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Universal British Directory, 1791

Bedford, Bedfordshire

Is the county-town, and gives title to his Grace the Duke of Bedford; it is also of great antiquity. The bridge, which is built of stone, over the river Ouse, is a particular vestige of antiquity, having been built out of the ruins of an ancient castle which stood in the North East, and which was pulled down in the reign of Henry the Third, having been rendered obnoxious to the royal party, in consequence of its having afforded a shelter to malcontent barons in the reign of his father, King John. Offa, King of the Mercians, is also buried here, in a small island, lying South East of the town, called Jermyn's Harbour. One of the lanes of this town now goes by his name, being called Offa-lane to this day. The town, which has five parish-churches, and four meeting-houses for Dissenters, consists of one long street, extending nearly a mile in length, from South to North, and several side-streets.

Bedford is larger and more populous than many cities in England. It sends two members to parliament, the present members are, William Colhoun, Esq. and Samuel Whitbread, jun. Esq. son of the late member. This place has few manufactures, except those of straw and bone-lace. The river Ouse is made navigable, and runs through the town, diving it in two parts.

It is a town-corporate, consisting of a mayor, aldermen, recorder, (the present his Grace the Duke of Bedford,) 2 bailiffs, 13 common-council men, and a town-clerk.

In the year 900, Edward the Elder caused that part of the town to be built which lies on the South side of the river, and called it Mikesgate.

The market on the North of the town is held on a Saturday, and is chiefly for all sorts of corn; that on the South side is held for the sale of cattle on Mondays. The annual fairs are, the first Tuesday in Lent, April 21, July 5, August 21, October 11, and December 19.

The adjacent soil being very fruitful in corn, especially barley, and the best wheat; the former is exported by its navigable river to Holland, by way of [vol. 2, page 320] Lynn, and the latter is carried by waggons 20 miles off to the markets of Hitchin and Hertford, where it is bought again, ground, and carried in the meal to London. Its river sometimes, after rain, makes such an inundation of the isle of Ely, that at such times it is common for the people there to say, "the bailiff of Bedford is coming."

The priory to the North West, now belonging to the Earl of Ashburnham, was founded before the Norman conquest for secular canons. In the year 1561, a free-school was built and endowed by Sir William Harper, a knight of the gilt spurs, and lord mayor of the city of London, whose effigy stands in a niche over the school door. The revenue which supports this school, and some other charities, amounts to more than 2000l. per annum, and is vested in the hands of the body corporate and joint trustees. However, the warden and fellows of New College, Oxford, are nominated as visitors, in the will of the founder; and two fellows from that learned society always fill the separate posts of master, and under-master, to the above-mentioned school.

The present magistrates are, Thomas Small, Esq. mayor, and William Theed, Esq. justices.

The post-office opens at nine o'clock in the morning, and shuts at five in the afternoon. The letters are brought in bags from St. Alban's.

The principal inns are, the Swan, Red Lion, and George.

The coaches, &c. from London to Bedford, set out from the under-mentioned inns, viz. a coach from the Cross Keys, St. John's-street, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, mornings, at six; White Hart, St. John's-street, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, at six. A diligence, from the White Hart, St. John's-street, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, mornings, at five. A waggon, from the White Hart, St. John's-street, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, at noon; and from the Windmill, Wednesday and Saturday at noon. — The following are the principal inhabitants:


Alderman George, Esq. (F.)
Birt Mrs.
Belsham Miss
Backhouse Mrs.
Blestoe Mrs.
Belsham William, Esq. (F.)
Beech Phillip, Esq. (F.)
Cressy Mrs.
Cockman Thomas, Esq.
Foster Mrs. sen.
Gisberne Mrs.
Hinde Mrs.
Jackson Mrs. Ann
Jackson Thomas, Esq.
King Benjamin, Esq. (F.)
Lipipre Mrs.
Lewis Mrs.
Livius George, Esq. (F.)
Langley William, Esq.
Mason Mrs.
Odell Mrs.
Palmer Benjamin, Esq. (F.)
Symonds Mrs.
Stone Thomas, Esq.
Sawell Richard, Esq.
Towersey Mrs.
Towersey Misses
Thongs Mrs.
Vaux Thomas, Esq. (F.)


