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Bedfordshire
Bedfordshire within England
Geography
Status Ceremonial county
Origin Historic
Region East of England
Area
- Total
Ranked 41st
1,235 km2 (477 sq mi)
ISO 3166-2 GB-BDF
ONS code 09
NUTS 3 UKH22
Demography
Population
- Total (2008 est.)
- Density
Ranked 36th
602,500
488 /km2 (1,264/sq mi)
Ethnicity 86.3% White
8.3% S.Asian
2.9% Black.
Politics
No county council
Members of Parliament
Districts
Bedfordshire's unitary authorities
  1. Bedford
  2. Central Bedfordshire
  3. Luton

Bedfordshire (pronounced /ˈbɛdfərdʃər/ or /ˈbɛdfərdʃɪər/; abbreviated Beds.) is a ceremonial county of historic origin in England that forms part of the East of England region.

It borders Cambridgeshire to the North East, Northamptonshire to the North, Buckinghamshire (and the Borough of Milton Keynes) to the West and Hertfordshire to the South East.

The highest elevation point is 243 metres (797 ft) on Dunstable Downs in the Chilterns.

As part of a 2002 marketing campaign, the plant conservation charity Plantlife chose the Bee Orchid as the county flower.[1]

The traditional nickname for people from Bedfordshire is "Bedfordshire Bulldogs" or "Clangers", this last deriving from a local dish comprising a suet crust dumpling filled with meat or jam or both.

Contents

History

The first recorded use of the name was in 1011 as "Bedanfordscir", meaning the shire or county of Bedford, which itself means "Beda's ford" (river crossing).

Bedfordshire was historically divided into the nine hundreds: Barford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Flitt, Manshead, Redbournestoke, Stodden, Willey, Wixamtree, along with the liberty and borough of Bedford. There have been several minor changes to the county boundary; for example, in 1897 Kensworth and part of Caddington were transferred from Hertfordshire to Bedfordshire.

Geology, landscape and ecology

The southern end of the county is part of the chalk ridge known as the Chiltern Hills. The remainder is part of the broad drainage basin of the River Great Ouse and its tributaries.

Most of Bedfordshire's rocks are clays and sandstones from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, with some limestone. Local clay has been used for brick-making of Fletton style bricks in the Marston Vale.

Glacial erosion of chalk has left the hard flint nodules deposited as gravel – this has been commercially extracted in the past at pits which are now lakes, at Priory Country Park, Wyboston and Felmersham.

The Greensand Ridge is an escarpment across the county from near Leighton Buzzard to near Gamlingay in Cambridgeshire.

Climate

Bedfordshire is relatively dry being situated in the east of England. Average annual rainfall is 584.4mm at Bedford.[2] Rain falls more frequently than every other day in autumn and winter but falls are normally light, conversely spring and summer generally sees more dry days but heavier individual falls of rain, of note were the 1998 Easter floods.[3] In most years there is a spell lasting between 2 and 3 weeks in which no rain at all falls. Between November and April some snow can be expected from time to time but it is rarely heavy.

Average temperatures in Bedford range from a minimum of 0.6C overnight in February to 21.5C during the day in July and August. In the last 20 years the lowest temperature recorded was -9.5C and the highest 35.9C.[4] These temperatures are significantly higher than the temperatures recorded in previous winters, temperatures below -20C were recorded in the winter of 1947 in the county.

Politics

Local government

For local government purposes, Bedfordshire is divided into three unitary authorities: the boroughs of Bedford and Luton, and the District of Central Bedfordshire. Bedfordshire County Council was abolished on 1 April 2009, although the three districts continue to form a county for ceremonial functions such as lieutenancy and High Sheriff.[5] Many services in the county, such as education and public libraries, continue to be provided jointly by Central Bedfordshire and Bedford as if they were a single unitary authority.[6]

Emergency services

Policing, fire and rescue services continue to be provided on a county-wide basis, with the Bedfordshire Police Authority and Bedfordshire and Luton Combined Fire Authority consisting of members of the three councils.[7]

Parliamentary constituencies

For elections to the House of Commons, Bedfordshire is divided into six constituencies, each returning a single member of parliament:

The present constituencies date from 1997.[8] The boundaries will be slightly modified for the 2010 general election.[9]

Economy

This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Bedfordshire at current basic prices published (pp. 240–253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional Gross Value Added[10] Agriculture[11] Industry[12] Services[13]
1995 4,109 81 1,584 2,444
2000 4,716 53 1,296 3,367
2003 5,466 52 1,311 4,102

Moto Hospitality is based at Toddington service station. The Kier Group is based in Sandy. Whitbread is based in Dunstable.

Visitor attractions

Transport

Although not a major transport destination, Bedfordshire lies on many of the main transport routes which link London to the Midlands and Northern England.

Roads

Two of England's six main trunk roads pass through Bedfordshire:

To these was added in 1959 the M1 motorway, the London to Leeds motorway. This has three junctions around Luton, one serving Bedford and another serving Milton Keynes.

