Biggleswade

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Biggleswade
Biggleswade Town Council.jpg
Town council logo and unofficial town arms
Town council logo and unofficial town arms
Biggleswade town centre
Biggleswade is located in Bedfordshire
Biggleswade
Biggleswade
Location within Bedfordshire
Population16,551 (2011 Census)[1]
OS grid referenceTL1944
Civil parish
  • Biggleswade
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Region
CountryEngland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townBIGGLESWADE
Postcode districtSG18
Dialling code01767
PoliceBedfordshire
FireBedfordshire and Luton
AmbulanceEast of England
EU ParliamentEast of England
UK Parliament
List of places
UK
England
Bedfordshire
52°05′08″N 0°15′21″W / 52.0855°N 0.2557°W / 52.0855; -0.2557Coordinates: 52°05′08″N 0°15′21″W / 52.0855°N 0.2557°W / 52.0855; -0.2557

Biggleswade (/bɪɡəlzwd/BIG-əlz-weɪd) is a market town and civil parish in Central Bedfordshire, part of the ceremonial county of Bedfordshire, England. It lies on the River Ivel, 11 miles (18 km) south-east of Bedford. It had an estimated population of 20,200 in mid-2017,[2] whose growth is encouraged by good road and rail links to London. The King's Reach development, begun in 2010, will on completion provide 2,000 new homes to the east of the town.[3]

Highlights[edit]

Evidence of settlement in the area goes back to the Neolithic period, but it is likely that the town as such was founded by Anglo-Saxons. A gold Anglo-Saxon coin was found on a footpath beside the River Ivel in 2001. The British Museum bought the coin in February 2006 and at the time, it was the most expensive British coin purchased.[4] A charter to hold a market was granted by King John in the 13th-century. In 1785 a great fire devastated the town. The Great North Road passed through until a bypass was completed in 1961. A railway station was opened in 1850. From the 1930s to the late 1990s, manufacturing provided a significant amount of employment. The town centre today is designated as a conservation area.[5][6][7]

Geography[edit]

The water tower at Topler's Hill

Biggleswade lies about 40 miles (60 km) north of Central London and 20 miles (30 km) to the west-southwest of Cambridge.

Biggleswade civil parish includes the nearby hamlet of Holme. From its station on the East Coast Main Line trains take about 45 minutes to reach London. The A1, Britain's Great North Road, bypasses the town. Its old course is now numbered A6001. The B1040 road leads north to Potton and St. Ives and the B659 south to Langford and Henlow.

Elevation

The town centre is about 28 m (92 ft) above sea level. The land rises to 78 m (256 ft) at the parish's southern boundary near the water tower on Topler's Hill.[8]

Soil and geology

The area's soil is mostly freely draining and slightly acid, but with a base-rich, loamy texture of sand, silt and clay particles. Fertility is high.[9]

The underlying geology of the Ivel Valley is alluvial. The town centre stands largely on river gravel but with smaller areas of green and brown sands and sandstones, and glacial gravel. Boulder clay dominates the outlying southern and eastern parts.[10]

Landscape

Biggleswade wind farm

Biggleswade Common is an area of grassland that extends northwards along the eastern bank of the River Ivel from the Shortmead Street bridge. It continues clockwise, crossing Potton Road at the town's eastern boundary to a section known locally as the Pastures. Its 300 acres (120 ha) make it the largest area of common land in Bedfordshire. It has loamy and sandy soils with naturally high groundwater and a peaty surface. It is run by an association of rights owners called the Fen Reeves of Biggleswade Common, as a working common grazed by horses and cattle.[11]

There is a wind farm of ten turbines to the south of the town.[12] A solar power farm is located to the north of Shortmead House.

River Ivel

The Environment Agency has a monitoring station at Biggleswade. The normal level of the River Ivel at Biggleswade is between 0.12 metres (5 in) and 0.27 metres (1 ft). The highest level recorded was 1.14 metres (4 ft) reached on Wednesday 11th February 2009.[13]

Governance[edit]

Biggleswade was a constituent part of and gave its name to one of the Hundreds of Bedfordshire from Anglo-Saxon times until the 19th century. Most functions of Biggleswade Urban District, created under the Local Government Act 1894, were subsumed in 1974 into Mid Bedfordshire District Council under the Local Government Act 1972, the remainder passing to the newly-formed Biggleswade Town Council. In 2009, the District and County Councils were replaced by the Central Bedfordshire Unitary Authority.

The Town Council offices at the former magistrates' court

Biggleswade Town Council's responsibilities include car parks, allotment gardens, cemeteries (Drove Road and Stratton Way), play and recreation areas, the Orchard Community Centre and some street lighting.[14] Planning applications referred from Central Bedfordshire Council are considered and objections can be raised.

Biggleswade divides into three electoral wards: Ivel for the north, Holme for the south-west, and Stratton for the south-east.[15] Voters elect five councillors per ward, for four-year terms. They in turn elect annually a Town Mayor.

