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Old Warden, Bedfordshire

Historical Description

Warden, Old, a village and a parish in Beds, 1½ mile from Southill station on the Bedford and Hitchin branch of the M.R., 4 miles W from Biggleswade, and 7 SE from Bedford. There is a post, money order, and telegraph office under Biggleswade. Acreage, 33 64; population, 440. There is a parish council consisting of seven members. The manor belongs to the Whitbread family. Old Warden Park is a modern mansion of stone in the Tudor style, standing in a pleasant well-wooded park of about 350 acres. A Cistercian abbey was founded here in 1135 by Walter de Esper, of which only a small fragment remains. At Quince Hill there are the remains of an encampment supposed to be Roman. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Ely; gross value, -£436 with residence, in the gift of the Whitbread family. The church is a building of stone in the Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, S porch, and an embattled western tower. A beautiful east window was inserted in 18 9 0.

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 parishWarden St. Leonard 

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

Church Records

The parish register dates from the year 1576.

The Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service (BLARS) hold the registers for Old Warden: Baptisms 1576-1983, Marriages 1576-1983, Burials 1576-1982, Banns 1755-1813, 1824-1969. 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. Leonard (parish church)

The church of St. Leonard is a building of stone in the Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, nave, south aisle, south porch and an embattled western tower containing 6 bells: it underwent considerable repairs in 1841-2, when the interior was renovated, pews of black oak, elaborately carved, substituted, and several stained windows inserted, the whole being executed at the expense of Robert Henley, third and last baron Ongley, and late owner of the estate, who died in 1877, and whose munificence has been recorded on a mural tablet of brass: in the nave is a marble statue of Sir Samuel Ongley knt. and there are tablets to several of his descendants: there is a picture in the church, either an original by Guercine or a replica; seven stained windows have been placed in the church by Col. F. Shuttleworth; one in the chancel, in memory of Caroline Jane, second wife of Joseph Shuttleworth, ob. Dec. 28, 1899; one in the west wall of the tower represents the Annunciation: one in the south-east corner of the south wall represents St. Stephen, St. Leonard and St Lawrence; one in the eastern end of the south aisle represents the Adoration of the Magi: there is also one containing some fragments of ancient glass, said to have been removed from the abbey: a new organ was placed in the church in 1887 by Col. F. Shuttleworth: in the church, within an alabaster niche, flanked by columns, is a monument to Caroline Jane Shuttleworth, consisting of a life-sized figure clinging to the Cross; there are 250 sittings: the churchyard contains a fine monument to Joseph Shuttleworth, erected by his sons, Alfred and Col. Frank Shuttleworth J.P.

Civil Registration

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

Old Warden was in Biggleswade Registration District from 1837 to 1974

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Old Warden from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Old Warden 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

Old Warden 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.

Visitations Heraldic

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

CountyCentral Bedfordshire
Postal districtSG18
Post TownBiggleswade