[Transcribed and edited information from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868]
"SILSOE, a parish and post town, but until recently a hamlet in the parish of Flitton, hundred of Flitt, county Bedford, 4 miles south east of Ampthill, 10 S.E. of Bedford, and 40 from London. The village, which had formerly a market, granted to the inhabitants by charter bearing date 1319, is situated on a branch of the river Ivel. The inhabitants are chiefly engaged in agriculture. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Ely, value £150. The church, dedicated to St. James, was rebuilt in 1830, at the expense of Earl de Grey, who endowed it with an annuity of £150. There is a school for both sexes maintained by the Countess de Grey. Wrest Park, the principal residence, was a seat of the late Duke of Kent."
"WEST END, a hamlet in the parish of Silsoe, county Bedford, adjoining Silsoe which is to the north east."
"WREST PARK, a single house in the parish of Silsoe, county Bedford, ¾ mile east of Silsoe. The present house was built in 1834-39, to designs by its owner the Thomas de Grey, 2nd Earl de Grey. Wrest Park Gardens, one of the grandest English gardens of the early eighteenth century, are spread over 150 acres to the south of the house."
The church of St. James is an edifice of local red sandstone, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles and an embattled tower containing 3 bells: the east window is stained: the church was rebuilt in 1831, at a cost of £5,000, of which £4,000 was given by the late Earl de Grey, who also endowed the living with £150 yearly: considerable additions and alterations were made in 1884 and the church entirely refloored and reseated: towards the cost of these repairs £400 was contributed by Earl Cowper, and £100 by the Misses Delme-Radcliffe, the remainder being raised by general subscription. The separate register dates from the year 1846 only; the earlier entries are included in the registers of Flitton. [Kelly's Directory - Bedfordshire - 1898]
A cattle fair is held here on May 13th. Wrest Park, the seat of Earl Cowper K.G., P.C., J.P. lord lieutenant of the county, is a finely timbered domain, stocked with deer, which range over nearly 500 acres of good pasture land: the stately mansion, erected by the late Earl de (Grey, is in the Italian style, and is surrounded by pleasure grounds with ornamental waters, of 100 acres, which were originally laid out by Lancelot (better known as "Capability") Brown, under the Duke of Kent, and have from time to time been added to and improved; at Cain Hill, adjoining the park, there is a column, erected by Amabel, Countess de Grey, in 1831, on the site originally occupied by the Hill House; at Flitton, the mother church, about a mile to the north-west, is the mausoleum of the de Grey family. Earl Cowper K.G., P.C. is lord of the manor and sole landowner. [Extracts from Kelly's Directory - Bedfordshire - 1898]
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