Town Council funds come from a precept agreed with Central Bedfordshire Council. Council meetings since 2006 have been held in a council chamber in the former magistrates' court in Saffron Road.

Central Bedfordshire Council is responsible for Biggleswade's social care homes, public library (Chestnut Avenue), roads, refuse, Saxon Pool and Leisure Centre (managed on its behalf by SLL), non-academy schools, social services and planning.[16]

Two shire councillors are elected to serve a four-year term for each of the Biggleswade North and Biggleswade South wards.[17][18]

Biggleswade was a UK parliamentary constituency from 1885 to 1918. The town was then in Mid Bedfordshire until 1997. Now in North East Bedfordshire, the elected member is the independent Alistair Burt formerly of the Conservative Party.

History[edit]

The area around Biggleswade is thought to have been inhabited from about 10,000 BC. Arrowheads believed to be from this time have been found.[19] Sherds of late Neolithic pottery from a single Peterborough ware Mortlake bowl were found in a pit excavated south of Biggleswade Hospital.[20]

Archaeological excavations in 2001 discovered a late Bronze Age pit to the north of the water tower on Topler's Hill.[21] Iron Age pottery and a bead together with charred cereal grains of wheat and barley have been found in pits to the north of the town.[22]

In Roman times, a loop road known as the White Way passed through Biggleswade (possibly along the course of the present-day Drove Road), linking with Ermine Way at Godmanchester.[19]

Anglo-Saxons[edit]

(See also Hundred of Biggleswade)

In the 5th century AD, Saxon invaders settled.[19] The name Biggleswade may derive from Biceil, an Anglo-Saxon personal name, and Waed, the Saxon word for ford.[23] Variant spellings include Bykeleswad in 1396, Bykleswade in 15th-century law records, and Bickleswade on a 17th-century ivory seal now in the British Museum.[24][25][26]

Wells and pits dating from the early 7th century and a quantity of later Maxey ware have been excavated at Stratton.[27]

Evidence of an Anglo-Saxon ringwork and bailey castle was discovered by aerial photography in 1954 between the A1 road and the River Ivel.[28]

An impression of the Coenwulf coin

In 2001 a gold coin bearing the name Coenwulf was found at Biggleswade on a footpath beside the River Ivel.[29] The 4.33 g (0.15 oz) mancus, worth about 30 silver pennies, is only the eighth known gold coin dating to the mid to late Anglo-Saxon period. Its inscription, "DE VICO LVNDONIAE", shows it was minted in London.[30] Initially sold to American collector Allan Davisson for £230,000 at auction; the British Government subsequently put in place a temporary export ban in the hope of saving it for the nation.[31] The British Museum bought the coin in February 2006 for £357,832, with the help of funding from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the British Museum Friends.[32] At the time, it was the most expensive British coin purchased.[4]

Medieval times[edit]

Biggleswade parish consisted of three settlements: Biggleswade, Holme and Stratton.[33]

Biggleswade is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Bichelesuuade/Pichelsuuade: Ralph de l'Isle. 2 mills. Domesday records 27 heads of household in Stratton vill, but only 20 in Biggleswade. However, Biggleswade had overtaken Stratton by 1309.[33]

In 1132, Henry I granted the manor of Biggleswade to Bishop Alexander the Magnificent of Lincoln, to help endow Lincoln Cathedral. A prebendal stall of Biggleswade is in the cathedral.[34] King John (1196–1216) granted a charter to hold a market. The medieval parish Church of St Andrew contains a monumental brass of John Rudying featuring a figure of Death.[35]

Stratton Park Moated Enclosure lies to the south of the town off Dunton Lane.[36][37]

The Great Fire[edit]

Plaque commemorating the Great Fire
The Crown Inn, where the 1785 Great Fire started

On 16 June 1785 a fire started at the Crown Inn and spread rapidly through neighbouring streets, destroying nearly one-third of the town. A national appeal raised funds for 332 people who lost their homes and others who lost their livelihoods.[38][39][40]

The Great Fire is among the historical scenes shown in a Millennium stained-glass window in St Andrew's Church.[41]

Transport[edit]

A medieval bridge carrying the Great North Road over the River Ivel at Biggleswade is first documented in the early 13th century. In 1302 Bishop Dalderby of Lincoln gave indulgences to all those contributing to the repair of the bridge, and from 1372 tolls were authorised under the pontage system. The Great North Road became a turnpike road in 1725 (from Biggleswade to Alconbury Hill) and in 1730 (from Stevenage to Biggleswade). In 1796 the medieval bridge in Shortmead Street was rebuilt with sandstone from Sandy. It had three rounded arches. A metal "Meccano"-type bridge was erected alongside in 1939. In 1948 the stone bridge was demolished and replaced with a second "Meccano" or Callender-Hamilton bridge as it was formally known.[42] The town was bypassed by the A1 trunk road in 1961.[19] The current bridge dates from 1999.[43]

Biggleswade, Ivel Mill

The River Ivel was made navigable to Biggleswade Mill in 1758 from its confluence with the River Ouse at Tempsford; and extended to Shefford in 1823. Timber and coal were transported. In 1876 the canal was abandoned by Act of Parliament.[44]

Through the 19th century Biggleswade was a staging post for coaches. Destinations included London, Leeds, York and Boston, Lincolnshire.[45]

The Great Northern Railway opened a station in 1850.