Watkins Miss
Watkins Mrs.
Williamson James, Esq.


Abbot Rev. Mr. Curate and Lecturer
   of St. Mary's and St. Catherine's

Cave Rev. Mr. Curate of Tempsford
Crowe Rev. Mr. Curate of St. Paul's
Flemming Rev. Mr. (F.) Rector of

Fisher Rev. Mr. Curate of Kempston
Foster Rev. Mr. Moravian Minister
Gregory Rev. Mr. (F.) Rector of

Gadsby Rev. Mr. (F.) Vicar of
   Wootton, and Curate of Elstow

Hook Rev. Mr. (F.) Curate of St.
   Peter's and St. John's

Hornbuckle Rev. Mr. (F.) Vicar of

Hellyar Rev. Mr. Dissenting Minister
Marsh Rev. Mr. (F.)
Porter Rev. Mr. Moravian Minister
Parmenter Rev. Mr. Moravian Minister
Smith Rev. Mr. (F.) Dissenting

Whitehouse Rev. Mr. Curate of
   Houghton Conquest

Yarrell Rev. Mr. Moravian Minister


Campion Wm. Surgeon & Apothecary

[vol. 2, page321]


Dowset John, Apothecary
Gadsby Thomas, (F.) Surgeon and

Jackson Edward, (F.) Surgeon and

Palgreave Robert, Chymist & Druggist
Parker Dr. John, (F.) M. D.
Pully Anthony, (F.) Surgeon and

Pully Joseph, Surgeon & Apothecary


Blackwell John, (F.) Attorney
Gregory Dimie, (F.) Attorney
Kidman Thomas, Attorney
Lovesey Richard, (F.) Attorney
Pateman William, (F.) Town Clerk
Palmer Miles Rook, Attorney
Palmer Jeremy Fish, (F.) Clerk of
   the Peace

Pearse Theed, Attorney


Allen Thomas, Carpenter
Allen Elizabeth, Fellmonger
Arch Samuel, Victualler, (Bay & Oar)
Allison George, (F.) Proprietor of
   the Bedford Coach

Ashby Samuel, (F.) Farmer
Bass William, Carpenter
Biggs Thomas, Bricklayer
Bailley James, Proprietor of the
   Bedford and Sheffield Waggons

Barnes Thomas, Glover
Barnes John, sen. Victualler
Bradley James, Cutler
Brown John, Pipe-maker
Bright Samuel, (F.) Carpenter
Bradley Benjamin, Grocer
Bass Thomas, Plumber and Glazier
Busby John, Taylor
Bolney Samuel, Usher to
   Harpur's Charity School

Brazier John, Baker
Bradnock Thomas, Victualler, (Cock)
Baxter Jonathan, Victualler,
   (3 Fishes)

Brown William, Hosier
Brown Wm. Victualler, (Angel)
Barnard Joseph, (F.) Coal and

Bailley James, (F.) Linen and

Barker Thomas, (F.) Baker
Bright Thomas, Carpenter and Joiner
Berril Thomas, (F.) Mason
Button Mrs. Victualler, (Cross Keys)
Blackwell Mrs. Milliner


Butler Mrs. Victualler, (Peacock)
Brown William, Cheese-factor
Button Thomas, (F.) Butcher
Clare William, Keeper of the County Bridewell
Church Samuel, Baker
Castleman Robert, (F.) Bricklayer
Cockman William, Victualler
Cave John, (F.) Draper
Chapman Thomas. Victualler
Chapman Edward, sen. (F.) Currier
Coombes William, Lime-merchant
Carver Thomas, Baker
Cavit Ebenezer, Clock and Watch-maker
Coombes John, Cordwainer
Chapman William, Currier
Crochford Joshua, Corn-cutter
Coleman Thomas, (F.) Victualler
Chapman Edward, Clerk to the Trustees of the Harpur Charity
Castleman James, Victualler
Clements Robert, sen. (F.) Master of the Hospital
Costin John, (F.) Woolstapler
Colson Miss, Boarding-school-keeper
Cooch Edward, (F.) Maltster
Clark John, (F.) Carpenter
Corly John, (F.) Grocer
Dover Joseph, Victualler
Day Edmund, Victualler
Day John, (F.) Tanner
Drage James, (F.) Baker
Drew Charles, Stone-mason
Downman William, (F.) Carpenter & Joiner
Davis John, Victualler
Dickins George, Cordwainer
Davis Jeremiah, Butcher
Denis Mrs. Grocer
Dickins John, (F.) Grazier
Eagles Thomas, sen. Turner
Eavans Thomas, Baker
Eston Negus, (F.) Carpenter
Estwick James, Farmer
Emery John, (F.) Grocer and Tallow-chandler
Elger Isaac, Victualler
Ford Joseph, Victualler
Furnival Thomas, sen. Serjeant Major of the Bedfordshire Militia
Field Henry, (F.) Farmer
Field James, Gardener
Farnell Charles, (F.) Brazier, Appraiser, and Auctioneer
Field Thomas, (F.) Farmer
Furnival James, Victualler
Furness Richard, (F.) Peruke-maker
Fletcher Mrs. Victualler

