Harrold, Bedfordshire

Harrold, a small market-town and parish in Bedfordshire. The town stands on the river Ouse, 2 1/2 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.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5


Old maps of Harrold are available on the old-maps.co.uk site, and a current map is available on the Streetmap.co.uk site.

Parish Records

The parish register dates from the year 1598.

Places of worship

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.

There is a Congregational chapel, enlarged in 1863.

Poor Law

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.