Eastern National operated local bus services until 1952, to be followed by United Counties. A bus depot in Shortmead Street until 1989 was replaced by Millers Court retirement apartments.[46] Stagecoach took over in November 1987[47] and relocated its depot in Hitchin Street. Private bus operators based in Biggleswade included Charles Cook Travel (1947–1998) and Fairway Coaches (1970s–1980s).[48]

The Workhouse[edit]

Brigham House

From about 1780, Brigham House, 93 High Street, housed the parish workhouse. The premises were closed following the completion of The Union Workhouse at London Road in 1836. The Biggleswade Poor Law Union was officially formed on 14th April 1835 and covered 25 parishes. The workhouse ceased operation in 1930. The building was renamed The Limes and provided accommodation for the aged, infirm and vagrants. It was used as an old people's home until its closure in 1969 and demolished in 1972.[49][50]

Agriculture and industry[edit]

In 1868, The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland's entry for Biggleswade describes the surrounding district as "fertile, and the inhabitants... chiefly engaged in agricultural pursuits, and in market gardening" while "many of the female inhabitants are employed in lace-making and the manufacture of straw-plait."[51] Though much of the vegetable trade has ended, Bedfordshire Growers on Potton Road still supplies supermarkets with UK-grown potatoes and onions.[52]

Samuel Wells established a brewery in 1764.[53] Wells and Winch built a new brewery in 1901 in Church Street.[54] Greene King owned it from 1961 until October 1997. The site is now taken by an Asda supermarket.

A Maythorn body on the Daimler of
Prince Louis of Hesse

The Morton and Kinman owned Vulcan Foundry off Foundary Lane and Saffron Road made the iron work for the Ivel Navigation bridges at Blunham, Mill Lane and Holme in 1823.[55]

From 1862, coachbuilder Maythorn had a factory on Market Square/Station Road. New premises were built in 1925. After the firm's demise in 1931, the factory and offices were utilised by NURO to make photographic film from 1935 to 1938; the NAAFI as a warehouse from 1940 to 1958 and Delaney Gallay and Gloster Saro, to make heat-insulation materials for aircraft, including Concorde. The building was demolished in 1987 to make way for shops and a car park.[56][57]

The Ivel Cycle Works in Shortmead Street, founded by Dan Albone in 1881, made bicycles, motorbikes and light tractors until 1922.[58]

Holme Mills, Biggleswade

Holme Mills, listed in the Domesday Book has been the home of Jordans Cereals since 1893. The company also has a unit on Stratton Business Park.[59][60] Franklin's Mill in Mill Lane closed in 1945 and gave way to apartments. Bedfordshire's tallest windmill, at 70ft (21m), stood in Hitchin Street from 1858 until 1967.[61][62]

Books, diaries, binders and sketch pads were made by Adams & Harrison which moved from Clerkenwell, London to Havelock Road in 1933. The factory closed in 1987 and gave way to housing in Reynolds Close.[63]

Another major employer was Cincinnati Milacron, on a site between Dells Lane and the railway. The company, then named Weatherley Oilgear Ltd, came to Biggleswade in 1939. It made broaching machines.[64][65] The factory was demolished in the mid-1980s. The site is now covered by the "Poets" estate (Tennyson Avenue, Chaucer Drive, Dickens Court and Bunyan Drive).

Lingerie and nightdresses were made in the town by Kayser Bondor from 1938 to 1991.[66] Berkeley made caravans and sports cars from 1947 to 1960.[67] Both were situated off Hitchin Street, where there are now roads named Berkeley Close and Kayser Court.

Smart and Brown made precision lathes in London Road from 1946 until 1980.

Felix Catfood established a Potton Road factory in 1949.[64][68] It closed in the 1970s and its place is now taken by housing in Mountbatten Drive.

Ribbon cables and printed circuit board connectors for computers were made in the converted Empire Cinema on Hitchin Street by Electro Methods from 1959; ownership changes saw the firm renamed Ether, then Pye Connectors and finally Flexicon, until closure in 1990.[64][69]

Cinema[edit]

The Empire (originally The Cinema Palace) in Hitchin Street operated from 1913 to 1958. The building was converted into a factory making electrical connectors but was demolished in 1994 and the site is now occupied by housing in Empire Way.

