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Potton, Bedfordshire

Historical Description

Potton, a small market-town and a parish in Beds. The town stands in a picturesque tract, near the Bedford and Cambridge branch of the L. & N.W.R., on which it has a station, 1 mile S of the boundary with Cambridgeshire, 4 miles NE of Biggleswade, and 2½ E of Sandy station on the G.N.R. A great portion of it was destroyed by fire in 1783. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Sandy. Area of the parish, 2676 acres; population, 1907. There is a parish council consisting of thirteen members. The industries of Rotton include the manufacture of bead work for ladies' dresses and bonnets, leather leggings, shoes, fellmongery, wool stapling, and the making of parchment. There are also works for the manufacture of agricultural implements and a steam flour-mill. Much of the land is laid out in market gardens, the produce being disposed of in some of the larg& towns of the midlands and in London. Coprolites are found here in considerable quantities. The market-house stands in a large open square, and has a clock-turret. Fairs are held on the third Monday and Tuesday in January after the 12th (" old style "), and Easter Monday and Tuesday; there is also a statute or hiring fair about three weeks previous to 11 Oct. The town is well drained, and has an excellent water supply derived from springs. The manor belonged to John of Gaunt, passed to the Burgoynes, and belongs now to the Whitbread family. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Ely; net value, £328 with residence, in the gift of the Lord Chancellor. The church stands on an eminence a short distance from the town, and is a building of stone partly Norman and partly Perpendicular, consisting of chancel, nave,. N and S aisles, S porch, and an embattled western tower. It was partly restored in 1889. There are Baptist, Congregational, and Wesleyan chapels. A cemetery of 2 acres was formed in 1880, and has a mortuary chapel. The charities are worth about £240 a year.

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 parishPotton St. Mary 

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

Church Records

The parish register dates from the year 1614.

The Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service (BLARS) hold the registers for Potton: Baptisms 1614-1983, Marriages 1614-1980, Burials 1614-1948, Banns 1807-1961. 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 (parish church)

The church of St. Mary, standing on an eminence a short distance from the town, is an edifice of stone in the Perpendicular style, and consists of chancel, nave of five bays, aisles and north porch, with parvise or priest's chamber, and an embattled western tower with a circular turret at the north-east angle and containing 6 bells: there is a Norman font, a piscina, and remains of the stairs to the rood loft: on the east wall of the porch are traces of an ancient brass, with a chalice in the centre: there are five stained windows, two of which were erected by the late James Poole Wagstaff esq. F.R.G.S., D.L., J.P. (d. 1904) as memorials to his father and mother, and in 1880 the chancel and aisles were reroofed and reseated: there are 500 sittings.

Civil Registration

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

Potton was in Biggleswade Registration District from 1837 to 1974

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Potton from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Potton 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

Potton 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 districtSG19
Post TownSandy