Meppershall or Mepshall, a parish, with a village, in Beds, near the Hitchin branch of the M.R., 2 miles W from Henlow station, 2 N of the boundary with Herts, and 2 S by W of Shefford. Post town, Shefford, under Biggleswade; money order and telegraph office, Shefford. Acreage, 1965; population, 650. The manor belongs to the trustees of Mrs Kane and Mrs Woodburn. Remains of an old fortification, called the Hills, are near the church. A ruin, now used as a bam, but once a chapel supposed to have belonged to Chicksands Priory, and retaining a very fine Norman door, is on Chapel Farm. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Ely; net value, £291 with residence. Patron, St John's College, Cambridge. The church is a small cruciform building of stone, partly of Norman date, with Early English and Perpendicular additions; consists of chancel, transepts, nave, aisles, and a central tower. It contains some very ancient effigies, and it was restored and partly rebuilt in 1875-76.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Meppershall St. Mary|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The parish register dates from the year 1653.
The Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service (BLARS) hold the registers for Meppershall: Baptisms 1652-1987, Marriages 1654-1973, Burials 1653-1987, Banns 1823-1975. 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 a small cruciform building of stone, partly of Norman date, with Early English and Perpendicular additions and insertions, consisting of chancel, transepts, nave, aisles, and a central tower containing 5 bells: both transepts have recesses for altars and piscinae; there is a brass effigy of a knight in plate armour, with an inscription below to John Meptyshale esq. 1440, and Katherine his wife; the effigy of the latter, two shields and some scrolls, are lost: there is a similar but mutilated knightly effigy, one of a female, and an inscription below to John Boteler esq. 1441, and Elizabeth (Kymbell) his wife: the whole church was restored, the nave rebuilt and aisles added, in 1875-6, at a cost of £3,000.
For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.
Meppershall was in Biggleswade Registration District from 1837 to 1974
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Meppershall from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, 1848 (Meppershall (St. Mary))
Land and Property
The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Bedfordshire is available to browse.
Online maps of Meppershall 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
Meppershall was in Biggleswade Poor Law Union. For further detailed history of the Biggleswade Union see Peter Higginbotham's excellent resource: Biggleswade Poor Law Union and Workhouse.
A full transcript of the Visitations of Bedfordshire 1566, 1582, and 1634 is available online.