Former trunk roads, now Local Roads managed by the local highway authority include A428 running east-west through Bedford Borough, and A6 from Rushden to Luton.

Railways

Three of England's main lines pass through Bedfordshire:

There are rural services also running between Bedford and Bletchley along the Marston Vale Line.

Taxis

Bedfordshire is served by a large number of taxi companies. Luton is reported to have the highest number of taxicabs per head of population in the United Kingdom with a number of firms competing for work in the town and from London Luton Airport.

Waterways

The River Great Ouse links Bedfordshire to the Fenland waterways. As of 2004 there are plans by the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust to construct a canal linking the Great Ouse at Bedford to the Grand Union Canal at Milton Keynes, 23 km distant.[14]

Air

London Luton Airport has flights to many UK, Europe, North America and North African destinations, operated by low-cost airlines.

Settlements in Bedfordshire

Very large towns (population over 50,000)

Large settlements (population between 5,000 and 49,999)

Mid-size settlements (population between 1,000 and 4,999)

Small settlements (population under 1,000)

Education

The state education system for all of Bedfordshire used to be organised by Bedfordshire County Council. Unlike most of the United Kingdom, Bedfordshire County Council operated a three-tier education system arranged into lower, middle and upper schools, as recommended in the Plowden Report of 1967, although Luton continued to operate a two-tier system. The three-tier arrangement continues in the rest of the county, though in 2006 a vote was held with a view to moving to the two-tier model, but this was rejected[15]

After the 2009 structural changes to local government in England, Bedfordshire County Council was abolished, and its responsibilities for education were passed to Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council. Though Central Bedfordshire plans to continue with the three-tier model in its area, Bedford Borough Council voted in November 2009 to change to the two-tier model in its area.[16][17] The change will be introduced over a five year period and be completed in 2015 [18].

Bedford and Central Bedfordshire

Until the division into two unitary authorities in April 2009, education in the area continued to be administered by Bedfordshire County Council.

All of the two councils' upper schools offer 6th form courses (such as A Levels), though Bedford College, Dunstable College and Shuttleworth College also offer a range of further education courses. Additionally, Stella Mann College is a private college (based in Bedford), which offers a range of further education courses relating to the performing arts.[19][20]

There are a number of independent schools, many of which have links to the Harpur Trust.

Luton

Luton also operates a three-tier education system though Luton's organisation of infant, junior and high schools mirrors the traditional transfer age into secondary education of 11 years. However most of Luton's high schools do not offer 6th form education. Instead this is handled by Luton Sixth Form College, though Barnfield College also offers a range of further education courses.

Higher education

There are two universities based in the county - the University of Bedfordshire and Cranfield University. These institutions attract students from all over the UK and abroad, as well as from Bedfordshire.

Religious sites

Sports

Bedfordshire is home to Luton Town F.C. amongst other various sporting teams.

Notable people from Bedfordshire

Bibliographical references

  • Bedfordshire Magazine (quarterly)[21]
  • Elstow Moot Hall leaflets on John Bunyan and 17th century subjects[21]
  • Guide to the Bedfordshire Record Office 1957 with supplements.[21]
  • Guide to the Russell Estate Collections Published in 1966.[21]
  • Conisbe, L. R. (1962) A Bedfordshire Bibliography (supplement, 1967)[21]
  • Dony, John (1953) A Bedfordshire Flora. Luton: Corporation of Luton Museum & Art Gallery[21]
  • Dony, John (1942) A History of the Straw Hat Industry. Luton: Gibbs, Bamforth & Co.[21]
  • Freeman, Charles (1958) Pillow Lace in the East Midlands. Luton: Luton Museum and Art Gallery[21]
  • Godber, Joyce (1969) History of Bedfordshire 1066-1888[21]
  • White, H. O. Bedfordshire Historical Record Society (published annually)[21]

