A flaked flint knife found near Checkleywood Farm shows people have lived here as early as 4000 BC. A small decorated Bronze Age dish turned up in one of the pits. Close to the golf club are remnants of what may have been an Iron Age fort. Near Overend Green Farm, fragments of pottery, tiles, coins and traces of buildings were found, suggesting a Roman settlement served by Watling Street, now the A5
Heath & Reach is not named in the Domesday Book of 1086. The first record of Reach us dated 1216, and of Heath in 1220. They were seperate hamlets. Local iron smelting , based on ironstone and charcoal from the woods, dates back to this time.
In 1486 the hamplets had a three-field farming systme, common in middle England during the medieval period. The great fields, farmed communally, were called Middlefield, Northfield and Southfield.
Sand digging started commercially only in the late 18th century, through a field name 'Sand Close' from 1678 probably reflects earlier local digging. The 1841 cencus records two sand dealers, but most of the villagers were agricultural workers.
In 1801, Heath & Reach had a population of 541, and by 1901 it had risen to 1062. Today it has about 1380.
Heath and Reach Timeline
16th Century: Church tower dates from this century.
1728: Rushmere Manor built on the old Linslade Road .
1780: First recorded reference to the Red Lion Public House.
1822: Baptist Chapel built and opened on the 12th September
1825: Village made a separate ecclesiastical district, the Rev. Martin Bedson became the first Cleric.
1828: The church enlarged and the seating capacity increased from 140 to 250.
1846: The National School opened.
1869: Vicarage built and enlarged.
1873: The Pump House and Clock Tower built and opened on the 12th May, the building houses the pump above a well which for many years was the main source of water in the village. The cost of the clock was born by Baroness Burdett Coutts and Baroness de Rothschild, while the pump was by Mr. Branson in memory of William Abraham.
1877: Methodist Chapel built and replaced an earlier chapel constructed in 1822.
1966: Methodist Chapel renovated.
1987: The Tavistock Inn devastated by fire in April the roof and first floor completely destroyed.
1994: The old village school demolished in April and houses built on the site.
2002: The Red Lion Public House closes in February.