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Bedford St Paul

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[Transcribed and edited information from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868]

"BEDFORD ST. PAUL, a parish in the town of Bedford."

"QUEEN'S PARK, a modern suburb of Bedford in the parish of Bedford St. Paul, 1¼ miles west of Bedford."

[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868]
by Colin Hinson ©2013



Church History

  • Church of England
    • St. Pauls church, in the square of that name, is a building of stone, in the Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular styles, consisting of chancel, nave of three bays with clerestory, spacious aisles, transepts, north porch, south porch with parvise, and an embattled central tower with spire, containing a clock and 8 bells, recast, with the addition of 2 treble bells, in 1896 : it was a collegiate church previous to the Conquest, and retained this rank until between 1148 and 1170, when its prebends were transferred to Newnham, in the parish of Goldington, by Simon de Beauchamp, who was buried in this church in 1206, the stone slab, said to have marked his grave, still remaining : the edifice was rebuilt in 1224, on the site of an earlier structure, the greater part of which had been pulled down by order of King John, in order to fortify the castle: in the latter part of the 15th century, the church, then consisting of double chancel and nave, was materially altered by the addition of a clerestory and the raising of the arcade, north and south porches being added and the north transept removed; the two chancels were also inclosed with oak screens, and the whole building covered with an oak roof finely carved: the original chancel roof still exists, but those the naves were renewed in 1848, the figures and enrichments of the former roofs being, however, retained; much of the ancient screen-work was destroyed during the renovation of the chancel at the same date, but the rood screen, though not now in situ, still exists: in the reign of King Henry VIII. the church of St. Paul became for a time the cathedral of a suffragon bishop: in the year 1868 the tower and spire were rebuilt, the design of the tower being modified and its plan enlarged, and the old spire re-erected upon it; a new north transept was also built in place of that removed in the 15th century : in 1878-9 the north, and south walls of the chancel were converted into arcades opening into the aisles, a clerestory, vestries and other additions made, the roof raised and repaired and a new east window inserted: in 1884 a new aisle, corresponding in every respect with, the south nave, was built on the north side of the nave proper, and the north porch rebuilt, all the original windows and ornamental work being preserved and reset: the church, as thus enlarged, was re-opened by the Lord Bishop of Ely, 4th Dec. 1884: the work was carried out under the direction of Mr. John Day, of Bedford, architect and diocesan surveyor: the church contains some fine monuments, including one to Thomas Christie esq., and one to Sir William Harpur kt. and alderman of London, a great benefactor to the town and founder of the Bedford Grammar school: a new chiming apparatus, playing 14 tunes, was put up by public subscription in the tower of this church in 1879, and opened 1st January, 1880; the stained east window, a memorial to Alderman Sir. William Harpur, founder of the Grammar school, and Dame Alice his wife, was erected by public subscription, principally contributed by past and present scholars of the school: a stained window in memory of Sir Richard Thomas Gilpin bart. was unveiled by the Duchess of Bedford, in January, 1885, and in 1893 a memorial window was erected by T. Bull esq. J.P., to Sarah Ann, his wife, d. 13 May, 1891 : in the same year the organ was thoroughly cleaned and repaired and a new choir organ added at a cost of about £400 by Messrs, Norman Bros. & Beard: there are 1,400 sittings, of which 800 are free. The register dates, from the year 1559. The living is a vicarage, yearly value, £350, with residence, in the gift of the Bishop of Ely; and held since 1886 by the Rev. Lambert Woodard M.A. of Jesus College, Cambridge, and surrogate. [Kelly's Directory - Bedfordshire - 1898]

Church Records



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