References

  1. ^ County flowers in Britain www.plantlife.org.uk
  2. ^ Met Office Bedford Averages 1971-2000 http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/averages/19712000/sites/bedford.html
  3. ^ Met Office: Easter 1998 - Heavy rainfall http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/interesting/easter1998/
  4. ^ CLIMATE BEDFORD - Weather http://www.tutiempo.net/en/Climate/BEDFORD/35600.htm
  5. ^ "The Bedfordshire (Structural Changes) Order 2008 (S.I 2008 No. 907)". Office of Public Sector Information. 27 March 2008. http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2008/uksi_20080907_en_1. Retrieved 2009-03-27.  
  6. ^ http://www.galaxy.bedfordshire.gov.uk/webingres/bedfordshire/vlib/0.beds_libraries/unitary_library.htm
  7. ^ "The Local Government (Structural Changes) (Areas and Membership of Public Bodies in Bedfordshire and Cheshire) Order 2009 (S.I 2009 No. 119)". Office of Public Sector Information. 28 January 2009. http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2009/uksi_20090119_en_1. Retrieved 2009-03-27.  
  8. ^ "The Parliamentary Constituencies (England) Order 1995". Office of Oublic Sector Information. 1995. http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si1995/Uksi_19951626_en_2.htm#end. Retrieved 2009-03-31.  
  9. ^ "The Parliamentary Constituencies (England) Order 2007". oofice of Public Sector Information. 2007. http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/uksi_20071681_en_2. Retrieved 2009-03-31.  
  10. ^ Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  11. ^ includes hunting and forestry
  12. ^ includes energy and construction
  13. ^ includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
  14. ^ Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust
  15. ^ "Two-tier school proposal rejected". BBC News. 2006-07-13. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/beds/bucks/herts/5173424.stm. Retrieved 2008-02-10.  
  16. ^ http://www.bedfordtoday.co.uk/bed-news/Middle-Schools-Abolished.5829267.jp
  17. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/beds/bucks/herts/8363976.stm
  18. ^ http://www.bedfordtoday.co.uk/news/Tiers-to-be-shed-in.5800585.jp
  19. ^ "Education in Bedford". Bedford Borough Council. 2004. http://www.bedford.gov.uk/Default.aspx/Web/EducationinBedford. Retrieved 2009-03-31.  
  20. ^ "Education and Schools Information". Creating Central Bedfordshire. Central Bedfordshire Council. http://www.centralbeds.gov.uk/Images/Education%20and%20Schools%20Facts%20and%20Figures_tcm5-27833.pdf. Retrieved 2009-03-31.  
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Detail from a copy of History of Bedfordshire published by Bedfordshire County Council in 1969

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Bedfordshire is a county in the middle of England, a little towards the south-east in the East Anglia region.

Map of Bedfordshire
Map of Bedfordshire
  • M1 and A1. It is readily accessible from London, Birmingham and elsewhere by these roadways.
  • Luton Airport, [1].
  • Thameslink
  • Midland Mainline
  • WAGN
  • London Midland

Get around

By car Bedfordshire has a good road network and every town and village is reasonably easily accessible by car. The A5, A6 and A1 trunk routes run through the county - the A5 in the west (for Dunstable and Woburn), the A6 in the centre (for Bedford, Luton, Ampthill and Flitwick) and the A1 in the east (for Sandy and Biggleswade)

By bus Bus services operate in all parts of the county, although they can be infrequent. Bedford operates a Park & Ride system.

Do

Woburn Abbey is set within 3,000 acres of beautiful gardens complete with a deer park and fabulous buildings and really is a must-see if you find yourself in Bedfordshire. The Abbey itself has been home to the Dukes of Bedford for more than 300 years and is now occupied by the 15th Duke and his family. There are many things to do at the Abbey: if the weather is nice maybe a picnic lunch in the stunning grounds watching some of the ten species of deer, or you can join one of the tours looking at the many paintings collected at the Abbey, including those by Gainsborough, Reynolds, Van Dyck and Cuyp. There is also a fabulous Tea Room where you can enjoy traditional afternoon tea in true English style and new for 2008 is the Woburn at War exhibition, which illustrates the impact of wars on Woburn Abbey.

Woburn Safari Park, Bedfordshire
Woburn Safari Park, Bedfordshire

Woburn Safari Park really offers an amazing safari adventure where you might least expect it! Drive around in your own car and experience the beauty of wild animals up close and personal … but watch out for those mischievous monkeys! Aside from seeing sea lions, birds of prey, elephants, giraffes, tigers, lynxes, penguins and snakes, to name but a few, you can also pre-book a special experience: VIP Tour with a Ranger, walk with elephants or breakfast with the carnivores, and there is also the Great Woburn Railway, Swan Boats and the Mammoth Play Ark to keep you and your family occupied.

Woburn Village [2] has more than 200 listed Georgian buildings as well as many antique shops, pubs, chic restaurants and a fabulous tea-room for the truly English experience! If you visit in early September you will have a fabulous time at their yearly Oyster Festival: food, drink, live music and street entertainers, as well as champagne and Oysters, make this a great day out for all the family.

Mead Open Farm is great for a family day out whether its rain or shine! There are plenty of animals to see from goats, sheep, cows, pigs, ducks and horses, both inside and outside. You can also watch a sheepdog demonstration, play crazy golf, race round on go-karts or head to Shaggy’s PlayWorld for a snack and tumble around the child-friendly activities. Or why not cuddle rabbits and guinea pigs, bottle-feed lambs, groom horses or go on a tractor ride at pre-arranged times. It really is a brilliant and varied day out for all the family.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is open all year round, apart from Christmas Day and is great if you want a more local, personal experience than ZSL London Zoo. One of Europe’s largest wildlife conservation parks, you will see the newly opened Cheetah Rock, meet the Lions of the Serengeti and watch the chimps swinging their stuff in their extensive indoor chimpnasium! There are also many unusual things to see such as beautiful African hunting dogs and reptiles, amphibians and fish.

