3,000 years ago Stone Age then Bronze Age people lived in the area near to the source of the river Ivel. The East-West prehistoric trackway, now known as the Icknield Way, was then a more important line of communication rather than the North-South route.
The Romans straightened and paved the roads from Colchester and Verulamium which merged at Baldock to give a single road north to Sandy and Godmanchester where it joined Ermine Street (the major route from London to York).
The current town was established sometime between 1138 and 1148 by the Knights Templar who were given an area carved out of the manor of Weston. They laid out the four main streets with a wider area in two of them to act as a market place. The name “Baldock” is reputed to originate from “Baghdad” which had special significance to the crusaders.
The wide High Street contained other rows of smaller buildings in Medieval times. Their removal coincided with the arrival of the Turnpike in the 18th Century. The Great North Road ran along the High Street and helped spawn a large number of pubs and inns – sustained through the 20th Century by the strict licencing laws in neighbouring Letchworth.
In contrast to the wide High Street, the narrow roads and complex junction at it’s north end meant that until the A1 bypassed Baldock in the 1967 travellers spent rather more time in the town than they would wish.