Houghton Conquest, Bedfordshire
Houghton Conquest, a village and a parish in Beds. The village stands 3 miles NNE from Ampthill station on the M.R., and has another at Millbrook on the L. & N.W., and a post office under Ampthill; money order and telegraph office, Ampthill. Acreage of parish, 3431; population, 579. Houghton Park estate belonged anciently to the Conquests, passed in 1615 to the celebrated Countess of Pembroke, sister of Sir Philip Sidney, went afterwards through several hands to the Duke of Bedford, was sold soon after 1794 to Lord Ossory, has returned to the Duke of Bedford, and is now a farm. The mansion on it was built by the Countess of Pembroke, is said to have been a handsome edifice, was reduced to a shell in 1794, and is now a ruin. Ampthill Park belongs to the Duke of Bedford. James I. was entertained in 1605 by Sir Richard Conquest at Conquest Bury, the remains of which were taken down many years ago, and the grounds are now converted into a farm. The living is a rectory, united with the rectory of Houghton Gildable, in the diocese of Ely; net value, £376 with residence. Patron, St John's College, Cambridge. The church is a large and elegant building in the Perpendicular and Decorated styles, containing some interesting monuments and imperfect brasses. A beautiful E window was placed in the church by the late Dean Bargon, in memory of three lady benefactors of the church. There are Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist chapels, six endowed almshouses, and some charities The Duke of Bedford is lord of the manor. Dr Archer, chaplain to James I., and Dr Zachary Grey, editor of Butler's " Hudi-bras," were rectors.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Houghton-Conquest All Saints|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The parish register dates from the year 1595. The parish registers of Houghton Conquest, 1539-1594, are in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, having been purchased by the curators in 1884.
The Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service (BLARS) hold the registers for Houghton Conquest: Baptisms 1595-1975, Marriages 1595-1999, Burials 1595-1947, Banns 1824-1987. 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
All Saints (parish church)
The church of All Saints is a spacious and elegant structure, in the Decorated and Perpendicular styles, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, south porch and an embattled tower, erected in 1393 and containing 6 bells: it was restored in 1870 by the late Sir G. Gilbert Scott R.A.: the stained east window, erected in 1880 by the late Very Rev. John Burgon M.A. Dean of Chichester (d. 1888), is a memorial to three benefactors, Eliza Hargrave and Mary and Sarah Windle: the walls of the aisles bear traces of frescoes, the designs of which are in some parts sufficiently distinct to be distinguished: over the north doorway is a huge painting of St. Christopher, of the 15th century: on the north wall of the chancel is a monument of carved alabaster consisting of 8 species of framework in which is set the figure of Dr. Archer, rector (1589-1631), in the act of exhortation, with book in hand, and partially resting upon a cushion; attached is a partially effaced inscription in Latin; he died in 1631: there is also an altar slab to Dame Ann Clearke, 1644, and two brasses to members of the Conquest family, dated respectively 1493 and 1500.
For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.
Houghton Conquest was in Ampthill Registration District from 1837 to 1974
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Houghton Conquest from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, 1848 (Houghton-Conquest (All Saints))
Land and Property
The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Bedfordshire is available to browse.
Online maps of Houghton Conquest 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
Houghton Conquest was in Ampthill Poor Law Union. For further detailed history of the Ampthill Union see Peter Higginbotham's excellent resource: Ampthill Poor Law Union and Workhouse.
A full transcript of the Visitations of Bedfordshire 1566, 1582, and 1634 is available online.