Melchbourne, a village and a parish in Bedfordshire. The village stands 2 miles E of the boundary with Northamptonshire, 5 NNE of Sharnbrook station, and 6 ESE of Higham Ferrers station on the L. & N.W.R. and M.R., and was once a market-town. There is a post, money order, andi telegraph office under Sharnbrook (S.O.) The parish comprises 2638 acres; population, 165. Melchbourne Park is Lord St John's seat, was built about the time of James L or Charles I., has been modernized in the front, and stands in a fine park of about 400 acres. A preceptory of Knights Hospitallers was founded here in the time of Henry I. by Alice, Countess of Pembroke, was given by Queen Elizabeth. to the Russells, and has left some remains. The living is a, vicarage in the diocese of Ely; gross value, £55 with residence. The church is a stone building in the Classic style, restored in 1779 effacing an earlier Gothic building; consists of nave, aisles, and chancel, with porch and tower containing in the belfry a Gothic arch. There is a brass of 1377 and two monuments to the St Johns.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Melchbourn St. Mary|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The parish register dates from the year 1706.
The Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service (BLARS) hold the registers for Melchbourne: Baptisms 1706-1994, Marriages 1707-1982, Burials 1706-1995, Banns 1823-1995. 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 Magdalene
The church of St. Mary Magdalene, re-erected (with the exception of part of the tower) in 1779, on the site of an earlier Gothic church, is an edifice in the Classic style, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, north porch and an embattled western tower containing 4 bells, rehung in 1891: the organ was presented by Louisa Lady St. John, in 1858: there are two monuments to Col. the Hon. George St. John, Lavinia (Wolstenholme), his wife and four children, who were all drowned on their passage from Bombay, in 1802; and to Henry Beauchamp, baron St. John of Bletsoe, 1805; and brasses to Robert Paveley and Johanna, his wife, dated 1377; St. Andrew Beauchamp, 14th baron, d. 27th Jan. 1874, and to his widow Eleanor (Hussey), d. 28th Nov. 1899; St. Andrew, 15th baron St. John, d. 2nd Nov. 1887, and to Ellen Georgiana (Senior), his wife, d. 1890. There is also a memorial window to Mary Evelyn Maitland (Senior), d. 20th Aug. 1902. The pulpit is of fine polished mahogany: there are sittings for 400 persons.
For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.
Melchbourne was in Bedford Registration District from 1837 to 1974
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Melchbourne from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858. (Melchbourn (St. Mary))
Land and Property
The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Bedfordshire is available to browse.
Online maps of Melchbourne 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
Melchbourn 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.
A full transcript of the Visitations of Bedfordshire 1566, 1582, and 1634 is available online.