Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire
Eaton-Bray, a village and a parish in Beds, on the verge of the county, 1¼ mile S from Stanbridge Ford station on the L. & N.W.R., and 3 miles W by S from Dunstable, with a post, money order, and telegraph office under Dunstable, and giving the title of Baron Braye to the family of Cave Otway. Acreage, 2417; population, 1330. A castle stood here before the early part of the 13th century. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Ely; gross yearly value, £350 with residence. Patron, Trinity College, Cambridge. The church is a building in the Early English and Perpendicular styles. There are Baptist and Wesleyan chapels. Straw-plait is made here in considerable quantities. Damsons and other plums are extensively grown, and ducks are reared for the London market.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Eaton Bray St. Mary|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The parish register dates from the year 1559.
The Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service (BLARS) hold the registers for Eaton Bray: Baptisms 1559-1964, Marriages 1559-1968, Burials 1559-1982, Banns 1798-1812, 1867-1884, 1912-1975. 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. Mary the Virgin (parish church)
The church of St. Mary the Virgin is an edifice in the Early English and Perpendicular styles, presenting many interesting features, and consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, north and south porches and a plain western tower containing 5 bells: the chancel is Perpendicular; the nave arcades Early English; the north aisle mixed, with an embattled reredos: the centre light of the east window in the south aisle is blocked and filled with a fine Perpendicular niche, below which is a richly wrought reredos of the same date in ten compartments: the south door retains some magnificent wrought iron scroll work, of late Early English or Early Decorated origin, supposed to have been the work of Leighton, the famous blacksmith: the Early English font consists of a circular basin on a central column with four attached shafts: at the west end of the south aisle is some late sculptured work, with scrolls, with the shield of Edmund, Lord Braye, impaling his arms with those of his wife Jane (Hallighwell), the royal arms of the Tudors, some badges and the Braye crest, a hemp-brake: there is a fine old tomb with brass effigy to Lady Jane Braye, wife of Sir Edmund Braye (first Baron Braye), 1558, and eleven children: and an inscribed brass to Jane, daughter of Edmund, Lord Braye, 1539. The church has been restored since 1890. The churchyard is now closed to interments.
For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.
Eaton Bray was in Luton Registration District from 1837 to 1846, Leighton Buzzard Registration District from 1846 to 1935, and Luton Registration District from 1935 to 1964
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Eaton Bray from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, 1848 (Eaton, Bray (St. Mary))
- 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 Eaton Bray 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
Eaton Bray was in Luton Poor Law Union until 1845, when it was transferred to Leighton Buzzard Poor Law Union. For further detailed history of the Luton and Leighton Buzzard Unions see Peter Higginbotham's excellent resource: Leighton Buzzard Poor Law Union and Workhouse.
Villages, Hamlets, &cEaton Green (Eaton Bray)
A full transcript of the Visitations of Bedfordshire 1566, 1582, and 1634 is available online.