Shefford, a small market-town and a township-chapelry in Campton parish, Beds. The town stands on the river Ivel, and on the Bedford and Hitchin branch of the M.R., on which it has a station, 9½ miles SE of Bedford. It consists of spacious, well-paved, well-lighted, and cleanly streets, which are kept in good order out of the proceeds of an estate bequeathed to the town in the reign of Elizabeth by Robert Lucas. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office (R.S.O.), a good inn, a subscription library and reading room, a weekly market on Friday, and a fair on Oct. 11. The land around the town is well-cultivated, and large quantities of onions and potatoes are grown for the London markets. Many fine Roman relics were found in a field adjoining the town, and were purchased for the Fitzwilliam museum in Cambridge. There is also a Roman camp at Stanford Bury, about a mile north of the town, which has furnished some exquisite specimens of Roman glass. The living is a chapelry annexed to Campton; and the church, a plain building of stone, with a tower of 14th century date, is a chapel of ease to Campton. There is a Roman Catholic church, which was opened in 1884, and there are a Roman Catholic orphanage and a seminary for priests. Other places of worship are Baptist and Wesleyan chapels. The poet Blomfield lived for some years in this town, and died here in 1823. Area of the township, 144 acres; population, 990; of the ecclesiastical district, with Campton, 1438.
There is no independent register except for marriages, for which the church was licensed in 1873; the earlier register is included in that of Campton, which dates from the year 1568.
The Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service (BLARS) hold the registers for Shefford: Baptisms 1902-1997, Marriages 1873-1998, Burials 1906-1966, Banns 1874-1994
Church of England
St. Michael and All Angels (parish church)
The church of St. Michael is a plain edifice of stone, with an ancient Perpendicular western tower, containing one bell: the tower and north aisle date from the 15th century: the church was enlarged, restored and reseated in 1850, again partially restored in 1902, and will seat about 400 persons.
Shefford was in Biggleswade Registration District from 1837 to 1974
Land and Property
The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Bedfordshire is available to browse.
Online maps of Shefford 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
Shefford 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.