[Transcribed and edited information from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868]
"WILLINGTON, a parish in the hundred of Wixamtree, county Beds, 4 miles east of Bedford. The village is situated on the south bank of the navigable river Ouse. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Ely, value £200. The church, dedicated to St. Lawrence, contains monuments of the Gostwicke family."
The church of St. Laurence is a most interesting building of stone in the Early Perpendicular style, with embattled parapets to the nave and aisle, and consists of chancel, nave, south aisle, extending to the whole length of the nave and chancel, north porch and an embattled western tower containing 5 bells, now (1898) being recast, and a sixth added at the cost of the Rev. A. Orlebar; in the church are memorials, including some altar-tombs, to the Gostwick family, the earliest of which is a brass to Robert Gostwick esq. 1315; the others comprise a fine canopied altar-tomb of marble, with recumbent effigy, and inscribed to Sir William Gostwick, bart. 1615, and Jane (Owen), his wife, with eleven children; there is also a 13th century stone coffin lid, and on the south side of the chancel is a tomb, with kneeling effigies and figures of children, to Sir, Edward Gostwick kt. and bart. with a chronogrammatic inscription to himself, 1630, and his wife, 1633: there are also inscribed slabs to Lady Mary Gostwick, daughter of Sir Willliam Lytton, of Knebworth, Herts, 1656; and to John Gostwick esq. who appears from the inscription to have built or rebuilt some part of the church in 1541; suspended from the wall of the north aisle is an ancient tabard, and two helmets said to have been worn at the "Field of the Cloth of Gold" in 1520 : in the church is a black letter bible, printed in 1611: a piscina and the steps to the rood loft remain in a good state of preservation; the reredos and altar panels were wrought and presented by Mrs. Orlebar in 1893; the building was restored in 1877 by the 9th Duke of Bedford K.G. when the chancel was repaired and reseated, and the ancient floor tiles reproduced: the organ, originally constructed by the Rev. H. E. H. Havergal, late vicar of Cople, and completed 1875, was erected at a cost of £400: the stained east window was erected in 1884 at a cost of £320 : there are sittings for 183 persons. The register dates from the year 1676. [Kelly's Directory - Bedfordshire - 1898]
Here is a Wesleyan chapel. [Kelly's Directory - Bedfordshire - 1898]
In 1860 some Roman remains were discovered here, and were sent to Woburn Abbey. The Park farmhouse, now in the occupation of Mr. William Robinson, is a portion of the ancient residence of Sir John Gostwick, Master of the Horse to King Henry VIII, who once held a court therein; one large and peculiar building, probably once a stable, together with a dove cote, still exists; the upper chamber was used for domestic purposes. The Duke of Bedford is lord of the manor and sole landowner. Most of the cottages in this and the adjoining parish were erected by a former duke on a model plan which is well adapted to the comfort and convenience of the occupants. The soil is gravel; subsoil, gravel and clay. The principal crops are wheat, barley, peas and beans. The area is 1,645 acres of land and 15 of water; rateable value, £2,024; the population in 1891 was 234. [Kelly's Directory - Bedfordshire - 1898]
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