The 700-seat Regal Cinema in Station Road opened in 1936. After closure in 1976, it was converted into a bingo hall.[70]

Demography[edit]

Population growth in Biggleswade since 1801
YearPop.±%
18011,794—    
18413,807+112.2%
18814,947+29.9%
19215,395+9.1%
19618,050+49.2%
200115,383+91.1%
Source: A Vision of Britain through Time[71]

At the 2011 census date the population of Biggleswade was 16,551, of which 93.4% were born in the United Kingdom. 91.8% of residents were white British compared to 79.8% for England. As to religious affiliation; 59.9% put Christianity and 1.9% other religions, while 38.2% had no religion or did not say.

The five largest employment sectors for Biggleswade residents were: wholesale, retail and vehicle repairs at 18%, manufacturing at 13%, construction at 10%, human health and social work at 10% and education at 9%. The unemployment rate was 3.5% compared to 4.4% for England. [72][73]

Education[edit]

Biggleswade has a three-tier education system with lower schools catering for ages 5–9, middle schools for 9–13, and Stratton Upper School for 13–16 year olds and a sixth form.

Stratton Upper School and Community College (formerly Stratton Grammar Technical School) opened in 1950 and converted to Academy status in February 2012. There are over 600 pupils aged 13–16 and just under 400 in the sixth form.

Biggleswade Academy, established in 2012, is a merger of Holmemead Middle, Southlands Lower, and Brigham Pre-School. Holmemead opened in 1964 as a County Secondary Modern for pupils aged 11–16 but now caters for 9–13 year olds. Southlands County Primary School opened for 5–9 year olds in 1973.

There are two Church of England (C of E) Voluntary controlled schools (VC). Edward Peake C of E (VC) Middle School opened in 1974 and is named after a 16th century local philanthropist who left money for the education of five children in the parish of Holme. St Andrew's C of E (VC) Lower School was built on the playing field of the Victorian, Rose Lane school in 1988. A second site on the King's Reach development opened in September 2015.

Lawnside Academy is for pupils aged from 4–9 years and is a member of the Bedfordshire Schools Trust (BEST). From 1979 to December 2018 it was known as Lawnside Lower School. It opened in 1959 as Lawnside County Primary Infants School.[74]

Ivel Valley School caters for children with moderate to severe learning difficulties and resulted from the 2010 amalgamation of Hitchmead and Sunnyside schools; which opened in 1970 and 1971 respectively. OneSchool Global, Biggleswade Campus, opened in September 2014 just outside the town on the B1040. It is associated with the Plymouth Brethren.[75]

Hotels, inns and public houses[edit]

Biggleswade once had numerous inns and public houses due to its location on the Great North Road. All of 52 were trading in 1876.[76][77] By July 2019, just nine remained, plus an additional new-build.[78]

The White Hart, Market Place in 2008

The Crown Hotel, rebuilt in 1793 after the Great Fire of 1785, was reopened by J D Wetherspoon in August 2017 after standing empty for four years.[79]

The 17th-century, Grade II listed White Hart[80] is thought to be the town's second oldest building after St Andrew's Church.

The King's Reach was opened in December 2018 by the McMullen Brewery of Hertford.[81]

Newspapers and radio[edit]

The Biggleswade Chronicle newspaper is published each Friday. It was founded in 1891 as the Biggleswade Chronicle – Sandy, Potton and Shefford Times. In 1892 Charles Elphick took over as owner, editor and printer and ran it for nearly 50 years. The family is commemorated in Elphick Court, off Shortmead Street. The paper is now owned by JPIMedia.[82]

BigglesFM is a licenced community radio station transmitting from nearby Potton on 104.8 FM and online. Full-time broadcasting began in April 2011.[83]

The Biggleswade Herald was published by Larkinson brothers each Friday and is listed in the 1910 edition of Kelly's Directory, but ceased to be published long ago.

Public services[edit]

The water supplied by Anglian Water for the Biggleswade Public Water Supply Zone (MW36) is chloraminated and classed as hard. The supply comes from surface river and reservoirs and from groundwater boreholes. There is a waste water treatment works at Furzenhall.[84]

The Eastern Power Area of UK Power Networks is the distribution network operator for electricity.[85] Cadent Gas owns and operates the area's gas distribution network.[86]

Fire station, Chestnut Avenue

The two nearest general hospitals are Bedford (Bedford Hospital NHS Trust) and Lister Hospital, Stevenage (East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust). Mental and community health-care services are provided by East London NHS Foundation Trust based at Biggleswade Hospital, which was originally built in 1878 as an isolation facility but converted to a long-stay hospital in 1948. The Saffron Health Partnership in Saffron Road and the Ivel Medical Centre in Chestnut Avenue provide general practitioner services.

Police station

Ambulance services are provided by the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, which has an ambulance station in Chestnut Avenue. Alongside is a Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service station staffed by retained firefighters. In nearby Lawrence Road is a unit of the St John Ambulance.

Library

Bedfordshire Police has a station in Station Road open to the public by appointment only. The building dates from 1939 and replaced the old police station opposite.

