms and restaurant on the field," he added.
"I decided we should try and find the stone and we found it. It was in good shape after so long in the ground.
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