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Langford shown within Bedfordshire
|Population||2,882 (2001 census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Unitary authority||Central Bedfordshire|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Dialling code||01462 and 01767|
|Fire||Bedfordshire and Luton|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
|UK Parliament||North East Bedfordshire|
The village is of Saxon origin, first mentioned in 944 AD and at one time it had one or more fording points across the river. The name is based on the words long ford from the length of the settlement. At the time of the Domesday Book 1086, the population was around 21. The parish church is St. Andrew's, which is part of the Church of England and there is also a substantial Methodist chapel. Before 1066 the lord of Langford was Lewin, a thane of Edward the Confessor. William the Conqueror granted the village to Walter le Fleming. In 1142 Walter's descendant Simon de Wahull gave land to the Knights Templar, who established themselves as Lords of the Manor of Langford Rectory.
The entry in the Domesday Book reads: Langeford: Walter of Flanders. 2 mills.
Langford is three miles (5 km) south of Biggleswade and has been a settlement on the east bank of the river Ivel since Saxon times. It is a long straggling village which at one time had two or three fording points over the river, hence its name. The village now starts at the Baulk corner and it is nearly three miles to the Running Waters at the north end of the village.
On the west side of the river Ivel is part of the Ivel Valley countryside project, namely, Henlow Common and Langford Meadows Local Nature Reserve. This is a 47-acre (190,000 m2) reserve and despite its name, Henlow Common is situated in Langford parish. It came to Langford in 1985 after an exchange of land between the two parishes, as a registered common it keeps its original name. Dams Ditch, earlier called Adams Ditch, runs through the middle of the reserve. It is more like a small river than a ditch.
The village has grown enormously since 1961 when the population was 1,250, then the housing estates were taking over the fields and meadows, so that by 1976 it had doubled to 2,500 and in 2001 it was 4,000.
There is a lower school in the middle of the village, opposite St. Andrew's Church. Local commerce includes a long-established garden centre, a garage and filling station, two remaining pubs and a private members' club, two convenience shops including one with a post office, a butcher's shop, hairdressers and an office equipment supplier. Although there was a railway halt on the East Coast Main Line, this is long defunct and passengers must go to Biggleswade or Arlesey for railway services.
The village has a football club (Langford), who currently compete in the Spartan South Midlands League Division One and play their home matches at Forde Park. The women's team currently compete in the South East Combination Women's League. A few seasons ago, they were members of the Women's Premier League, playing against teams such as Chelsea, Ipswich Town and Millwall.
Langford has a King George's Field in memory of King George V, which is the home of the local youth football side, Langford Youth. They play there from September through to the end of April. During the summer months, it is the home of Langford Cricket Club, who play there from May through to the end of August. Langford Tennis Club has two floodlit courts and compete in the Bedfordshire LTA leagues.
Ben Whishaw, stage and film actor who plays Q in recent James Bond episodes, spent part of his childhood in Langford; he attended local schools as well as taking part in local amateur theatre productions in the village.
- 'The People at the Long Ford' by Michael Rutt – pub. Bedfordshire County Council 1975.
- Langford History Society
- R. M. Cook, ‘Lawrence, Arnold Walter (1900–1991)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, May 2009
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