[vol. 2, page 322]


Green Eleanor and Son, (F.) Coal
   and Raft-merchants

Green William, Dyer
Goodman Thomas, Victualler
Griffin Richard, Grocer and Laceman
Garner John, Innkeeper
Gilham William, Hatter
Gell Richard, Innkeeper
Harradine Isaac, (F.) Milk-man
Hine William, Victualler
How William, (F.) Shopkeeper
Hodgkins Tho. sen. (F.) Staymaker
Hensman Richard, Butcher
Hill William, (F.) Licensed to let
   Post Chaises and Horses

Hill John, Victualler
Howard John Moore, (F.) Keeper
   of the County Gaol

Hensman William, Staymaker
Hewlet Nathaniel, Carpenter
Hodgkins Thomas, Cooper
Harding John, Gingerbread-baker
Hensman Thomas, (F.) Stamp-office
Hodson Joseph, Victualler
How Spencer, (F.) Shoemaker
Ireland Joseph, Sexton of
   St. Mary's Parish

Impey Tho. (F.) Plumber & Glazier
Jordan John, Victualler
Jackson George, Master of the
   Harpur Free School

Jefferys Edward, (F.) Shopkeeper
Johnson Thomas Sumpter,
Jones Humphrey, Victualler
Jackson John, (F.) Hosier
Joseph Michael, Silversmith
Kenworthy John, Joiner
Kennings Henry, Collar-maker
Kilpin Elizabeth, Upholsterer, and
   Agent to the Phœnix Fire Office

Kilpin John, sen. (F.) Ironmonger
Kilpin John, jun. Appraiser and

Kimment Mark, Blacksmith
Kay William, Taylor and Habit-maker
King Mrs. Fishmonger
Layton Handscombe, (F.)
Lilburn John, Victualler
Lilly John, Ironmonger
Lovell John, Cordwainer
Langley John, Taylor & Habit-maker
Lovelidge John, (F.) School-master
   & Clerk of St. Paul's

Leach Richard, (F.) Ironmonger
Lloyde Mrs. Boarding-school
Law Abraham, (F.) Watch-maker
Meynard James, Wheelwright
Mingay John, (F.) Sadler


Meers Tho. Hair-dresser & Perfumer
Macdonald ——, Victualler
Mawbey John, Wine-vaults
Meynard John, Wheelwright
Munn Thomas, Weaver
Moll Mary, Victualler
Nash Peregrine, (F.) Common Brewer
Negus Ebenezer, Glover
Negus Samuel, Taylor
Negus William, (F.) Grocer
Negus William, jun. Common-cryer
Odell Tho. (F.) Farmer and Butcher
Okeley William, (F.) Tea-dealer
Pheasant John, (F.) Maltster
Peet Richard, (F.) Carpenter
Purton James, sen. Glover
Parsons Richard, Coachman
   from Bedford to Kettering

Purton James, jun. Glover
Purton Edward, Glover and

Peach John, Victualler
Patstons Abraham, (F.) Tin-man
   and Basket-maker

Purser John, Farmer
Purton Thomas, Glover
Palmer William, (F.) Peruke-maker
Parker Wm. (F.) Meal-man & Baker
Prior Stephen, Taylor
Page Miss, Victualler
Partridge Mrs. Draper, and Agent
   to the Royal Exchange
   Assurance Office

