Harrold, a small market-town and parish in Bedfordshire. The town stands on the river Ouse, 2 ½ miles ENE from the meeting-point with Bucks and Northamptonshire, 4 WSW from Sharnbrook station on the M.R., and 9 NW from Bedford; was formerly called Harewold or Harewood, and has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Bedford, a neat market-house, a good bridge over the Ouse, a church, a large Congregational chapel, and six almshouses. The church, which is a building of stone in the Transitional, Early English, and Decorated styles, consists of nave, aisles, and double chancel, with tower and spire, is in good condition, and has an ancient monument to Lady Joliffe. Cattle fairs were formerly held three times a year, but they have now ceased. Leather-dressing and lace-making are carried on. The parish comprises 3242 acres; population, 976. The manor belongs to the Cowper family. A small Augustinian priory was founded near the town in the time of Stephen, and was given at the dissolution to Lord Parr. A mansion called Harrold Hall, belonging to the Alston family, and a farmhouse belonging to the Gambiers, are now on the priory's grounds. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Ely; net yearly value, £181 with residence. Patron, Earl Cowper.
The parish register dates from the year 1598.
The Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service (BLARS) hold the registers for Harrold: Baptisms 1598-1990, Marriages 1598-1994, Burials 1598-1991, Banns 1754-1978. Transcripts in either book or microfiche form for registers prior to 1813 can be purchased from the BLARS (see website for details).
Church of England
St. Peter's and All Saints' (parish church)
The church of St. Peter's or All Saints', the dedication being doubtful, is an edifice of stone, in the Transition-Norman, Early English and Decorated styles, consisting of north chapel, clerestoried nave, aisles and a western tower, with pinnacles and spire, and containing a clock and 6 bells: the font has a circular basin, supported on four shafts; the rood screen remains, and the pulpit and prayer desk are both partially constructed of old carved oak: in the chancel is an ancient mural monument, with bust, to the Hon. Anne Joliffe, who founded six almshouses in this town for six aged widows: on the south side of the chancel is an altar tomb to Oliver Boteler esq. 1657: there is also a memorial to Anne, second wife of the distinguished physician, Dr. Richard Mead, inscribed stones to James Boteler, 1690, and Judith his wife, 1712; and memorials to the Alston, Joliffe, Gybbon, Fisher and other families: the church plate includes a chalice dated 1699, a paten given by the Hon. Anne Joliffe in 1728, and a flagon presented by the Hon. Lady Temperance Wolstenholm in 1726; all of silver: in 1906 the church was partly restored at a cost of about £400, and will seat 400 persons.
For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.
Harrold was in Bedford Registration District from 1837 to 1974
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Bedfordshire papers online:
- Bedfordshire Times and Independent
- Biggleswade Chronicle
- Luton Times and Advertiser
- Luton News and Bedfordshire Chronicle
Harrold was in Bedford Poor Law Union. For further detailed history of the Bedford Union see Peter Higginbotham's excellent resource: Bedford Poor Law Union and Workhouse.
A full transcript of the Visitations of Bedfordshire 1566, 1582, and 1634 is available online.