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

Alternative names: Lutton

Other places in the parish include: Lightgrave, Biscot, Biscott, Christchurch, East Hyde, Leagrave, Leegrave, Limbury and Biscot, Limbury cum Biscot, St Mary, Stopsley, and West Hyde.

Status: Ancient Parish

Parish church:

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1603
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1602

Separate registers exist for East Hyde: parish registers begin: 1842

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

Table of Contents

Adjacent Parishes

Parish History

Luton

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

LUTON, a town, a township, a parish, a sub-district, and a district, in Beds. The town stands on the river Lea, and on the Hatfield and Leighton-Buzzard branch of the Great Northern railway, 2¼ miles SE of Icknield street, and 19 S by E of Bedford.

Its site is a valley, surrounded by hills. Its name is a corruption either of Leatown or of Lowtown. The ground on which it stands was given by Offa, king of Mercia, in the 8th century, to the abbey of St. Albans; belonged, at Domesday, to the Crown; went, in 1216, to Fulke de Brent, who built a castle on it; and passed to the Wenlocks.

The town acquired importance in the time of James I., by being made the seat of a straw-hat manufacture, which Mary, Queen of Scots, had introduced from France; it suffered a check to its prosperity, by the transference of that manufacture, in a considerable degree and for some time, to Dunstable; it eventually recovered its status as the largest seat of that manufacture in Great Britain; and it so throve upon it in the decade from 1851 till 1861 as then to increase its population, on account of it, nearly 50 per cent.

It consists chiefly of streets diverging from a central market-place; but has, of late years, been greatly extended. The plait-hall stands in Cheapside and Waller-street; and was built in 1869, at a cost of about £8,000. The corn-exchange is on the site of the old hall-hall; was built in 1869, at a cost of about £8,000; and is in the Venetian-Gothic style. The town hall stands at the junction of the Bedford and the Dunstable roads; and is a handsome edifice. The courthouse was built by the county; stands in Stuart-street; and includes some prison cells.

St. Mary’s church is partly decorated English, partly later English; comprises nave, aisles, transepts, and choir; has an embattled tower in chequer-work 90 feet high, surmounted at the corners by hexagonal turrets; includes, in the S transept, a lofty stone baptistry, with groined roof and pinnacles, standing over a famous baptismal font supported by five pillars, and said to have been presented by Queen Anne Boleyn; includes also, on the N side of the chancel, an elegant chapel, built prior to 1461 by Sir John Wenlock; and contains four richly ornamented sedilia, several royal armorial bearings, several arched altar-tombs, some very ancient brasses, and a number of handsome modern monuments and cenotaphs.

Christ Church was built in 1856; and was improved at a cost of £3,500 in 1865. The Independent chapel in King-street was built in 1866, at a cost of about £6,000; is in the pointed style, with a spire; contains about 1,200 sittings; and includes a basement-school, capable of accommodating 1,200 children. The Union Congregational chapel is in London-road. The Baptist chapel in Park-street was rebuilt in 1867; and that in Wellington-street is recent. The Ebenezer Baptist chapel is in Dumfries-street; the Ebenezer Calvinist chapel is in Hastings-street; and the Quakers’ chapel is in Castle-street. Two Wesleyan chapels are in Waller-street and Chapel-street; the one built in 1863, the other also recent; and one of them is a handsome edifice, cost upwards of £3,000, and contains about 1,700 sittings. A Primitive Methodist chapel is in Hightown.

There are a literary institution and news-rooms, a young women’s literary institute, a national school, a British school, a school endowment of £30 a year, almshouses with £43, other charities £74, and a workhouse. The town has a head post office, a railway station with telegraph, two banking offices, a county police station, a fire-brigade establishment, and four chief inns; is a seat of petty-sessions and county courts, and a polling-place; and publishes two weekly newspapers.

A weekly market for corn and straw-plait is held on Monday; a weekly market for provisions, on Saturday; fairs for cattle, on the third Monday of April and the third Monday of October; and a hiring-fair, on the Friday after the third Monday of September. The straw-hat and bonnet manufacture is carried on in large and handsome buildings, and exports its produce to all parts of the world. There is an iron-foundry. Pomfret, the poet, was a native. Real property, of the town, in 1860, £44,433; of which £554 were in the railway, and £526 in gas-works. Pop. in 1851,10,648; in 1861,15,329. Houses, 2,724.