Partridge Susannah, Milliner
Pavier Thomas, Victualler
Palmer John, (F.) Maltster
Rayment William, Currier
Robinson Thomas, Taylor
Ruffhead Robert, Draper
Read John, (F.) Painter in general
Rush William, Grocer
Rush Thomas, Grocer
Robinson R. W. Grocer and

Shevington Robert, Baker
Simmons John, Victualler
Smith John, Butcher and Grazier
Smith William, (F.) Victualler
Sammons Robert, Cooper
Savage Ann and Son, Glovers
   and Breeches-makers

Sims William, Peruke-maker
Swepson William, Whitesmith
Shevington Mercer, Sexton of
   St. Paul's

Sergeant William, Taylor
Shelton John, Butcher
Savill John, (F.) Linen and

Stevens George, (F.) Grocer

[vol. 2, page 323]


Smith William, Draper
Smith Wm. (F.) Grazier and Butcher
Simons John, Carpenter
Smith Bartholomew, Gardener
Savage Charles, (F.) Bricklayer
Smith Thomas, Baker
Smith John, (F.) Corn-factor
Swepson Richard, Master of
   the Sunday Schools

Stimpson Richard, (F.) Laceman
Sheppard Thomas, (F.) Victualler
Small John, Grocer
Sharp William, (F.) Farmer
Smith William, (F.) Printer,
   Bookseller, Binder, and Stationer

Sharp George, Music-master
Slimm Mrs. Victualler
Spencer Mrs. Victualler
Small Thomas, (F.) Plumber &

Stewardson John, (F.) Blacksmith
Tall William, Hemp-dresser
Teedon William, (F.) Carpenter
   and Joiner

Thompson Philip, (F.) Butcher
Taylor Richard, (F.) Butcher
Taylor William, Basket-maker
Trap Simeon, (F.) Laceman
Trap Benjamin, Baker
Taylor John, Butcher
Taylor William, sen. (F.) Butcher
Thomas Mrs. Innkeeper &

Tucker William, (F.) Carpenter


Veal Elizabeth, Milliner
Wiles Samuel, Hair-dresser, &c.
Wagstaff Wm. Appraiser &

Webb Thomas, Organist
Woodward Thomas, Schoolmaster
White William, (F.) Victualler
Wing John, Marble and Stone-mason
Woodham Nathaniel, Cordwainer
Woodham John, Cordwainer
Woolston Charles, Cordwainer
Watkins William, (F.) Coal and

Woodroffe John, sen. Victualler
Whitehouse Joseph, Peruke-maker
Woodroffe John, Brazier
Woodroffe Wm. Eastwell, Staymaker
White Thomas, Carpenter and Joiner
West George, Hair-dresser &

Wells Edward, (F.) Baker & Mealman
Willis William, Peruke-maker
Whitehouse John, (F.) Gardener
Willis Joseph, sen. Farmer
Webb Charles, (F.) Draper
White Robert, Carpenter and Joiner
Woodroffe James, Carpenter
Watford Alexander, Surveyor
Webb Mrs. Draper
Warr ——, Pork-merchant
Waldeck Joseph Pierson, (F.) Mason
Whittingstall and Long, (F.)
   Common Brewers

York John, Victualler

Bedfordshire is one of the seven counties, which, they say, lie together, and have not one city among them; namely, Huntingdon, Bedford, Bucks, Berks, Hertford, Essex, and Suffolk. This county is remarkable for several curious and scarce plants; especially the woad, which, if it be good, is commonly worth 18l. per ton. The ancient Britons, by painting themselves with this plant, used to strike terror into their enemies; who, though not afraid of meeting men cased in complete armour, could not at first stand the shock of these naked barbarians; as was the case in the first invasion of this land by Cæsar.

Tempsford is noted for a camp, in which the Danes took up their winter-quarters when they mined the strong fort of Sandy, about four miles more Southward, by some supposed to have been built by the Romans, and the very Salinæ of Ptolemy. This is certain, that, in the grounds now occupied by gardeners, there have been many urns, and great numbers of Roman coins formerly dug up. Adjoining to Tempsford, on the East, is the little village of Everdon, noted for the birth of the learned and eminent John Tiptoft, earl of Worcester, and lord high constable of England under Edward IV. and of Sylvester de Everdon, bishop of Carlisle in the reign of Henry III.

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