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Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire

Historical Description

Sharnbrook, a large village and a parish in Bedfordshire. The village stands on the river Ouse, and on the main line of the M.R., on which it has a station. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office (S.O.), and a police station. The parish comprises 2387 acres; population, 761. Colworth, a fine country mansion in the Italian style, which was erected between 1720-60, is the seat of the Magniac family, who are lords of the manor. Other residences are Ouse Manor, Shambrook House, and the Toft. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Ely; gross value, £219 with residence. The church is a building of stone chiefly in the Decorated and Perpendicular styles, consisting of chancel with N chapel, nave, aisles, N and S porches, and a western tower with octagonal spire. It was partly rebuilt in 1855, and the tower and spire were restored in 1882. In the church there are several ancient and interesting tombs and monuments. There are two Baptist chapels. Colworth Farm, formerly an extra-parochial tract, is now a parish in Bedford union. It is 2 miles N of Sharnbrook station, has an area of 31 acres and a population of 6, and consists of a small farm and two cottages.

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 parishSharnbrook St. Peter 

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

Church Records

The parish register dates from the year 1596.

The Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service (BLARS) hold the registers for Sharnbrook: Baptisms 1595-1970, Marriages 1653-1984, Burials 1596-1959, Banns 1824-1884, 1904-1941. 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

St. Peter (parish church)

The church of St. Peter is an edifice of stone, chiefly of the Decorated period, with Perpendicular insertions, consisting of chancel, with a large north or Tofte chapel, nave of four bays, aisles, north and south porches, and a western tower with pierced parapet, with pinnacles, and octagonal spire relieved by three tiers of dormers, and containing a clock and 6 bells: the chancel has a grained piscina, and a seat below the adjoining south window; in the south aisle is another piscina, and in the north chapel are three Early Decorated sedilia and a trefoiled piscina: the font is octagonal and panelled: the east window is a memorial to John Gibbard, 1849, and Mary his wife, 1855, and was erected by their children: there is a brass to William Cobbe kt. 1522, Alys his wife, and Thomas their son; and inscribed stones to Sir William Cobb, 1675; Thomas Cobb esq, 1662, and Dorothy his wife; Thomas Cobb, 1670; and William Cobb, 1687; the monument to Sir Oliver Boteler kt. with shields of arms, and a genealogical account of his family in 1618, formerly in the north chapel, has been removed to the west end of the church, and in its place a monument to Hollingworth Magniac esq, of Colworth, and Helen his wife, was erected in 1887 by the late Charles Magniac esq.; there are other memorials of modern date to the families of Gibbard, Antonie, Magniac and Bullock, the latter including an epitaph of unequalled fulsomeness to John Bullock esq. and Sarah his wife: the church was partially rebuilt and re-roofed in September, 1855, by subscription; the tower and spire were thoroughly restored in 1882, at a cost of £300, and the bells rehung and a sixth bell added, at a cost of £130: there are 210 sittings.

Civil Registration

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

Sharnbrook was in Bedford Registration District from 1837 to 1974

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Sharnbrook from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Sharnbrook 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

Sharnbrook 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.

Visitations Heraldic

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

Postal districtMK44
Post TownBedford