Biggleswade has a purpose-built public library in Chestnut Avenue that opened in 1968 and replaced the one housed in the old police station.

There is a main post office in Bonds Lane and a sub-post office in Stratton Way.[87] Royal Mail has a delivery office in Station Road.

Public transport[edit]

Bus[edit]

A half-hourly, circular town bus service (route nos. 85 and 85A) is provided by Centrebus (South).[88] The same operator runs an hourly through route south to Langford, Henlow and Hitchin (journey time 35 minutes) and north to Sandy via Dunton, Wrestlingworth and Potton (service 188) or Sutton, Potton, Gamlingay, and Everton (service 190). Stagecoach East runs service no. 73 to Sandy and Bedford. Frequency is normally half-hourly but the interval may be 40 minutes or an hour in the early morning or evening. The journey time to Bedford bus station is one hour. Route 74 to Bedford operated by Grant Palmer Ltd. runs hourly from 7.30 am to 6 pm and route 200 runs every two hours to Shefford and Flitwick.[89]

These services run Monday to Saturday. There are no bus services on Sundays and public holidays.

A limited community, non-profit service is provided by Whitbread Wanderbus. Their W3 (weekly, Monday) and W5 (fortnightly, Friday) services run into the town from Meppershall.[90] Ivel Sprinter run weekly services to St Neots and Cambridge.[91]

Train[edit]

Thameslink operates a half-hourly Monday to Friday service through to Horsham via London, St Pancras, London Bridge and Gatwick Airport. Journey times are 45 minutes to London and 2 hours 45 minutes to Horsham. Great Northern run additional trains to and from Kings Cross for morning and evening commuters. At weekends all services terminate at Kings Cross. The service on Sunday is hourly. Northbound trains have a similar frequency of service. They terminate at Peterborough and have a journey time of 40 minutes.

Religious sites[edit]

Six churches – St Andrew's (Anglican), Trinity (Methodist), St Peter's (Catholic), Biggleswade Baptists, Healing Hour, Newlife Church, and Pentecostal Church – are represented locally by the umbrella organisation Churches Together.[92] Biggleswade Cemetery has a chapel.

The Plymouth Brethren have moved from Rose Lane to a Gospel Hall in Saxon Drive. The Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Shortmead Street was built in 2014 on the site of St Andrew's Memorial Hall.

The Church of St John the Baptist (Church of England) in St John's Street opened in 1883 but was demolished in 1975.[93] A Primitive Methodist Chapel opened in 1873 in Shortmead Street and still stands, but the last meeting for worship was in April 1939.[94]

Shopping[edit]

The Market Place, High Street and Hitchin Street are the principal shopping streets. A Charter Market is held Saturdays from 8 am to 4 pm. A smaller market takes place on Tuesdays.

J. R. Goldthorpe & Son

Biggleswade's oldest shop is reported to be the J. R. Goldthorpe & Son hardware store at 38 High Street. The original ironmongery started here in 1869.[95]

A Sainsbury's supermarket opened in 1994 at Bells Brook, off the A1 Biggleswade north roundabout. It is actually in Northill civil parish, as the boundary with Biggleswade runs along the River Ivel. ASDA has a store in Church Street, which opened in November 2005 on the site of a Greene King brewery.[96] There is an Aldi in Bonds Lane and an Iceland in the Market Place.

Construction of the 20-unit A1 Retail Park at the south end of London Road began in 2013. The main phase completed by 2016. The five largest units house Homebase, Marks and Spencer, Matalan, Boots and Wilko.[97][98]

Sport and recreation[edit]

The town has three association football clubs – Biggleswade Town, of the Southern League Premier Division; Biggleswade United, of the Spartan South Midlands Premier Division; and Biggleswade FC, which was promoted at the end of the 2018/2019 season into the Southern League Division 1 Central. The chairman of Biggleswade United is Sky Sports pundit Guillem Balague.

The town cricket club's 1st XI play in Division 1 of the Huntingdonshire County Cricket League. Biggleswade Rugby Club's 1st team plays in the Midlands 3 East (South) league.

Drove Road Recreation Ground is home to Biggleswade Town Bowls Club and also has three macadam play-for-free tennis courts.[99]

Two-and-a-half miles north-east of the town on the B1040 at Sutton is the John O'Gaunt Golf Club, with two 18-hole courses. In Hill Lane across from the A1 north roundabout is the Biggleswade Golf Centre driving range.

Swimming and gym facilities are at Saxon Pool and leisure centre.[100] A sports hall was added in 2015 and there is a skate park.

The Franklin Recreation Ground by the River Ivel is off Mill Lane.[101] The Biggleswade Green Wheel circular walking and cycling route and the 21-mile Kingfisher Way walk pass close by.[102][103]

Culture and community[edit]

Town carnival[edit]

The carnival has been held each June since 1957. It was launched to raise funds to build a public swimming pool. An outdoor heated pool in Playfield Close was opened in May 1968. Further funds raised through sponsors and donations have since been distributed to local community groups, sports clubs, schools, public services and charities.