The township is conterminate with the town. The parish contains also the hamlets of East Hyde, West Hyde, Stopsley, Leegrave, and Limbury-cum-Biscott. Acres, 15,750. Real property, £62,350. Pop. in 1851, 12,787; in 1861,17,821. Houses, 3,196. Summeries Tower, 1¾ mile ESE of the town, formed part of an ancient mansion of the Wenlocks, now all destroyed except the portico.

Luton Hoo, 1¾ mile SSE of the town, was built by the Earl of Bute, prime minister of George III.; was the seat of the late Marquis of Bute; had a splendid chapel of richly carved wood; suffered vast damage by fire, with total destruction of the chapel, in 1843; passed to John Shaw Leigh, Esq.; has been completely restored; and stands in a very fine park of 1,670 acres. Stockwood, 1 mile SSW of the town, is the seat of J. S. Crawley, Esq.

The parish is ecclesiastically cut into the sections of St. Mary, Christchurch, East Hyde, Stopsley, and Biscott. East Hyde was made a separate charge in 1859; Christchurch and Stopsley, in 1861; and Biscott, in 1866. Pop. of the Christchurch section, in 1861, 6,658. Houses, 1,150. The livings of St. Mary and Christchurch are vicarages in the diocese of Ely. Value of St. Mary, £1,350. Patron, the Rev. A. King. Value and patron of Christchurch, not reported. East Hyde and Stopsley are separately noticed.

The sub-district contains also the parishes of Sundon, Streatley, Barton-in-the-Clay, and Caddington, part of the last electorally in Herts. Acres, 26,967. Pop., 21,419. Houses, 3,967.

The district comprehends also the sub-district of Dunstable, containing the parishes of Dunstable, Honghton-Regis, Totternhoe, Whipsnade, Studham, and Kensworth, all the last and part of the preceding electorally in Herts. Acres of the district, 40,836. Poor rates in 1863, £13,206. Pop. in 1851, 25,087; in 1861, 30,712. Houses, 5,865. Marriages in 1863, 297; births, 1,144, of which 92 were illegitimate; deaths, 631, of which 282 were at ages under 5 years, and 6 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 2,213; births, 9,876; deaths, 5,662.

The places of worship, in 1851, were 12 of the Church of England, with 4,841 sittings; 13 of Baptists, with 3,956 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 220 s.; 18 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 4,705 s.; 2 of Primitive Methodists, with 530 s.; 3 undefined, with 1,142 s.; and 2 of Latter Day Saints, with 130 s. The schools were 13 public day schools, with 1,386 scholars; 50 private day schools, with 1,018 s.; 41 Sunday schools, with 5,688 s.; and 1 evening school for adults, with 31 s. The workhouse, at the census of 1861, had 150 inmates.

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

Luton, 31 m. N.W. London, on the river Lea. P. 7748. Mrkt. Mon.

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

Hyde (East and West)

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

HYDE (EAST), a village, a hamlet, and a chapelry in Luton parish, Beds. The village stands on the verge of the county, near New Millend r. station, 3 ½ miles SE of Luton The hamlet includes the Village, and is conjoint with West Hyde. Real property of East H. alone, £2, 819; of East H. and West H., £6, 651. Post town, Luton. Pop. of both, 869. Houses, 148.

The chapelry comprises portions of East H. and West H., with Chiltern-Green and Kinsman-Green; and was constituted in 1859. Pop., 419. Houses, 77. Lionel Ames, Esq. of Hyde, and John S. Leigh, Esq. of Luton-Hoo, are the chief landowners. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Ely. Value, £180. Patron, L. Ames, Esq. The church was built in 1840; and is a square edifice, with portico and two small towers.

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

Hyde (East and West), in Luton parish. P. 631.

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

Leagrave

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

LEE-GRAVE, or LIGHTGRAVE, a hamlet in Luton parish, Beds; 2½ miles NW of Luton. Acres, 1, 200. Real property, £1,600. Pop., 426. Houses, 87. The manor belongs to John S. Leigh, Esq.; but most of the property, to Sir John Filmer, Bart. Leegrave marsh here is the source of the river Lea. There is a Methodist chapel.

