The Victoria history of the county of Bedford, England


The present work is the first attempt to compile a history of the county of Bedford from original sources. Although Bedfordshire, like most English counties, possesses a wealth of materials for local history, no systematic collection and arrangement of these materials has been undertaken hitherto. The work of some of the contributors has consequently been done under great difficulties.

The editors regret that it has been impossible to follow a strict chronological sequence in the present volume. The chapter on the Romano-British period will appear in a later volume.

It may be desirable to point out that in the chapter on the religious houses, descriptions and illustrations of the buildings have been purposely omitted. They more properly belong to the parish in which the houses were situate and will be dealt with there under the section on Topography.


Table of Contents

Dedication v
The Advisory Council of the Victoria History vii
General Advertisement vii
The Bedfordshire County Committee xiii
Contents xv
List of Illustrations xvii
Preface xix
Table of Abbreviations xx
Natural History

Geology 1
Palaeontology 33
Botany 37
Zoology 69
Mollusca (Snails, etc.) 69
Insecta (Insects)
Coleoptera (Beetles) 71
Lepidoptera (Butterflies) 78
Arachnida (Spiders) 88
Crustacea (Crabs, etc.) 91
Pisces (Fishes) 98
Reptilia (Reptiles) and Batrachia (Batrachians) 102
Aves (Birds) 104
Mammalia (Mammals) 138
Early Man 145
Anglo-Saxon Remains 175
Introduction to the Bedfordshire Domesday 191
Text of the Bedfordshire Domesday 221
Ancient Earthworks 267
Ecclesiastical History 309
Religious Houses
Index to the Bedfordshire Domesday 405


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Table of Contents

Dedication v
Contents ix
List of Illustrations and Maps xiii
Editorial Note xvii
Romano-British Bedfordshire 1
Political History 17
Social and Economic History 73

Table of Population, 1801-1901 111
Introduction 117
Straw Plait, Hat and Bonnet Industry 118
Pillow-Lace Making 122
Pavenham Rush-Matting and Wicker Basket Industries 124
Engineering Works 125
Agriculture 129
Forestry 143
Introduction 149
Bedford Grammar School 152
Modern School for Boys 177
Girls' Schools 177
Bedford County School, now Elstow School 177
Dunstable Schools 178
Biggleswade Free School 179
Houghton Conquest School 180
Luton School 180
Public Elementary Schools 181
Sport Ancient and Modern
Hunting 187
Foxhounds 187
The Oakley Hunt 187
Harriers and Beagles 190
Racing 190
Flat Racing 190
Steeplechasing 194
Polo 195
Shooting 195
Sport Ancient and Modern (continued)
Golf 198
Cricket 199
Football 200
Aquatics 200
Biggleswade Hundred
Introduction 201
Astwick 203
Little Barford 206
Biggleswade with Stratton and Holme 209
Cockayne Hatley 215
Dunton with Millo 218
Edworth 223
Everton 226
Eyworth 230
Langford 234
Potton 237
Sandy with Girtford 242
Sutton 246
Tempsford 251
Wrestlingworth 255
Clifton Hundred
Introduction 260
Arlesey 261
Campton cum Shefford and Chicksands 266
Clifton 276
Henlow 280
Holwell 286
Meppershall 288
Shillington with Lower Stondon and Little Holwell 293
Stotfold 300
Upper Stondon 304
Flitt Hundred
Introduction 306
Barton in the Clay 308
Topography (continued)
Flitt Hundred (continued)
Caddington 314
Clophill 320
Flitton cum Silsoe 325
Upper Gravenhurst 333
Lower Gravenhurst 336
Hawnes or Haynes 338
Higham Gobion 344
Luton with East and West Hyde, Stopsley, Limbury cum Biscott, and Leagrave 348
Pulloxhlll 376
Streatley with Sharpenhoe 381
Sundon 384


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The history of each county will be complete in itself, and its story will be told from the earliest times, commencing with the natural features and the flora and fauna. Thereafter will follow the antiquities, pre-Roman, Roman and post-Roman; a new translation and critical study of the Domesday Survey; articles on political, ecclesiastical, social and economic history; architecture, arts, industries, biography, folk-lore and sport. The greater part of each history will be devoted to a detailed description and history of each parish, containing an account of the land and its owners from the Conquest to the present day. These manorial histories will be compiled from original documents in the national collections and from private papers. A special feature will be the wealth of illustrations afforded, for not only will all buildings of interest be pictured, but the coats of arms of past and present landowners will be given.