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KEMPSTON: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1864.

[Transcribed information from Kelly's Directory of Bedfordshire - 1864]

"KEMPSTON, a parish and a large village, beautifully situated on the river Ouse, 3 miles south from Bedford, in the hundred of Redbornestoke, union, county court district, rural deanery and archdeaconry of Bedford, and diocese of Ely. The church of All Paints is a massive structure, standing near the bank of the river Ouse; it has tower, nave, aisles, and chancel ; the tower at the west end of the nave is of Norman architecture; there is a decorated buttress at the south-west angle; also a square-top doorway in the Norman entrance, of late insertion, with carved spandrels; the walls are about 3 feet in thickness: it has a good peal of 5 bells, the first of which has an inscription, showing it was made in the year 1603 ; on the third is inscribed, "Rychard Mumford and George Wheeler, churchwardens, 1619," and on the fifth, "Praise the Lord." On the south side the porch is supported by four decorated buttresses: the roof, which is stone, groined, was opened and cleaned in the year 1838 and an external staircase was built in the year 1837: in repairing the floor of the porch in 1840, there was discovered a monumental slab, bearing a remarkably formed cross, which is inserted in the north wall of the church, and 3 feet below the stone was discovered a skeleton, but no trace of any coffin: the chancel, with decorated window, was restored with stained glass, as a memorial to N. Fitzpatrick, Esq., M.D., his wife, and daughter; the family are interred in a vault by the north wall; the chancel was opened by the Rev. H. Clutterbuck, the late vicar, who placed some substantial and beautiful carved oak benches, ornamented with poppy heads, and a handsome bench was added on the south side by the curate, the Rev. John Foster; the pews in the aisles have been converted into open seats, and carved oak reading-desk and a perpendicular pulpit erected, the cost of which was defrayed by subscription : there is also a decorated font, supported by four shafts, the sides of which are covered with canopies, alternately surmounting figures, but from their mutilated condition it is impossible now to determine what they are ; there are no monumental remains of interest, except that to the "seaven sones" and ten daughters of William Carter, which was placed there by direction of his wife Marie, in 1605. The register dates from 1570. There are two panels still preserved in the vestry, with very ancient paintings of - 1st. God presenting Eve to Adam; 2nd. The Temptation; 3rd. God pronouncing the Curse; 4th. The Expulsion from Paradise: there were also several very ancient and interesting books, but one only now remains, the title of which is "A Book of Homeleys:" The living is a vicarage, value about £350 per annum, arising from 200 acres of glebe land, with £6 rent charge, in the gift of John D. Allcroft Esq., of London, and held by the Rev. Hamilton John Williams, LL.B., of St. John's College, Cambridge. Near Hoo House, the seat of Talbot Barnard, Esq., J.P., there has been found a very old spur which has been presented to the Archeological Society of Bedfordshire, with various Roman coins dug up in the parish; and there have been recently added to former discoveries in a field in the possession of H. Littledale, Esq., whilst digging for gravel, many indications of an extensive Saxon burial ground, including warlike weapons, as well as personal ornaments of various sorts. Near the village is Springfield House, a private establishment for both sexes suffering under mental disease; it is pleasantly situated in its own rounds of 18 acres. There are chapels for Baptists, Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists, also schools for boys, girls and infants. The population in I861 was 2,191; the area is about 5,000 acres, which lies in the manors of Talbot Barnard, Esq., and the Rev. Edmund Ryland Williamson, M.A."

[Description(s) transcribed by Martin Edwards ©2003 and later edited by Colin Hinson ©2013]
[from Kelly's Directory - Bedfordshire - 1864]