Great Barford shown within Bedfordshire
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Fire||Bedfordshire and Luton|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
|UK Parliament||North East Bedfordshire|
Great Barford is a village and civil parish in Bedfordshire, England, a few miles north-east of Bedford. It lies on the River Great Ouse at grid reference TL129523. It is twinned with Wöllstein, Germany. The village is bypassed by the busy A421 road on the way between Bedford and St Neots in Cambridgeshire, the bypass opening on 24 August 2006.
The village is known for its All Saints Church, with a 15th-century tower, and its similarly ancient bridge. The surroundings and historic buildings make it a favoured destination for canoeing, angling and picnics. Nearby places include Renhold and Blunham.
Great Barford was mentioned in the Domesday Book as an important site, probably as a means of crossing the river that skirts the village. Although the area of the original ford was dug up in 1973, the bridge has existed since at least the 15th century.
The village itself is large and scattered but the majority of the houses are in the south-east of the parish. Throughout the village there are a large variety of houses some dating to the 17th century.
A very early reference to Barford may perhaps be found in a charter by which Offa, King of Mercia, in 792 confirmed various lands to the monastery of St. Albans. The charter purports to have been granted in the place which is called 'Æt beranforda.' The text of the charter is certainly spurious, but the witnesses and dating clause may well have been taken from a genuine instrument. Even so, however, the identification with the present Barford cannot be considered certain.
- Bedfordshire County Council, Population Estimates and Forecasts, estimate for 2007.
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