Arlesey or Arlsey, a village and a parish in Bedfordshire. The village stands on the river Hiz, 4 miles S of Biggleswade. The G.N.R. passes through the parish, and has two stations, Arlesey and "Three Counties." There is a post and telegraph office under Hitchin. It was formerly a market-town. The parish comprises 2344 acres; population of the civil parish, 2108; of the ecclesiastical, 2162. There are extensive cement works, and a large brick and tile manufactory here, and the making of strawplait is also carried on to a considerable extent. An ancient castle stood at Etonbury, near the road to Baldock; and appears, from an entrenchment which still remains, to have been a place of considerable strength. The living is a vicarage, united with Astwick rectory, in the diocese of Ely; joint yearly value, £300. The church is a plain stone building in the Early English, Decorated, and Perpendicular styles. There are also Primitive Methodist and Wesleyan chapels.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Arlsey St. Peter|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The parish register of baptisms dates from 1538; marriages and burials, 1539
The Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service (BLARS) hold the registers for Arlesey: Baptisms 1538-1992, Marriages 1538-1976, Burials 1538-1963, Banns 1932-1991. 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 (parish church)
The parish church of St. Peter is a plain edifice of stone, in the Early English, Decorated, and Perpendicular styles, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, south chapel, south porch and a massive western tower of stone, pebbles and cement, erected in 1187, and containing 6 bells: the font has an octagonal basin, the sides of which are richly panelled and carved, and below are figures cherubim: there are two stained windows in the chancel, and one at the west end: the church contains some fine marble monuments to the Brown and Edwards families. In the north chapel is an Easter sepulchre of the Tudor period. The ancient music gallery was restored and a new organ was provided in 1910 at a cost of £600.
The Wesleyan chapel, erected in 1850, will seat 300
For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.
Arlesey was in Biggleswade Registration District from 1837 to 1974
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Arlesey from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858. (Arlsey (St. Peter))
- Kelly's Directory of Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire, and Northamptonshire, 1914
Land and Property
The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Bedfordshire is available to browse.
Online maps of Arlesey are available from a number of sites:
- Bing (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- Google Streetview.
- National Library of Scotland. (Old maps)
- old-maps.co.uk (Old Ordnance Survey maps to buy).
- Streetmap.co.uk (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- A Vision of Britain through Time. (Old maps)
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
Arlesey was in Biggleswade Poor Law Union. For further detailed history of the Biggleswade Union see Peter Higginbotham's excellent resource: Poor Law Union and Workhouse.
A full transcript of the Visitations of Bedfordshire 1566, 1582, and 1634 is available online.