Ampthill is a quaint Georgian market town, famous for its connections with Catherine of Aragon and John Bunyan's A Pilgrim's Progress. It has numerous antique, gift and coffee shops.

Eat

Ampthill

  • Donatello's, Dunstable Street - Pizza and Pasta
  • Fratelli's, Dunstable Street - Pizza and Pasta
  • The Dewdrop, Dunstable Street - Chinese takeaway and restaurant
  • Rajgate, Bedford Street - Indian Takeaway and restaurant
  • Earl's, Dunstable Street - Restaurant and Brasserie

Stay safe

The same general rules for the UK apply in Bedfordshire as well. It's a primarily rural county and crime is no higher than most places in the UK. However, everyone (not just tourists) should exercise caution, especially in the larger towns such as Bedford and Luton. Luton especially has a (largely undeserved) reputation for being a "rough" town - as with anywhere else, if you don't go looking for trouble you shouldn't find it.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

BEDFORDSHIRE [abbreviated Beds], a south midland county of England, bounded N. E. by Huntingdonshire, E. by Cambridgeshire, S.E. by Hertfordshire, W. by Buckinghamshire and N.W. by Northamptonshire. It is the fourth smallest English county, having an area of 466.4 sq. m. It lies principally in the middle part of the basin of the river Ouse, which, entering in the northwest, traverses the rich and beautiful Vale of Bedford with a serpentine course past the county town of Bedford to the northeastern corner near St Neots. North of it the land is undulating, but low; to the south, a well-wooded spur of the Chiltern Hills separates the Vale of Bedford from the flat open tributary valley of the Ivel. A small part of the main line of the Chilterns is included in the south of the county, the hills rising sharply from the lowland to bare heights exceeding 600 ft. above Dunstable. In this neighbourhood the county includes the headwaters of the Lea, and thus a small portion of it falls within the Thames basin. In the north a few streams are tributary to the Nene.

Table of contents

Geology

The general trend of the outcrops of the various formations is from south-west to north-east; the dip is south-easterly. In the northern portion of the county, the Middle Oolites are the most important, and of these, the Oxford Clay predominates over most of the low ground upon which Bedford is situated. At Ampthill a development of clay, the Ampthill clay, represents the Corallian limestones of neighbouring counties. The Cornbrash is represented by no more than about 2 ft. of limestone; but the Kellaways Rock is well exposed near Bedford; the sandy parts of this rock are frequently cemented to form hard masses called "doggers." The Great Ouse, from the point where it enters the county on the west, has carved through the Middle Oolites and exposed the Great Oolite as far as Bedford; their alternating limestones and clays may be seen in the quarries not far from the town. From Woburn through Ampthill to Potton a more elevated tract is formed by the Lower Greensand. These rocks are sandy throughout. At Leighton Buzzard they are dug on a large scale for various purposes. Beds of fuller's earth occur in this formation at Woburn. At Potton, phosphatized nodules may be obtained, and here a hard bed, the "Carstone," lies at the top of the formation. Above the Lower Greensand comes the Gault Clay, which lies in the broad vale south-east of the former and north-west of the Chalk hills. The Chalk rises up above the Gault and forms the high ground of Dunshill Moors and the Chiltern Hills. At the base of the Chalk is the Chalk Marl, above this is the Totternhoe Stone, which, on account of its great hardness, usually stands out as a well-marked feature. The Lower Chalk, which comes next in the upward succession, is capped in a similar manner by the hard Chalk Rock, as at Royston and elsewhere. The upper Chalk-with-Flints occurs near the south-eastern boundary. Patches of glacial boulder clay and gravel lie upon the older rocks over most of the area. Many interesting mammalian fossils, rhinoceros, mammoth, &c., with palaeolithic implements, have been found in the valley gravels of the river Ouse and its tributaries.

Industries

Agriculture is important, nearly nine-tenths of the total area being under cultivation. The chief crop is wheat, for which the soil in the Vale of Bedford is specially suited; while on the sandy loam of the Ivel valley, in the neighbourhood of Biggleswade, market-gardening is extensively carried on, the produce going principally to London, whither a considerable quantity of butter and other dairy-produce is also sent. The manufacture of agricultural machinery and implements employs a large number of hands at Bedford and Luton. Luton, however, is specially noted for the manufacture of straw hats. Strawplaiting was once extensively carried on in this neighbourhood by women and girls in their cottage homes, but has now almost entirely disappeared owing to the importation of Chinese and Japanese plaited straw. Another local industry in the county is the manufacture of pillow-lace. Many of the lace designs are French, as a number of French refugees settled in and near Cranfield. Mechlin and Maltese patterns are also copied.