A competition is held early each year to select a Carnival Court comprising a Queen, Princess and Prince. The main event is a Saturday afternoon parade of themed floats through the town. Carnival week features a funfair in the Market Square.[104]

Cultural references[edit]

The town is mentioned twice in the diaries of Samuel Pepys. On 22 July 1661, Pepys stopped off at "Bigglesworth" to buy a pair of warm woollen stockings. On 5 August 1664, Pepys's wife, on a visit to relations in Huntingdonshire, sent him a message saying she had arrived in "Bigglesworth" on the coach from York and would be home next day.[105]

The diarist John Byng, 5th Viscount Torrington often refers to the town and its Sun Inn.[106]

Biggleswade is mentioned on the TV Series Monty Python's Flying Circus during a Piranha Brothers Sketch.

In the Doonesbury comic strip, the character Zonker Harris buys a British peerage which grants him the title "His Lordship the Viscount St. Austell-in-the-Moor Biggleswade-Brixham".

Twin town[edit]

In recognition of the twinning there is Erlensee Way on the King's Reach development and Biggleswade Strasse in Erlensee.[107]

Biggleswade Entry Sign
Location of Erlensee, Hesse, Germany

Plans[edit]

In February 2019, Central Bedfordshire Unitary Authority gave outline planning permission for a village of 1,500 new homes east of the King's Reach development.[108][109]

Notable residents[edit]

Notable people born in Biggleswade include John Manton, Methodist minister and founder of Newington College in Sydney, Australia and Henry Ryland, the Pre-Raphaelite painter.[110] Dan Albone, inventor and cyclist, credited with making the first practical farm tractor, the Ivel Agricultural Motor also lived and worked in the town.[111] Charles Penrose, radio comedian and singer of "The Laughing Policeman";[112] the children's author Christine Chaundler;[113] and science fiction writer Philip E. High[114] were all born here. Others include Ian Mantle, vehicle engineer and rally driver who grew up in the town;[115] the stage and TV music director of The Muppet Show, Derek Scott;[116] and British Olympic rower William Windham.[117]

Richard Walker, angling journalist, author and photographer, lived by the River Ivel in Biggleswade from 1978 until his death.[118] Pam Rhodes, novelist and BBC Songs of Praise presenter, runs a boarding cattery in the town.[119] Peter Kendall, Chairman of the National Farmers' Union in 2006–2014, farms land in Biggleswade.[120]

Mary Tealby (1801–1865), founder of the Temporary Home for Lost and Starving Dogs – Battersea Dogs' Home from 1871 – is buried in St Andrew's churchyard.[121]

