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AMPTHILL: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1830.

[Transcribed information from Pigot's Gazetteer and Directory of Bedfordshire - 1830]

"AMPTHILL, a parish and a market-town (anciently spelled Antehal), in the hundred of Redbornestoke, 45 miles from London, 8 from Bedford, and 7 from Wohurn. The loon is cheerfully situated upon and between two gentle acclivities; the two principal streets are neat and regular, and many of the houses are good and substantiaL Near the middle of the town is an obelisk of Portland stone, in which Is a pump, presented to the inhabitants by the Earl of Upper Ossory ip 1785. Lord Holland is the possessor of the manorial rights, and holds occasionally courts leet in the moot hall, which is centrically situated, and where the sessions and assizes were formerly held. The trade of Ampthill is of a confined character, the only manufacturers being that of lace and straw plat, which are by no means extensive. The principal inn here is the White Hart, in Dunstable-street; this is the posting and commercial house, and most respectably conducted. Ampthill was constituted an honour by Henry VIII, but it does not appear to enjoy any peculiar privileges from such distinction, at the present day. The church is a respectable and ancient edifice in the Gothic style; the living is a rectory in the presentation of Lord Holland and the present possessor of the benefice is the P. Knapp, of Eton college. The baptists, the Wesleyan methodists, and the society of friends have each a meeting house here, and about a mile (from the town is an hospital or alms-house, very liberally endowed by Mr. John Cross in 1690, for seven pour men and six women; the Bishop of Lincoln and the Vice-chancellor of Oxford are the visiters. The chief object of attraction in this neighbourhood is the seat of the Right Hon. Lord Holland, delightfully situated about half a mile from the town; the site of which is sufficiently elevated to command a picturesque and extensive view of the fertile vale of Bedford. The park is celebrated for its interesting diversity of scenery, comprising hill and dale, with its extreme venerable oaks, clothed with rich and umbrageous foliage. Here was formerly a castle or palace, long since demolished, In which the Princess of Aragon, one of the unfortunate wives of Henry VIII, resided, during the time her unjust divorce was in agitation. Near where the palace stood is a Gothic cross, erected in 1774, by the late Lord Ossory, In commemoration of the woes of that injured princess. The market day is on Thursday, and is tolerably well supplied with corn and pigs: the fairs are May 5th and November 30th, for cattle, and 29th of September for hiring servants. The population of the parish and town of Ampthill, by the government census of 1821, was 1,527."

[Description(s) transcribed by Martin Edwards ©2003 and later edited by Colin Hinson ©2013]
[from Pigot's Gazetteer and Directory - Bedfordshire - 1830]