Biggleswade, Bedfordshire Family History Guide

Biggleswade is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Bedfordshire.

Other places in the parish include: Holme Stratton.

Parish church: St. Andrew

Parish registers begin: 1697

Nonconformists include: Baptist, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Independent/Congregational, Particular Baptist, Primitive Methodist, Society of Friends/Quaker, and Wesleyan Methodist.

Parishes adjacent to Biggleswade

Historical Descriptions of Biggleswade

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

BIGGLESWADE, a town, a parish, a subdistrict, a district, and a hundred, in Beds. The town stands in a fertile valley on the right bank of the river Ivel, adjacent to the Great Northern railway, 10½ miles ESE of Bedford, and 41 NNW of London. It was anciently called Bykleswade. It suffered destruction of 150 houses by fire in 1785; and it now contains many neat modern houses. The town hall is recent and handsome. The county courthouse also is recent. The parish church is early English, with late chancel; was originally collegiate; and contains some very interesting brasses. There are chapels for Independents, Baptists, and Methodists; a free school, with endowed income of £51; other charities, with £154; and a workhouse, erected at the cost of £4,850. The town has a head post office, a railway station with telegraph, a banking office, and three chief inns; and is a seat of petty sessions and a polling-place. A weekly market is held on Wednesday; and fairs on 14 Feb., Easter-Saturday, Whit-Monday, 2 Aug., and 8 Nov. A good trade exists in corn, timber, and coals, and is aided by the Ivel being navigable hence to the Ouse; and the manufacture of thread-lace and straw-plait is carried on. Some Roman relics, several armour-clad human skeletons, and about 300 gold coins of Henry VI. have been found in the neighbourhood. The environs are pleasant, and contain some handsome villas and mansions. Pop. of the town, 4,027. Houses, 838.

The parish includes also the hamlets of Holme and Stratton. Acres, 4,310. Real property, £14,741. Pop., 4,631. Houses, 920. The property is not much divided. At Stratton Park, about a mile SE of the town, the Cottonian Library was preserved, after being removed from Connington, in the time of the civil war. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Ely. Value, £347.Patron, the Bishop of Ely.-The subdistrict contains the parishes of Biggleswade, Edworth, Astwick, Stotfold, Arlsey, Henlow, Clifton, Langford, Warden, Southill, Campton, Meppershall, and Upper Stondon, and the extra-parochial tracts of Chicksands Priory and Shefford-Hardwick. Acres, 31,916. Pop., 16,113. Houses, 3,102. The district includes also the subdistrict of Potton, containing the parishes of Potton, Tempsford, Blunham, Northill, Sandy, Everton, Cockayne-Hatley, Wrestlingworth, Sutton, Eyworth, and Dunton. Acres of the district, 58,041. Poor-rates in 1866, £16,506. Pop. in 1861, 25,393. Houses, 5,021. Marriages in 1866, 180; births, 990, of which 90 were illegitimate; deaths, 641, of which 281 were at ages under 5 years, and 10 at ages above 85 years. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1,694; births, 9,007; deaths, 5,244. The places of worship in 1851 were 24 of the Church of England, with 8,674 sittings; 2 of Independents, with 506 s.; 10 of Baptists, with 3,504 s.; 11 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 2,565 s.; 1 of Primitive Methodists, with 110 s.; 1 of Latter Day Saints, with 140 s.; 1 of Roman Catholics, with 21 s.; and 2 undefined, with 350 s. The schools were 23 public day schools, with 1,753 scholars; 23 private day schools, with 448 s.; 34 Sunday schools, with 3,529 s.; and 6 evening schools for adults, with 168 s. The hundred contains only thirteen parishes and part of another. Acres, 27,672. Pop. 12,371. Houses, 2,488.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

Leonard's Gazetteer of England and Wales 1850

Biggleswade, on the Ivel, 45 m. N.E. London. P. 3807. Mkt., Wed.

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

A Topographical Dictionary of Great Britain and Ireland 1833

Biggleswade, co. Bedford.

London 43 m. NNW. Bedford 10½ m. ESE. Pop. 2778. M. D. Wed. Fairs, Feb. 14 ; Sat. in East. week ; Whit. Mon.; Aug. 2 ; and Nov. 8, for all kinds of cattle.

A market-town and parish in the hundred of the same name, situate on the high north road to York, and near the river Ivel, over which there is a stone bridge. The town is much benefited by its situation, as a great thoroughfare, and possesses excellent inns. It has a very modern appearance, owing to having been nearly all rebuilt since 1785, in consequence of a great fire which swept away 150 houses in the very centre of the place. Its immediate vicinity being particularly fertile, its corn market is deemed one of the largest in England, and its cattle fairs are almost equally celebrated. The Ivel having been rendered navigable to the Ouse, opens a water-carriage all the way to Lynn Regis, which is very convenient to the trade of this town. The living is a dis. vicarage, exempt from visitation; being a prebend of Lincoln cathedral; valued in K. B. 10l. ; ann. val. P. R. 60l.; patron, the Bishop of Lincoln. The church, ded. to St. Andrew, is a strong and ancient edifice, the date of the erection of which is 1230. It was formerly collegiate, and several stalls are still remaining. Here are two charity-schools, and other minor donations for the benefit of the poor inhabitants. There is little or no manufacture here, except that of thread-lace. The parish includes the two hamlets of Stratton and Holme, and the King is the lord of it. At Stratton, in the year 1770, was discovered a yellow earthen pot, with 300 gold coins of the reign of Henry VI.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of Great Britain and Ireland by John Gorton. The Irish and Welsh articles by G. N. Wright; Vol. II; London; Chapman and Hall, 186, Strand; 1833.


Biggleswade Kelly's Directory of Bedfordshire, 1914


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Biggleswade England and Wales Census, 1841 at FamilySearch
Biggleswade England and Wales Census, 1851 at FamilySearch
Biggleswade England and Wales Census, 1861 at FamilySearch


County: Bedfordshire
Civil Registration District: Biggleswade
Probate Court: Court of the Peculiar of Biggleswade
Diocese: Pre-1837 - Lincoln, Post-1836 - Ely
Rural Deanery: Pre-1852 - None, Post - 1851 - Shefford
Poor Law Union: Biggleswade
Hundred: Biggleswade
Province: Canterbury