Communications are provided in the east by the Great Northern main line, passing Biggleswade, and in the centre by that of the Midland railway, serving Ampthill and Bedford. The Bletchley and Cambridge branch of the London & North-Western railway crosses these main lines at Bedford and Sandy respectively. The main line of the same company serves Leighton Buzzard in the south-west, and there is a branch thence to Dunstable, which, with Luton, is also served by a branch of the Great Northern line. A branch of the Midland railway south from Bedford connects with the Great Northern line at Hitchin, and formerly afforded the Midland access to London over Great Northern metals.

Population and Administration

The area of the ancient county is 2 98,494 acres, with a population in 1891 of 161,704 and in 1901 of 171,240. The area of the administrative county is 302,947 acres. The municipal boroughs are Bedford (pop. 35,144), Dunstable (5157) and Luton (36,404). The other urban districts are - Ampthill (2,77), Biggleswade (5120), Kempston, connected with Bedford to the south-west (4729), and Leighton Buzzard (6331). Potton (2033), Shefford (874), and Woburn (1129) are lesser towns, and local centres of the agricultural trade. The county is the midland circuit, and assizes are held at Bedford. It has one court of quarter-sessions, and is divided into eight petty sessional divisions. The boroughs of Bedford, Dunstable and Luton have separate commissions of the peace, and Bedford has a separate court of quarter-sessions. There are 133 civil parishes. Bedfordshire forms an archdeaconry in the diocese of Ely, with 125 ecclesiastical parishes and parts of 6 others. The county has two parliamentary divisions, Northern (or Biggleswade), and Southern (or Luton), each returning one member; and Bedford is a parliamentary borough, returning one member. The principal institution, apart from those in the towns, is the great Three Counties asylum (for Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Huntingdonshire), in the south-east of the county near Arlesey.

History

Although the Saxon invaders were naturally attracted to Bedfordshire by its abundant water supply and facilities for agriculture, the remains of their settlements are few and scattered. They occur, with one exception, south of the Ouse, the most important being a cemetery at Kempston, where two systems - cremation and earth-burial - are found side by side. Early reference to Bedfordshire political history is scanty. In S71 Cuthwulf inflicted a severe defeat on the Britons at Bedford and took four towns. During the Heptarchy what is now the shire formed part of Mercia; by the treaty of Wedmore, however, it became Danish territory, but was recovered by King Edward (919-921). The first actual mention of the county comes in 1016 when King Canute laid waste to the whole shire. There was no organized resistance to the conqueror within Bedfordshire, though the Domesday survey reveals an almost complete substitution of Norman for English holders. In the civil war of Stephen's reign the county suffered severely; the great Roll of the Exchequer of 1165 proves the shire receipts had depreciated in value to two-thirds of the assessment for the Danegeld. Again the county was thrown into the barons' war when Bedford Castle, seized from the Beauchamps by Falkes de Breaute, one of the royal partisans, was the scene of three sieges before it was demolished by the king's orders in 1224. The peasants' revolt (1377-1381) was marked by less violence here than in neighbouring counties; the Annals of Dunstable make brief mention of a rising in that town and the demand for and granting of a charter. In 1638 ship-money was levied on Bedfordshire, and in the Civil War that followed, the county was one of the foremost in opposing the king. Clarendon observes that here Charles had no visible party or fixed quarter.

Bedfordshire is divided into nine hundreds, Barford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Flitt, Manshead, Redbornestoke, Stodden, Willey and Wiscamtree, and the liberty, half hundred or borough of Bedford. From the Domesday survey it appears that in the 11th century there were three additional half hundreds, viz. Stanburge, Buchelai and Weneslai, which had by the 14th century become parts of the hundreds of Manshead, Willey and Biggleswade respectively. Until 1574 one sheriff did duty for Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, the shire court of the former being held at Bedford. The jurisdiction of the hundred courts, excepting Flitt, remained in the king's possession. Flitt was parcel of the manor of Luton, and formed part of the marriage portion of Eleanor, sister of Henry III. and wife of William Marshall. The burgesses of Bedford and the prior of Dunstable claimed jurisdictional freedom in those two boroughs. The Hundred Rolls and the Placita de quo warranto show that important jurisdiction had accrued to the great over-lordships, such as those of Beauchamp, Wahull and Caynho, and to several religious houses, the prior of St John of Jerusalem claiming rights in more than fifty places in the county.

With regard to parliamentary representation, the first original writ which has been discovered was issued in 1290 when two members were returned for the county. In 1295 in addition to the county members, writs are found for two members to represent Bedford borough. Subsequently until modern times two county and two borough members were returned regularly.

