Bedfordshire Parishes & Family History Guide

Historical Descriptions

Beeton’s British Gazetteer 1870

Bedford, an inland county of England, bounded on the N. and N.W. by Northamptonshire, on the E. by the counties of Huntingdon, Cambridge, and Hertford, and on the W. by the counties of Buckingham and Northampton. It is the smallest county in England, with the exception of Middlesex, Huntingdon, and Rutland. Desc. Generally level, or slightly undulating, except on the S., where it is crossed by the Chiltern Hills. The western and eastern parts of the county are, in many parts, sandy; the centre is flat, and three-fourths of the whole is judged to be alluvial soil. Limestone, coarse marble, and imperfect coal are obtained here; and a variety of fossils and petrifactions, particularly the Cornu Ammonis, and different shells, as also petrified wood. Rivers. The Ouse, lvel, Lea, and Ouzel. Manf. Confined almost exclusively to the plaiting of straw and making thread lace, in which nearly three-fourths of the female population are employed. Towns. Bedford, Leighton-Buzzard, Ampthill, Biggleswade, Woburn, Dunstable, and Luton. Ext. 36½ miles from N. to S., by 22½ from E. to W. Area, 295,582 acres. Pop. 135,287.
Source: Beeton’s British Gazetteer 1870. Ward, Lock & Tyler, Paternoster Row, London.

Leonard’s Gazetteer 1850

Bedfordshire is bounded, North by Huntingdonshire and Northamptonshire, East by hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire, South by
Buckinghamshire and hertfordshire, and West by Buckinghamshire. It is of an oval form, about 34 miles long and 19 broad. The area is 463 square miles, or 295,320 statute acres. Rivers, the Ouse, and the Ivel. This county is in the Province or Canterbury, in the Diocese or Lincoln, and in the Norfolk Circuit. — It is divided into nine hundreds; namely, Barford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Flitt, Manshead, Redbornstoke, Stodden, Willey, Wixamtree. There are 131 Parishes and Townships, and 10 Market Towns. population, 107,936.

Source: Leonard’s Gazetteer of England and Wales; Second Edition; C. W. Leonard, London; 1850

Read more about Bedfordshire

Index of Pages and Parishes





















Bedfordshire Hundreds

The Hundreds of Bedfordshire (plus the borough of Bedford) as of 1830. Author: Smb1001. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Bedfordshire Poor Law Unions

Bedfordshire was divided into six Poor Law Unions

  • Ampthill Poor Law Union
  • Bedford Poor Law Union
  • Biggleswade Poor Law Union
  • Leighton Buzzard Poor Law Union
  • Luton Poor Law Union
  • Woburn Poor Law Union

Woburn Union was dissolved in 1899 and the parishes transferred to the Leighton Buzzard and Ampthill Unions.

Some Bedfordshire parishes came under the St. Neots Union as follows:

  • Eaton Socon
  • Little Barford
  • Little Staughton
  • Pertenhall
  • Tilbrook
  • Dean
  • Shetton