Sunday, 1 May 2011

A Short History of Bedfordshire

As promised, here is a very quick potted history of Bedfordshire mainly concentrating on the county town of Bedford itself.

The county, as the name suggests is the surrounding area around  Bedford. It is believed the town’s name comes from a Saxon chief called Beda and a ford that crossed the River Great Ouse which flows through the town.

The River Great Ouse in Bedford, taken from the town bridge (image via Wikipedia)
Bedford was originally a small agricultural and market town, with wool being an important industry in the middle ages. From the mid 16th century, the town and surrounding area became one of the main centres of the English lace industry. This continued up until well into the 20th century along with brewing which also became a major town employer.

In 1660, John Bunyan was imprisoned at Bedford Gaol for 12 years. It was here where he wrote “The Pilgrims Progress.”
 Plaque commemorating Bunyan's imprisonment, to be found at the junction of Silver Street and Bedford High Street  (image by Rich Tea)

Bedfordshire is made up from a number of sizeable towns such as Bedford, Luton, Biggleswade, Dunstable, Leighton Buzzard, Arlesey, Ampthill, Sandy, to name but a few.

Places of interest within the county to visit include the likes of the RSPB headquarters at Sandy, Woburn Abbey and Safari Park, Whipsnade Wildlife Park, Luton Hoo, Dunstable Downs and the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway. More of these and others in future postings.....

I will return soon with more tales and images of my beautiful Bedfordshire. Until such a time..........

Uncle Tatty

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