Owing to its favourable situation Bedfordshire has always been a prominent agricultural rather than manufacturing county. From the 13th to the 15th century sheep farming flourished, Bedfordshire wool being in request and plentiful. Surviving records show that in assessments of wool to the king, Bedfordshire always provided its full quota. Tradition says that the straw-plait industry owes its introduction to James I., who transferred to Luton the colony of Lorraine plaiters whom Mary queen of Scots had settled in Scotland. Similarly the lace industry is associated with Catherine of Aragon, who, when trade was dull, burnt her lace and ordered new to be made. As late as the r9th century the lace makers kept "Cattern's Day" as the holiday of their craft. The Flemings, expelled by Alva's persecutions (1569), brought the manufacture of Flemish lace to Cranfield, whence it spread to surrounding districts. The revocation of the edict of Nantes, and consequent French immigration, gave further impetus to the industry. Defoe writing in 1724-1727 mentions the recent improvements in the Bedfordshire bone-lace manufacture. In 1794 further French refugees joined the Bedfordshire lace makers.

Woburn Abbey, belonging to the Russells since 1547, is the seat of the duke of Bedford, the greatest landowner in the county. The Burgoynes of Sutton, whose baronetcy dates from 1641, have been in Bedfordshire since the 15th century, whilst the Osborn family have owned Chicksands Priory since its purchase by Peter Osborn in 1576. Sir Phillip Monoux Payne represents the ancient Monoux family of Wootton. Other county families are the Crawleys of Stockwood near Luton, the Brandreths of Houghton Regis, and the Orlebars of Hinwick.

With the division of the Mercian diocese in 679 Bedfordshire fell naturally to the new see of Dorchester. It formed part of Lincoln diocese from 1075 until 1837, when it was finally transferred to Ely. In 1291 Bedfordshire was an archdeaconry including six rural deaneries, which remained practically unaltered until i 880, when they were increased to eleven with a new schedule of parishes.

Antiquities

The monastic remains in Bedfordshire include the fine fragment of the church of the Augustinian priory at Dunstable, serving as the parish church; the church (also imperfect) of Elstow near Bedford, which belonged to a Benedictine nunnery founded by Judith, niece of William the Conqueror; and portions of the Gilbertine Chicksands Priory and of a Cistercian foundation at Old Warden. In the parish churches, many of which are of great interest, the predominant styles are Decorated and Perpendicular. Work of pre-Conquest date, however, is found in the massive tower of Clapham church, near Bedford on the north, and in a door of Stevington church. Fine Norman and Early English work is seen at Dunstable and Elstow, and the later style is illustrated by the large cruciform churches at Leighton Buzzard and at Felmersham on the Ouse above Bedford. Among the Perpendicular additions to the church last named may be noted a very beautiful oaken roodscreen. To illustrate Decorated and Perpendicular the churches of Clifton and of Marston Moretaine, with its massive detached campanile, may be mentioned; and Cople church is a good specimen of fine Perpendicular work. The church of Cockayne Hatley, near Potton, is fitted with rich Flemish carved wood, mostly from the abbey of Alne near Charleroi, and dating from 1689, but brought here by a former rector early in the 19th century. In medieval domestic architecture the county is not rich. The mansion of Woburn Abbey dates from the middle of the 18th century.

Authorities

Victoria County History (London, 1904, &c.); Fishe, Collections, Historical, Genealogical and Topographical, for Bedfordshire (London, 1812-1816, and also 1812-1836); J. D. Parry, Select Illustrations of Bedfordshire (London, 1827); Bedfordshire Domesday Book (Bedford, 1881); Visitation of Bedford, 1566, 1582, and 1634, in Harleian Society's Publications, vol. xiv. (London, 1884); Genealogica Bedfordiensis, 1538, 1800 (London, 1890); and Illustrated Bedfordshire (Nottingham, 1895). See also Bedfordshire Notes and Queries, ed. F. A. Blades, and Transactions of the Bedfordshire Natural History and Field Club.


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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

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Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia

Proper noun

Singular
Bedfordshire

Plural
-

Bedfordshire

  1. A midland county of England, county town Bedford, bounded by Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.
  2. (British, slang) Bed.
    • 1993, Tom Wakefield, War Paint
      I'll be up to Bedfordshire if you two don't mind. I'm on early shift in the morning so I'll have to be up and out by five.
    • 1998, Mary Sheepshanks, A Price for Everything
      Now come along young lady, up to Bedfordshire.

Usage notes

The slang sense is used only for bed in its uncountable sense of a place to sleep, never to refer to an individual piece of furniture.


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Bedfordshire
Image:EnglandBedfordshire.png
Geography
Status Ceremonial & (smaller) Non-metropolitan county
Region East of England
Area
- Total
- Admin. council
- Admin. area
Ranked 41st
1,235 km² (476.8 sq mi)
Ranked 34th
1,192 km² (460.2 sq mi)

<tr><th>Admin HQ</th><td class="label">Bedford</td></tr><tr><th>ISO 3166-2</th><td>GB-BDF</td></tr>

ONS code 09
NUTS 3 UKH22
Demographics
Population
- Total (2006 est.)
- Density
- Admin. council
- Admin. pop.
Ranked 36th Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
590,700
478/km² (1,238/sq mi)
Ranked 31st Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
403,900
Ethnicity 86.3% White
8.3% S.Asian
2.9% Black.
Politics
Arms of Bedfordshire County Council
Bedfordshire County Council
http://www.bedfordshire.gov.uk/

<tr><th>Executive</th><td>Conservative </td></tr>

Members of Parliament
Districts
District map
  1. Bedford
  2. Mid Bedfordshire
  3. South Bedfordshire
  4. Luton (Unitary)

Bedfordshire (abbreviated Beds.) is a county in England that forms part of the East of England region.

