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Bedford St Cuthbert, Bedfordshire

Historical Description

St Cuthbert is an ecclesiastical and civil parish in Bedford. St Cuthbert's Church was rebuilt in 1847, is in the Norman style, and was enlarged in 1865, and again in 1877. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Ely; net yearly value, £350 with residence, in the gift of the Lord Chancellor. Population of the ecclesiastical and civil parishes of St Cuthbert, 3324.

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

Church Records

The parish register dates from 1607, and contains, among other details of interest, the record of the baptism of a child of John Bunyan, who was some time a parishioner of St. Cuthbert's.

The Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service (BLARS) hold the registers for Bedford St. Cuthbert: Baptisms 1607-1968, Marriages 1607-1974, Burials 1607-1857, Banns 1812-1973, 1961-1963. Transcripts in either book or microfiche form for registers prior to 1813 can be purchased from the BLARS (see website for details).


Churches

Church of England

St. Cuthbert, St. Cuthbert's Street (parish church)

St. Cuthbert's church, on the east side of the town, so named in honour of St. Cuthbert of Durham, is said to have been founded by Offa, King of Mercia, A.D. 772, and, if so, would be the oldest existing ecclesiastical foundation in Bedford: the former building, consisting of a small nave and chancel under one roof, with a bell turret, was replaced in 1847 by the present edifice, which, is of stone, in the Transition style, and was built at a cost of £2,100 on the site of the ancient church, erected: in the 8th century: the church, which stands in a pretty and well-planted churchyard, consists of chancel, nave, aisles, transepts and a low but massive central tower containing 1 bell, renewed in 1903 at a cost of £80: at the end of the north transept is a clock: the church has been twice enlarged; first in 1865, when the aisles were built at a cost of £1,600, and subsequently in 1877, when the building was extended westward, a cloister porch added on the west front and an organ chamber erected on the north side of the chancel, at a total cost; of about £1,350: on the erection of a new organ chamber on the south side of the chancel in 1r886, the former chamber was converted into a vestry: the organ, built at the same time, replaced the former organ, built in 1865; the total cost of organ and chamber was £616; the organ was enlarged in 1887 at a cost of £65, and there are three stained windows with figures of saints: the fittings of the church are of solid oak, obtained from Chicheley Park, Bucks: the east window is stained, and contains a figure of St. Cuthbert; several other stained windows have been presented to the church as memorials: the communion plate includes an ancient silver chalice and a modern service, presented by Mr. T. Wooldridge: the brass lectern was the gift of the late Ald. Horsford, who also left a legacy in money, which has been expended in the erection of a massive oak screen, between the chancel and the vestry, and in other improvements: the church affords 1,200 sittings.

Christ church, in Goldington road, a chapel of ease to St. Cuthbert's, is an iron structure, originally erected in 1883 in Castle road, at a cost of £1,150, and removed to its present site in 1902.


Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

St. Cuthbert was in Bedford Registration District from 1837 to 1934


Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Bedfordshire is available to browse.


Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Bedfordshire papers online:


Poor Law

Bedford St Cuthbert 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.


Population

We have transcribed the list of Private Residents in Bedford, from Kelly's Directory of Bedfordshire, 1890 and 1910.


Visitations Heraldic

A full transcript of the Visitations of Bedfordshire 1566, 1582, and 1634 is available online.