Nearby attractions[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Office for National Statistics. "Local Area Report". Nomis. Retrieved 22 July 2019. Enter "Biggleswade" in search box
  2. ^ "Ward population estimates 2017". Central Bedfordshire. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  3. ^ "Kings Reach work to begin". Biggleswade Today. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Museum's £350,000 deal for coin". BBC News. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  5. ^ "Biggleswade Conservation Area map" (PDF). Biggleswade Town Council. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  6. ^ "Plan of Biggleswade Conservation Area 2005" (PDF). Central Bedfordshire. Mid Beds District Council. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  7. ^ "Biggleswade Conservation Area 2005" (PDF). Central Bedfordshire. Mid Beds District Council. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  8. ^ "Biggleswade: elevation". Route Calculator. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  9. ^ "Soilscapes viewer". LandIS – Land Information System. Cranfield Soil and AgriFood Institute. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  10. ^ "Sheet 204. Geological Survey of Great Britain". British Geological Survey. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  11. ^ "Biggleswade Common". Let's Go!. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  12. ^ Windpower. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  13. ^ "River Ivel at Biggleswade". River Levels. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  14. ^ "Home". Biggleswade Town Council. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  15. ^ "Biggleswade Electoral Wards Map" (PDF). Biggleswade Town Council. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  16. ^ "How can we help you today?". Central Bedfordshire. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  17. ^ "Biggleswade North". MapIt UK. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  18. ^ "Biggleswade South". MapIt UK. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  19. ^ a b c d "Chronological History of Biggleswade". Biggleswade History Society. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  20. ^ Jones, C. "Archaeological strip, map and sample excavation at Potton Road, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, September 2009". Archaeology Data Service. Northamptonshire Archaeology. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  21. ^ N Wilson & B Zeepvat. "Archaeological Investigations on the Biggleswade Reinforcement Water Main: Cardington to Toplers Hill, Bedfordshire". Archaeology Data Service. Archaeological Services & Consultancy Ltd. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  22. ^ Mark Patenall and Simon Carlyle. "An archaeological evaluation for the Boddington Gardens Flood Alleviation Scheme, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, December 2009" (PDF). Archaeological data Services. Northamptonshire Archaeology. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  23. ^ Skeat, Walter W (1906). The place-names of Bedfordshire. Cambridge. p. 61.
  24. ^ Plea Rolls of the Court of Common Pleas; National Archives; CP40/541; http://aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT6/R2/CP40no541a/aCP40no541afronts/IMG_0175.htm; second entry, second line
  25. ^ Plea Rolls of the Court of Common Pleas; National Archives; CP 40/677, http://aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT1/H6/CP40no677/aCP40no677fronts/IMG_0138.htm; 7th entry, mentioned as where William Derlynge lived.
  26. ^ "Pointed oval ivory seal-matrix of Christopher Sutton". The British Museum. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  27. ^ Drew Shotliff (1998). "Biggleswade, Stratton" (PDF). South Midlands Archaeology (28): 5. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  28. ^ Historic England. "A ringwork and bailey castle, ring ditch and enclosures east of Brookland Farm (1010115)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  29. ^ "Coenwulf mancus". British Museum. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  30. ^ EMC Number 2004.167, Early Medieval Corpus, Fitzwilliam Museum.
  31. ^ HEALEY, Matthew. "Museum Buying Rare Coin to Keep It in Britain". New York Times. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  32. ^ Purchase of the Coenwulf coin in The Guardian
  33. ^ a b Dawson, Michael (1994). "Biggleswade West" (PDF). BEDFORDSHIRE ARCHAEOLOGY. 21: 119. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  34. ^ The Parish Church of St. Andrew, Biggleswade. 1969. p. 5.
  35. ^ Cartlidge, Neil, A debate with death : John Rudyng's Brass in St Andrew's Church, Biggleswade, Transactions of the Monumental Brass Society., 19 (2) (2015) pp. 94–100 – University of Durham
  36. ^ Historic England. "Stratton Park moated enclosure and associated manorial earthworks (1012161)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  37. ^ David McOmish, Sarah Newsome, Wesley Keir, Jo Barker and Drew Shotliff. "STRATTON PARK MOATED ENCLOSURE, Stratton, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire: A LANDSCAPE SURVEY AND INVESTIGATION" (PDF). Archaeology Data Service. Retrieved 5 August 2019.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  38. ^ Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council (23 January 2014). "Great Fire of Biggleswade – Digitised Resources – The Virtual Library". Virtual-library.culturalservices.net. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  39. ^ "Our Heritage". Biggleswade Town council. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  40. ^ "The Great Fire of Biggleswade June 16th 1785". Parish Chest. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  41. ^ "Millennium Window". Flickr. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  42. ^ Angela Simco & Peter McKeague (1997). Bridges of Bedfordshire. Bedfordshire County Council et al. pp. 9, 11, 72–73. ISBN 095315310X.
  43. ^ "Biggleswade Bridges". The Virtual Library. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  44. ^ "Shefford - Canal". Shefford Town Council. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  45. ^ "STAGE COACH ROUTES IN 1836" (PDF). Friern Barnet & District Local History Society. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  46. ^ OS Plan 1:2500. Ordnance Survey. 1987. p. Marked as "Bus Depot".
  47. ^ "National Bus Company". HANSARD 1803–2005. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  48. ^ "FAIRWAY COACHES (BIGGLESWADE) LIMITED". Company Search. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  49. ^ "Nostalgia: From poor beginings". The Comet. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  50. ^ Higginbotham, Peter. "Biggleswade Poor Law Union and Workhouse". The Workhouse . . . story of an institution. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  51. ^ Hamilton, N. E. S. A. (Nicholas Esterhazy Stephen Armytage) (1868). The National Gazetteer of Great Britain And Ireland. London: Virtue. p. 264.
  52. ^ Bedfordshire Growers website
  53. ^ Jane Havercroft and Ken Page. "The origins of Samuel Wells, brewer of Biggleswade" (PDF). Brewery History. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  54. ^ Wells & Winch: Biggleswade Brewery – The National Archives
