The living is a rectory not in charge, in the archdeaconry of Bedford, and diocese of Lincoln, endowed with £200 private benefaction, and in the patronage of the Crown. The church, which, with some rooms having vaulted and groined stone roofs, forms the only remains of the ancient priory, is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul, and was originally a magnificent and extensive cruciform structure, with a tower rising from the intersection: Henry VIII. having abandoned his design of making it a cathedral, a considerable part of the edifice was demolished. The remains consist of the west front, nave, and two aisles each of the latter extends from the western doors to the entrance to what was once the choir, being about one hundred and twenty feet long: at the north-west angle is a tower embellished with a double row of niches, which formerly contained statues. The architecture combines some portions in the Norman, with others in the early and later English styles. The windows are of comparatively modern date; the eastern end terminates in a flat wall, the two arches adjoining which form the present choir: the roof is of finely carved oak in the decorated style, the beams being supported by figures representing angels : the western entrance is surmounted by an elegant stone rood-loft of four pointed arches and clustered columns. Over the communion-table is a painting of the Lord's Supper, by Sir James Thornhill. The ancient altar-cloth, (which is now in the possession of John Miller, Esq., of Bedford, or his representatives), is a fabric of the richest crimson and gold brocade, so exquisitely wrought, that it has hitherto been impossible to discover the mode in which it was manufactured; and, though upwards of three hundred years old, it still retains its original freshness and beauty. Amongst the various monume nts in the chinch are several to the Chew family, who were great benefactors to the town. On the eastern side of the church, stone coffins and various relics of antiquity have been dug up. There are two places of worship for Baptists, and one for Wesleyan Methodists.
[A Topographical Dictionary of England - Samuel Lewis - 1831] Henry I. in or subsequently to the year 1131, established here a priory of Black Canons, dedicated to St. Peter; after its surrender, c.1534, the greater part of the buildings were pulled down; and the site was granted, 1: Mary (1553), to Sir Leonard Chamberlayne. The portion still remaining consists of part of the nave and west front of the conventual church, and now forms the parish church of St. Peter, which consists of clerestoried nave and aisles, a length of about 120 feet, and an embattled tower with a bold octagonal turret rising above it at the north-west angle, and containing 8 bells: the exterior is chiefly Norman, and on each side of the nave are arcades of six circular arches: the oak roof is entirely new, and is finely carved with knots of flowers; the beams supported by figures of angels: the south aisle has been restored, with a groined Norman roof: the north aisle: is Perpendicular and was restored in 1876: the west end of the interior exhibits a beautiful stone screen of four arches of the Early English period, but the east end is a plain wall, possibly built when the other portions of the priory were demolished, the two eastern most arches on either side forming the present choir: the west front consists principally of two stages, flanked on the north by the staircase turret of the tower, which is supported by massive buttresses, relieved by Early English niches, once tiled with statues of which there are still some remains: on the south side is a smaller embattled turret, with buttres ses of equal size: the lower storey has a very fine Norman arch of four orders, with as many columns on either side, the mouldings being richly carved: the doorway itself is blocked, and filled with a smaller entrance of Perpendicular work, above which are three niches; the lesser or northern entrance, beneath the tower, is an elegant Early English arch, recessed in five orders; between these is another Early English arch enclosing a portion of a Norman arcading ; the next portion of the first stage is fil led, as far as the great Norman arch, with an Early English arcade, the arches of which retain pedestals: the second stage displays a lofty open arcade of the same period, leading to the tower, two of the openings over the great entrance being larger than the rest and rising to the parapet ; the unequal surface thus created is filled with a small blind arcading, and the whole is finished with battlements; the commingling of Norman and Early English work on this front is very remarkable, and the character o f the Norman ornament, though much mutilated, almost matchless: in the Lady Chapel of this church, Archbishop Cranmer, on May 23rd, 1533, publicly pronounced the divorcement of Queen Katherine: the plate and rich pulpit cloth were presented by two sisters in the year 1721: in the south wall of the nave is a flat arched recess, richly feathered, and enclosing the recumbent effigy of an ecclesiastic, fully vested, with the head resting on cushions and the hands together: a large slab in the nave contains bra ss effigies in shrouds, of Henry Fayrey, 1516, and Agnes his wife ; below is an inscription and figures of 9 children; parts of this, as well as the circular brasses at the angles are missing: there are other brasses to Lawrence Pygot, 1450, and Alice his wife ; John Peddar, 1463, and his wives Margaret, Matilda and Agnes; John Blunte, 1502, and his wife Elizabeth and 15 children; Richard Pynfold, 1516, and his wife Margaret, and 4 sons; Robert Alee, 1518, and his wife Elizabeth; Nicholas Purvey, 1521, and his wives Elizabeth and Alys, and children; Richard Fynche, 1640; Thomas Fynche, 1586; Elizabeth Fynch, 1607; and others, 1460 and 1520: the church was thoroughly restored during the year 1871, under the direction of a committee, at a total cost of £12,000; the south aisle was rebuilt, the whole of the nave walls repaired, and a new roof fixed, the interior renovated, and the open arcade of the west front renewed. The register dates from the year 1558. [Kelly's Directory - Bedfordshire - 1898]