The settlement was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as a parish within the Hundred of Willey but was probably first developed pre Saxon times. The name is believed to be derived from the word sharn which has its origins in the Hebrew language and it is still used largely in English as a form of the English Jane. The oldest surviving building, St Peter's Church, is Norman. Many of the older buildings in the village are constructed of the local oolitic limestone, also used in other traditional north Bedfordshire settlements.
Situated just north of a loop in the River Great Ouse and almost due north of Bedford, the village has developed as a ribbon-settlement running south-east to north-west, with the core of the community clustered at the north-western end.
The village has two schools, the larger of which Sharnbrook Upper School and Community College has a campus on the west of the village, serves a wide area and was attended by the marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe, who opened the Paula Radcliffe Sharnbrook Community Sports Centre named after her in April 2005. This Community Sports Centre is not only for students but also serves the wider local community of North Bedfordshire with sporting facilities. Students are aged from 13 to 18 and take both GCSE and A Level exams. The village's other school is John Gibbard Lower School which caters for young children aged from 3–9 years old who live in the immediate area and is one of the feeder schools for Margaret Beaufort Middle School which is located in the nearby village of Riseley.
Another major presence is the multinational company Unilever which has a research centre on the north-western edge of the village. This uses the grounds of Colworth House, originally built in the early 17th century and rebuilt in its present form by 1774 as a private house. The house itself is used as office space, with modern laboratory buildings beside and behind it. The site is being turned into a science park for use by a number of companies.
Sharnbrook railway station opened in 1857, but was closed in 1960.
Britain's youngest father
In 1998, Sharnbrook resident Sean Stewart become the youngest father in Britain at only twelve years of age. He lived next door to the mother of his child, who was four years older than he. The child was conceived when the pair were only 11 and 15. The girl said Stewart had told her he was her age when they started going out. Some also consider Bailey to be the youngest father ever recorded.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sharnbrook.|
- Colworth Park
- The Sharnbrook Village Website
- Sharnbrook Upper School Website
- The Sharnbrook Upper School Alumni Website
- The Paula Radcliffe Sharnbrook Community Sports Centre Website
- Sharnbrook Evangelical Church