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Parish Church of St Peter - Church End Arlesey - - 72466.jpg
Parish Church of St Peter - Church End, Arlesey
Arlesey is located in Bedfordshire
 Arlesey shown within Bedfordshire
Population 5,690 [1]
OS grid reference TL190357
Unitary authority Central Bedfordshire
Ceremonial county Bedfordshire
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town ARLESEY
Postcode district SG15
Dialling code 01462
Police Bedfordshire
Fire Bedfordshire and Luton
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament North East Bedfordshire
List of places

Coordinates: 52°00′25″N 0°15′55″W / 52.0070°N 0.2654°W / 52.0070; -0.2654

Arlesey is a small formerly industrial town and civil parish in the unitary authority of Central Bedfordshire. It stands near the border with Hertfordshire, about three miles north-west of Letchworth Garden City, four miles north of Hitchin and six miles south of Biggleswade. Arlesey railway station provides services to London, Stevenage and Peterborough. The station opened in 1988 under the Network South East branch of the nationalised British Rail company. An earlier station had been called "Arlesey & Henlow" and "Three Counties", a reference to the nearby hospital for people with psychological difficulties (at the time called "mentally ill"). The hospital admitted patient from Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire: hence "Three Counties". The original station was closed to passengers in the 1960s.

Arlesey Town Football Club has their ground to the south of the town.

The Domesday Book mentions Arlesey: The entry reads: Alricesei(a)/eie: Bishop of Durham; Bernard from William d'Eu; Herfast; from Nigel d'Aubigny; Wulfsi. 3 mills.

Spelling variations may include 'Arlychesey', seen in 1430, the home of the complainant William Bocher, husbandman.[2] and 'Arlythesey', seen in 1418.[3] That these refer to Arlesey is suggested in an earlier document: the index to one of the Patent Rolls of King Richard II.[4]

Residents have claimed it to be the longest town in Britain[citation needed].

St Peter's Church, situated in the Church End part of the town, was built in the 12th century by the monks of Waltham Abbey. Arlesey was the site of Etonbury Castle, of which little trace remains.

Arlesey Old Moat and Glebe Meadows nature reserves are just north of the town.

Major employers in Arlesey used to be the Fairfield Hospital (now re-developed as the residential Fairfield Park) and the former brickworks (producers of the Arlesey Whites bricks seen in many local buildings). Some of the clay pits used by the brickworks are now lakes and there are also two disused Portland Cement Company chalk pits, one of which is the Blue Lagoon, which hosts fishing and sailing clubs. Although the lake is private, large numbers of people go there to swim. There have been a number of drownings that have been reported in the national news. In 2001 three children died when the car they were in was accidentally driven into the lake.[5] Most recently a teenager drowned while swimming in April 2007.[6]

Gothic Mede Academy is the towns Lower School has around 200 pupils aged 5 to 9. Younger children can attend the adjoining Arlesey Nursery School. Etonbury Academy is the town's middle school.

The Arlesey Bomb fishing weight was developed by angler, Dick Walker to catch specimen perch from the local chalk pits.[7]

Notable residents[edit]

Arlesey at war 1939-1945[edit]

Halifax Bomber crash[edit]

On 19 December 1943[8][9] a Handley Page Halifax belonging to 138 Squadron was in a collision with a chimney at Arlesey Brickworks.

The aircraft BB364 (NF-R) had left its base at RAF Tempsford on a training mission.

The crew of nine perished in the subsequent crash.

Hudson crash[edit]

On 28 March 1944[9][10] a Lockheed Hudson belonging to 161 Squadron RAF crashed on the Arlesey to Stotfold road killing the crew.

The aircraft FK767 had left its base at RAF Tempsford on a training flight.


The town's football team is Arlesey Town F.C..


  1. ^ Bedfordshire County Council, Population Estimates and Forecasts, estimate for 2007.
  2. ^ Plea Rolls of the Court of Common Pleas; National Archives; CP 40 / 677;; first entry
  3. ^ Plea Rolls of the Court of Common Pleas; National Archvies; CP 40/629, year 1418;; 4th entry, third line
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Lagoon plunge driver is charged". Bedford Today. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  6. ^ "Drowned teenager named by police". BBC News. 18 April 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  7. ^ Arlesey lake Retrieved 22 May 2009[dead link]
  8. ^ Bedfordshire Aicrew - RAF Tempsford, Roll of Honour (website accessed 15.07.10)
  9. ^ a b National Archives (website accessed 15.07.10
  10. ^ RAF Tempsford aircrew - Roll of Honour (website accessed 15.07.10)

External links[edit]