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

Leegrave, or Lightgrave, in Luton parish. P. 411

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

Limbury-cum-Biscott

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

LIMBURY-CUM-BISCOTT, a hamlet in Luton parish, Beds; 3 miles NW of Luton. Real property, £3,479. Pop., 355. Houses, 72. There is a Wesleyan chapel.

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

Limbury-cum-Biscott, in Luton par. P. 316.

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

Stopsley

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

STOPSLEY, a chapelry in Luton parish, Beds; 1¾ mile NNE of Luton r. station. It was constituted in 1861; and it has a post-office under Luton. Real property, £6,287. Pop., 842. Houses, 165. The manor belongs to J. S. Leigh, Esq. The living is a p. curacy in the diocese of Ely. Value, £203. Patron, Col. Sowerby. The church was built in 1861, and is in the early English style. There are a Methodist chapel and national schools.

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

Stopsley, in Luton parish. P. 563.

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

Bankrupts

Below is a list of people from Luton that were declared bankrupt between 1820 and 1843.

Austin Charles, Luton, Bedfordshire, banker, June 19, 1824.

Banner Francis, Luton, Bedfordshire, straw hat manufacturer, July 17, 1840.

Birley John Реart, Luton, Bedfordshire, painter and glazier, May 17, 1836.

Brett John, sen., Luton, Bedfordshire, dealer and chapman, Jan. 22, 1830. 

Brett John, jun., Luton, Bedfordshire, dealer and Chapman, Jan. 22, 1830.

Ellerd William, Luton, Bedfordshire, painter and glazier, Feb. 29, 1828.

Gregory Charles, Luton, Bedfordshire, maltster, Oct. 18, 1833.

Newman William, Luton, Bedfordshire, straw ­hat manufacturer, Oct. 3, 1828.

Pain Joseph, Luton, Bedfordshire, straw hat manufacturer, Oct. 3, 1828.

Tomalin Thomas, Luton, Bedfordshire. baker. July 24, 1835.

Waring Richard, Luton, Bedfordshire, grocer and ironmonger, May 24. 1839.

Waters William, Luton, Bedfordshire, baker, May 29, 1827.

Parish Records

FamilySearch

England, Bedfordshire, Luton – Business records and commerce ( 2 )
Luton and the hat industry
Author: Freeman, Charles, 1906-

Vauxhall Motors and the Luton economy, 1900-2002
Author: Holden, Len

England, Bedfordshire, Luton – Cemeteries ( 9 )
Luton general cemetery registers 1854 to 2003

Monumental inscriptions in Luton churchyard
Author: Matthews, A. Weight (Arthur Weight), 1865-1937

Monumental inscriptions in the parish of St. Mary’s Luton
Author: Matthews, A. Weight (Arthur Weight), 1865-1937; Bedfordshire Family History Society

The monumental inscriptions of Chapel Street Wesleyan Chapel, Luton, Bedfordshire
Author: Matthews, A. Weight (Arthur Weight), 1865-1937; Bedfordshire Family History Society

The monumental inscriptions of Park Street Baptist Chapel, Luton, Bedfordshire
Author: Matthews, A. Weight (Arthur Weight), 1865-1937; Bedfordshire Family History Society

The monumental inscriptions of the parish of St. Mary’s Parish Church, Luton, Bedfordshire
Author: Matthews, A. Weight (Arthur Weight), 1865-1937; Bedfordshire Family History Society

Monumental inscriptions, abt. 1750-1900

Quaker burial ground, Castle Street, Luton : removal of tombstones and human remains

St. Mary monumental inscriptions Luton, Bedfordshire, England, 1945

England, Bedfordshire, Luton – Census ( 1 )
Census returns for Luton, 1841-1891
Author: Great Britain. Census Office

England, Bedfordshire, Luton – Church history ( 3 )
People of the meeting house : tales of a church in Luton
Author: Fisher, J. S.

