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Northill, Bedfordshire

Historical Description

Northill, a village and a large parish in Beds. The village stands near the river Ivel, 3 miles SW of Sandy station on the G.N.R. and L. & N.W.R., and 4 WNW of Biggleswade, and has a post office under Biggleswade; money order office, Old Warden; telegraph office, Sandy. The parish contains also the hamlets of Thorncote, Budna, Hatch, Ickwell, Brookend, Upper Caldecote, and Lower Caldecote. Acreage, 4140; population of the civil parish, 1419; of the ecclesiastical, 1408. An old rhyme in reference to the many hamlets asserts that-" Ickwell and Northill, Calcote and Hatch, Beeston and Thorncote, all go to one church."

The manor belongs to the Harvey family. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Ely; gross value, £480 with residence. Patrons, the Grocers' Company of London. The church is an ancient and very fine building of dark red sandstone, partly in the Decorated and partly in the Perpendicular styles, was restored in 1862 at a cost of £2000, comprises nave, aisles, and chancel, with an embattled western tower, and was made collegiate in the time of Henry IV. by the Tralleys. It contains some very good carved stalls with misereres and desks in the chancel. A chapel of ease was erected in 1867 at Upper Caldecote, and is a cruciform building of stone in the Byzantine style. There are some small charities and five almshouses, which were erected and endowed in 1876. Ickwell Bury is a fine mansion of red brick in the Queen Anne style, standing in the midst of a park of 150 acres. Ickwell House is a very ancient and interesting building formerly surrounded by a moat, and is supposed to be the oldest house in the county. There is an ancient earthwork in the parish either of ancient British or Roman origin.

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


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyBedfordshire 
Ecclesiastical parishNorthill St. Mary 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records

The parish register dates from the year 1562, but are only continuous from 1727.

The Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service (BLARS) hold the registers for Northill: Baptisms 1562-1894, Marriages 1562-1971, Burials 1562-2001, Banns 1816-1941. 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

The Church of All Saints, Caldecote, a chapel of ease to the parish church of Northill, was erected at a cost of about £2,100, of which £1,200 was given by Mrs. Arthur Pott, widow of a former rector, and £1,000 and a site for the church, glebe-house and schools, by J. Harvey esq.: it is a cruciform edifice of brick, in the Byzantine style, and consists of chancel, nave, transepts and small baptistery at the west end, and a central bell-cot, with 2 bells: there are 250 sittings.

St. Mary (parish church)

The church of St. Mary, once collegiate, is a noble and picturesque building of dark red sandstone, partly in the Decorated style and partly Perpendicular, and consists of chancel, nave, aisles, south porch, with parvise, and an embattled western tower with angle turret and containing 5 bells: the stained heraldic glass, formerly in the east window, has been inserted elsewhere, and a new east window was erected in 1885 by the Grocers' Company, who are the patrons: at the west end are three memorial windows to the Harvey family; there is another, erected in 1897, to Miss Beatrice Harvey; and on the north wall are various hatchments of the same family, some dating back to the 17th century: the church retains six ancient stalls, four piscinae and some curious tiles; it was restored in 1862, at a cost of £2,000, and in 1882 a memorial pulpit was erected to the parents of the Rev. Francis Pott M.A. rector, 1866-90: the porch has a handsome groined roof of the 15th century: a curious brass, with Latin inscription., transferred from Ampthill church in 1890, commemorates Sir Nicholas Hervey, who died suddenly at Ampthill in 1532, while on a supposed confidential mission for King Henry VIII.: in 1904 the east end of the south aisle was furnished as a side chapel, and enclosed with low rails: there are sittings for 250 persons.

Civil Registration

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

Northill was in Biggleswade Registration District from 1837 to 1974

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Northill from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Northill are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

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

Poor Law

Northill 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.

Villages, Hamlets, &c


Visitations Heraldic

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

CountyCentral Bedfordshire
Postal districtSG18
Post TownBiggleswade