Its county town is Bedford. It borders Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire (with the Borough of Milton Keynes) and Hertfordshire.

The highest elevation point is 243 metres (797 feet) on Dunstable Downs in the Chilterns.

The county motto is "Constant Be", which is taken from the hymn To Be A Pilgrim by John Bunyan.

As part of a 2002 marketing campaign, the plant conservation charity Plantlife chose the Bee Orchid as the county flower.[1]

The traditional nickname for people from Bedfordshire is "Bedfordshire Bulldogs" or "Clangers", this last deriving from a local dish comprising a suet crust dumpling filled with meat or jam or both.

Contents

History

Main article: History of Bedfordshire

The first recorded use of the name was in 1011 as "Bedanfordscir", meaning the shire or county of Bedford, which itself means "Beda's ford" (river crossing).

Bedfordshire was historically divided into the nine hundreds: Barford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Flitt, Manshead, Redbournestoke, Stodden, Willey, Wixamtree, along with the liberty and borough of Bedford.

Flag of Bedfordshire

There have been several minor changes to the county boundary; for example, in 1897 Kensworth and part of Caddington were transferred from Hertfordshire to Bedfordshire.

Luton was a county borough from 1964 until 1974, and it has been a unitary authority since 1997. However, it remains part of the ceremonial county of Bedfordshire, with a single Lord Lieutenant representing the sovereign throughout this entire area. Except where otherwise indicated, this article relates to the whole Ceremonial County of Bedfordshire, including Luton.

Geography and geology

The southern end of the county is part of the chalk ridge known as the Chiltern Hills. The remainder is part of the broad drainage basin of the River Great Ouse and its tributaries.

Most of Bedfordshire's rocks are clays and sandstones from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, with some limestone. Local clay has been used for brick-making of Fletton style bricks in the Marston Vale.

Glacial erosion of chalk has left the hard flint nodules deposited as gravel — this has been commercially extracted in the past at pits which are now lakes, at Priory Country Park, Wyboston and Felmersham.

The Greensand Ridge is an escarpment across the country from near Leighton Buzzard to near Gamlingay in Cambridgeshire.

Administration

Bedfordshire is a shire county, mostly under the control of Bedfordshire County Council. This is divided into three local government districts, Bedford Borough, Mid Bedfordshire District and South Bedfordshire District.

Additionally, Luton Borough is a unitary authority that forms part of the county for various functions such as Lord Lieutenant and High Sheriff, but does not come under county council control.

The Department for Communities and Local Government is considering reorganising Bedfordshire's administrative structure. Four proposals are being looked at:

  • To abolish the three districts within the county to create a Bedfordshire unitary authority. (Luton would remain a separate unitary authority.)
  • To create two unitary authorities: one based on the existing Bedford Borough, and one a combination of Mid Bedfordshire and South Bedfordshire Districts. (Luton would remain a separate unitary authority.)
  • To create two unitary authorities: one a combination of Bedford Borough and Mid Bedfordshire District, and one a combination of Luton Borough and South Bedfordshire District.
  • To form an "enhanced two-tier" authority, with the four local councils under the control of the county council, but with different responsibilities.

The changes are planned to be implemented no later than 1 April 2009.[2][3]

Economy

This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Bedfordshire at current basic prices published (pp.240-253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional Gross Value Added[4] Agriculture[5] Industry[6] Services[7]
1995 4,109 81 1,584 2,444
2000 4,716 53 1,296 3,367
2003 5,466 52 1,311 4,102

Moto Hospitality is based at Toddington service station. The Kier Group is based in Sandy. Whitbread is based in Dunstable.

Education

Bedfordshire has a comprehensive education system, with every school part of the upper/middle/lower three tier school system, with the upper schools all having a sixth-form and offering education from 13-18. There are 17 upper schools and 8 independent schools. Compared to many LEAs, it really wholeheartedly embraced the comprehensive ideal by effectively eliminating choice of schools in many towns. In many parts of Bedfordshire, everyone goes to the same middle school (ages 9-13) and upper school. In other parts of England, in individual towns, there is usually one school performing better (often much better) than another. The largest school population is the Bedford district, with Mid Bedfordshire the smallest, having only four upper schools. Overall, the results for GCSE are not as high as expected for a largely rural county. The national average for GCSE results of 5 grades A-C including English and Maths is 45.8%; every district in Bedfordshire is below this and the average for the county as a whole is 45.1%. The best performing school at GCSE is the Cedars Upper School and Community College in Linslade, closely followed by the Sharnbrook Upper School and Community College in Sharnbrook. At A level, the Sharnbrook Upper School gets the best results for state schools by some distance, followed by the Manshead Upper School (former Dunstable Grammar School) in south Dunstable. The best school overall at A level is independent Bedford High School, followed by Bedford School. Compared to other counties, the A level results are not excellent and under the England average, but much better than nearby Luton.