Saint Mary’s : Luton’s parish church
Author: Davison, William

The story of the parish church of St. Mary, Luton, Bedfordshire
Author: Davison, William

England, Bedfordshire, Luton – Church records ( 21 )
The accounts of the Guild of the Holy Trinity, Luton 1526/7-1546/7
Author: Tearle, Barbara; Bedfordshire Historical Record Society

Bishop’s transcripts for Luton, 1602-1852
Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Luton (Bedfordshire)

Bishop’s transcripts for Stopsley, 1861-1868
Author: Church of England. Chapelry of Stopsley (Bedfordshire)

Church records, 1775-1854
Author: Baptist Church (Luton, Bedfordshire)

Church records, 1803-1825
Author: Methodist Church (Luton)

Church records, 1803-1837
Author: Wesleyan Church (Luton, England)

Church records, 1839-1971
Author: Luton Circuit (Wesleyan Methodist)

Luton church, historical and descriptive
Author: Cobbe, Henry

Luton, Bedfordshire, England : v. 1 christenings, 1602-1759, births, 1653-1700, v. 2 marriages, 1602-1812, burials, 1602-1759
Author: Emmison, F. G. (Frederick George), 1907-

Parish registers for Biscott, 1866-1930
Author: Church of England. Chapelry of Biscott

Parish registers for Christ Church, Luton, 1860-1975
Author: Church of England. Christ Church (Luton)

Parish registers for East Hyde, 1842-1983
Author: Church of England. Parish Church of East Hyde (Bedfordshire)

Parish registers for St. Mary’s Church, Luton, 1603-1944
Author: Church of England. St. Mary’s Church (Luton, Bedfordshire)

Parish registers for St. Matthew’s Church, Luton, 1877-1963
Author: Church of England. St. Matthew’s Church (Luton, Bedfordshire)

Parish registers for St. Peter’s Church, Luton, 1913-1972
Author: Church of England. St. Peter’s Church (Luton, Bedfordshire)

Parish registers of Luton ..
Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Luton (Bedfordshire)

Parish registers of Luton, 1755-1812
Author: Bedfordshire County Record Office

Record of members, 1839-1849
Author: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. New Mill End Branch (Bedfordshire)

Record of members, 1844-1947
Author: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Luton Branch (Bedfordshire)

Record of members, ca. 1837-1858
Author: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Bedfordshire Conference

A roll of the Luton Unitarian Congregation
Author: Luton Unitarian Congregation

England, Bedfordshire, Luton – Church records – Indexes ( 7 )
Computer printout of Biscott, Beds., Eng

Computer printout of Luton, Baptist, Beds., Eng

Computer printout of Luton, Christ Church, Beds., Eng

Computer printout of Luton, St. Mary, Beds., Eng

Computer printout of Luton, St. Matthew, Beds., Eng

Computer printout of Luton, The Chapel Wesleyan, Beds., Eng

Parish register printouts of Luton, Bedford, England (Wesleyan) ; christenings, 1803-1837
Author: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Genealogical Department

England, Bedfordshire, Luton – History ( 10 )
Historical and topographical of Bedfordshire : containing Bedford, Ampthill, Houghton, Luton, and Chicksands
Author: Parry, I. D.

History all around : Luton and Dunstable
Author: Evans, Vivienne; Evans, Lewis; Roucoux, Omer

The history of Luton and its hamlets : being a history of the old parish and manor of Luton in Bedfordshire
Author: Austin, William

Luton past and present
Author: White, Harold

The story of High Town
Author: Dony, John G.

The story of Luton
Author: Dyer, James; Stygall, Frank; Dony, John G.

The story of Luton
Author: Dyer, James; Dony, John G.

The story of Luton
Author: Dyer, James; Stygall, Frank; Dony, John G.

A view from the alley
Author: Darby, Aubrey S.

Worthington George Smith and other studies
Author: Godber, Joyce; Bedfordshire Historical Record Society

England, Bedfordshire, Luton – History – 19th century ( 1 )
Strawopolis : Luton transformed 1840-1876
Author: Bunker, Stephen

England, Bedfordshire, Luton – Land and property ( 1 )
Papers of the Luton Hoo estate
Author: Bedfordshire Record Office

England, Bedfordshire, Luton – Manors – Court records ( 1 )
Court records, 1462-1939
Author: Manor of Luton. Court (Bedfordshire)

England, Bedfordshire, Luton – Newspapers ( 3 )
England, Bedfordshire, Luton : Family Notices, 1856-1914