  55. ^ "Bonds Lane, Palace Street and Foundry Lane". Biggleswade History Society. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  56. ^ "Maythorn and Delaney Gallay". biggleswadetoday. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  57. ^ "Maythorn and Son Coachbuilders of Biggleswade". Biggleswade History Society. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  58. ^ "Dan Albone and Biggleswade's cycling heritage". The Comet. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  59. ^ "The History of Jordans". Jordans Cereals. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  60. ^ "HISTORY IN THE MAKING". Jordans Mill. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  61. ^ "Town's old windmill". Biggleswade Today. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  62. ^ Smith, Terence Paul (1973). "Biggleswade Windmill" (PDF). BEDFORDSHIRE ARCHAEOLOGICAL JOURNAL. 8: 136. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  63. ^ "Adams and Harrison: a bookbinding giant". Biggleswade Today. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  64. ^ a b c Biggleswade Official Town Guide. Biggleswade Chamber of Commerce. 1971. pp. 43–53.
  65. ^ "Cincinnati: Biggleswade's biggest employer". Biggleswade Today.
  66. ^ "Kayser Bondor". Biggleswade Today. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  67. ^ "Berkeley Car History". Berkeley Car Club. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  68. ^ "Quaker Oats". Grace's Guide. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  69. ^ Biggleswade Official Guide. Forward Publicity. 1984. pp. 2 Advert.& 9 Text.
  70. ^ "Biggleswade and the golden age of the cinema". Biggleswade Today. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  71. ^ "KS001 - Usual resident population". nomis. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  72. ^ "Biggleswade Parish Local Area Report". nomis. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  73. ^ "England". nomis. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  74. ^ "Development of Educational Facilities in Biggleswade". Biggleswade History Society. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  75. ^ "Biggleswade". OneSchool Global. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  76. ^ "Biggleswade had 52 pubs: that's one very long pub crawl!". Biggleswade Today. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  77. ^ Page, Ken (2001). Thirsty Old Town: The Story of Biggleswade Pubs. Self-published. ISBN 0952275732.
  78. ^ "Lost Pubs In Biggleswade, Bedfordshire". The Lost Pubs Project. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  79. ^ "Biggleswade's The Crown Hotel to reopen next week as Wetherspoon pub". The Comet. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  80. ^ Historic England. "WHITE HART PUBLIC HOUSE (1312194)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  81. ^ "Newly-built Biggleswade pub opens its doors to the public". The Comet. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  82. ^ "Biggleswade Chronicle". British Newspapers Online. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  83. ^ "Biggles FM". OFCOM. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  84. ^ "Drinking Water Quality Information". Anglian Water. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  85. ^ "Check if you're in our area". UK Power Networks. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  86. ^ "Map: who operates the gas distribution network?". ofgem. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  87. ^ "Branch Finder". Post Office. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  88. ^ "Biggleswade Bus Map" (PDF). Central Bedfordshire. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  89. ^ "Our bus services in Biggleswade and Shefford". Grant Palmer. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  90. ^ "Timetables and routes". Wanderbus. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  91. ^ "Timetables". Ivel Sprinter. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  92. ^ Church site. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  93. ^ "St John's Church". Biggleswade History Society. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  94. ^ "Biggleswade Primitive Methodist Chapel". My Primitive Methodists. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  95. ^ "A visit to 'Aladdin's cave'". Biggleswade Today. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  96. ^ "Asda opens its doors!". Biggleswade Today. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  97. ^ "Store Guide". A1 Retail Park. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  98. ^ "New shopping centre proves that it's A1". Biggleswade Today. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  99. ^ "Sports Facilities in Biggleswade". Biggleswade Town Council. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  100. ^ "Saxon Pool & Leisure Centre". SLL. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  101. ^ "Franklin Recreation Ground". Biggleswade History Society. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  102. ^ "Biggleswade Green Wheel" (PDF). Central Bedfordshire. Copyright © Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  103. ^ "Kingfisher Way Walk". Let's Go!. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  104. ^ "Our Cause/History". Biggleswade Carnival. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  105. ^ Blog publishing a day of the diary daily with notes: Retrieved 6 August 2017. Archived 24 October 2017 at the Wayback Machine
  106. ^ "John Byng, The Torrington Diaries: Containing the tours through England And Wales of the Hon. John Byng (Later Fifth Viscount Torrington) between the years 1781 and 1794". Vision of Britain. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  107. ^ "Town Twinning". Biggleswade Community Web. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  108. ^ "One new village east of Biggleswade". Central Bedfordshire. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  109. ^ "Land to the East of Baden Powell Way Biggleswade". Central Bedfordshire.
  110. ^ "Henry Ryland 1856-1924". Papillon Gallery. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  111. ^ "Dan Albone". Biggleswade History Society. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  112. ^ "Charles Penrose and Fanny Blows". Biggleswade History Society. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  113. ^ "The Search for Christine Chaundler (1887-1972)". Sandy & Biggleswade Bulletin. Rosetta Publishing Limited. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  114. ^ "Philip E. High Bus driver turned sci-fi writer". The Independent. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  115. ^ "Ian Mantle; Engineering entrepreneur and motor sports enthusiast whose achievements ranged from the fields of caravans to rally cars". Gale OneFile: News. Times [London, England], 31 Aug. 2010, p. 49. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  116. ^ "Derek Scott". The Stage. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  117. ^ "William Windham". Sports-Reference. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  118. ^ "Angling legend Dick Walker is honoured with a blue plaque". Biggleswade Today. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  119. ^ "WELCOME TO BIGGLESWADE CAT LODGE". Biggleswade Cat Lodge. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  120. ^ Town Council. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  121. ^ "Mary Tealby". Biggleswade History Society. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  122. ^ "Swiss Garden". Shuttleworth. Retrieved 25 September 2019.

External links[edit]