GCSE results by council district (%)

% of pupils with 5 grades A-C including English and Maths in 2006; compare this table to average house price by district.

  • Mid Bedfordshire 45.4
  • South Bedfordshire 45.1
  • Bedford 44.4
  • (Luton Unitary Authority 36.5)

Transport

Although not a major transport destination, Bedfordshire lies on many of the main transport routes which link London to the Midlands and Northern England.

Roads

Three of England's six main trunk roads pass through Bedfordshire:

To these were added in 1959 the M1 motorway London to Yorkshire motorway. This has three junctions around Luton, one serving Bedford and another serving Milton Keynes.

Railways

Again, three of England's main lines pass through Bedfordshire:

There are rural services also running between Bedford and Bletchley along the Marston Vale Line.

Taxis

Bedfordshire is served by a large number of taxi companies. Luton is reported to have the highest number of taxicabs per head of population in the United Kingdom[8] with a number of firms competing for work in the town and from London Luton Airport.

Waterways

The River Great Ouse links Bedfordshire to the Fenland waterways. As of 2004 there are plans to construct a canal linking the Great Ouse at Bedford to the Grand Union Canal at Milton Keynes, 23 km distant.[9]

Air

London Luton Airport has flights to many UK, European and North African destinations, operated by low-cost airlines.

Towns and villages

Main article: List of places in Bedfordshire

Places of interest

Key
Image:AP_Icon.PNG Abbey/Priory/Cathedral
Accessible open space Accessible open space
Amusement/Theme Park
Image:CL_icon.PNG Castle
Country Park Country Park
Image:EH icon.png English Heritage
Image:FC icon.png Forestry Commission
Heritage railway Heritage railway
Historic house Historic House
Museum (free)
Museum
Museums (free/not free)
National Trust National Trust
Zoo

List of notable Bedfordians

Bibliographic References

  • History of Bedfordshire 1066-1888 by Joyce Godber [10]
  • A Bedfordshire Bibliography by L R Conisbe published in 1962 with a supplement in 1967 [10]
  • Bedfordshire Historical Record Society by H O White (published annually). [10]
  • Guide to the Bedfordshire Record Office 1957 with supplements. [10]
  • Guide to the Russell Estate Collections Published in 1966. [10]
  • Elstow Moot Hall leaflets On John Bunyan and 17th Century Subjects [10]
  • A Bedfordshire Flora by John Dony [10]
  • Luton and the Hat Industry by John Dony [10]
  • Pillow Lace in the East Midlands by Charles Freeman [10]
  • Bedfordshire Magazine (Published Quarterley) [10]

References

  1. ^ County flowers in Britain www.plantlife.org.uk
  2. ^ Bedfordshire County Council - The proposal
  3. ^ Communities and Local Government - Proposals for future unitary structures: Stakeholder consultation
  4. ^ Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  5. ^ includes hunting and forestry
  6. ^ includes energy and construction
  7. ^ includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
  8. ^ "Luton South", UK Polling Report
  9. ^ Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Detail from a copy of History of Bedfordshire published by Bedfordshire County Council in 1969 with no ISBN

External links



www.bedford.org.uk

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Bedfordshire. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
Facts about BedfordshireRDF feed

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Simple English

Bedfordshire
Geography
Status Ceremonial & (smaller) Non-metropolitan county
Region East of England
Area
- Total
- Admin. council
- Admin. area
Ranked 41st

Ranked 34th

Admin HQBedford
ISO 3166-2GB-BDF
ONS code 09
NUTS 3 UKH22
Demography
Population
- Total (2005 est.)
- Density
- Admin. council
- Admin. pop.
Ranked 36th
582,600

Ranked 32nd
397,700
Ethnicity 86.3% White
8.3% S.Asian
2.9% Afro-Carib.
Politics
Bedfordshire County Council
http://www.bedfordshire.gov.uk/

ExecutiveConservative
Members of Parliament
  • Alistair Burt
  • Nadine Dorries
  • Patrick Hall
  • Kelvin Hopkins
  • Margaret Moran
  • Andrew Selous
Districts
  1. Bedford
  2. Mid Bedfordshire
  3. South Bedfordshire
  4. Luton (Unitary)

Bedfordshire is a county of England. Its county town is Bedford. It borders Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire (with the Borough of Milton Keynes) and Hertfordshire. The highest elevation point is 243 m (797 ft)[1] on Dunstable Downs in the Chilterns. The county motto is "Constant Be", which is taken from the hymn To Be A Pilgrim by John Bunyan.

References









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