England, Bedfordshire, Luton : Obituaries, 1856-1914

The Luton News directory of Luton : containing local information section, streets list, alphabetical list and a list of trades and professions in the borough of Luton

England, Bedfordshire, Luton – Obituaries ( 2 )
England, Bedfordshire, Luton : Family Notices, 1856-1914

England, Bedfordshire, Luton : Obituaries, 1856-1914

England, Bedfordshire, Luton – Occupations ( 1 )
Luton and the hat industry
Author: Freeman, Charles, 1906-

England, Bedfordshire, Luton – Poorhouses, poor law, etc. ( 2 )
Parish registers for St. Mary’s Church, Luton, 1603-1944
Author: Church of England. St. Mary’s Church (Luton, Bedfordshire)

Poor rate assessments and miscellaneous parish records, 1718-1837
Author: Shenley (Hertfordshire)

England, Bedfordshire, Luton – Schools ( 2 )
Admission registers, 1910-1933
Author: Beech Hill Boys’ School (Luton, Bedfordshire)

Log book, 1894-1934 and admission register, 1893-1948
Author: Hyde School (East and West Hyde, Bedfordshire)

England, Bedfordshire, Luton – Schools – History ( 1 )
A history of education in Luton
Author: Dony, John G.

England, Bedfordshire, Luton – Societies ( 1 )
The accounts of the Guild of the Holy Trinity, Luton 1526/7-1546/7
Author: Tearle, Barbara; Bedfordshire Historical Record Society

England, Bedfordshire, Luton – Taxation ( 2 )
Land tax assessments for Luton, 1797-1946
Author: Bedfordshire (England). County Council

Luton tithe apportionment, 1844
Author: Great Britain. Tithe Commission

Directories

Kelly’s Directory of the Wine and Spirit Trades, with which are included Brewers and Maltsters 1884

Marked thus * are Small Brewers who brew the beer they sell.

LUTON
Market day Monday

Brewers
Green John William Phoenix brewery Park st west
Sworder Thomas & Co Bedford Road brewery

Cooper
Foster Thomas Stuart st

Hotels
George, Frederick Jn Coleman
Midland, Mrs LM Holland
Queen’s, William Robt Baxter
Royal, C Swain

Soda Water Makers
Allen Walter Foundry lane
Hawkes Frederick 3 Oxford rd
Sworder Thomas & Co Bedford Road brewery

Wine & Spirit Merchants
Pearman & Son Castle st
Sworder Thomas & Co Bedford Road brewery

Source: The Post office directory of the brewers and maltsters [afterw.] Kelly’s directory of the wine and spirit trades, with which are included brewers and maltsters By Kelly’s directories, ltd. 1884

Maps

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Bing Maps UK Map OS maps
StreetMap Map OS maps
Vision of Britain historical maps Map OS maps
Ordnance Survey OS maps
Defra’s MAGIC service Map
National Library of Scotland OS maps
Old OS maps OS maps
Old-maps.co.uk OS plans
Where’s the Path? Map
SABRE Maps Map OS maps

Goad Fire Insurance Maps of Luton

The Goad 1895 series of fire insurance maps of Luton were originally produced to aid insurance companies in assessing fire risks. The building footprints, their use (commercial, residential, educational, etc.), the number of floors and the height of the building, as well as construction materials (and thus risk of burning) and special fire hazards (chemicals, kilns, ovens) were documented in order to estimate premiums. Names of individual businesses, property lines, and addresses were also often recorded. Together these maps provide a rich historical shapshot of the commercial activity and urban landscape of towns and cities at the time. The British Library holds a comprehensive collection of fire insurance plans produced by the London-based firm Charles E. Goad Ltd. dating back to 1885. These plans were made for most important towns and cities of the British Isles at the scales of 1:480 (1 inch to 40 feet), as well as many foreign towns at 1:600 (1 inch to 50 feet).

Administration

  • County: Bedfordshire
  • Civil Registration District: Luton
  • Probate Court: Court of the Archdeaconry of Bedford
  • Diocese: Pre-1837 – Lincoln, Post-1836 – Ely
  • Rural Deanery: Dunstable
  • Poor Law Union: Luton
  • Hundred: Flitt
  • Province: Canterbury

Related Parishes