Tempsford, a parish, with a village, in Beds, at the confluence of the rivers Ouse and Ivel, on the Great North Road, and adjacent to the G.N.R., 4½ miles SSW of St Neots. It has a station on the railway, and a post office under Sandy; money order and telegraph office, Blunham. Acreage, 2341; population, 492. There is a parish council consisting of seven members. The manor, with most of the land, belongs to the Stuart family. Tempsford Hall is a mansion of red brick and sandstone standing in a park of about 60 acres. The Danes for some time held the land, and were expelled by the Saxons in 921. A moated earthwork near the rectory, called the " Gannocks," is believed to be the remains of a Roman fort. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Ely; net value, £278 with residence. Patron, the Crown. The church, which was well restored in 1874, is an ancient edifice of stone chiefly in the Perpendicular style.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Tempsford St. Peter|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The parish registers date from the year 1600, but much earlier though nearly illegible records also exist.
The Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service (BLARS) hold the registers for Tempsford: Baptisms 1604-1922, Marriages 1604-1980, Burials 1604-1999, Banns 1823-1988. 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 present church of St. Peter is an ancient building of stone, chiefly in the Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, north and south porches and an embattled western tower containing a clock and 6 bells: the bells were recast and rehung in 1924: the interior has the following inscription Will Sanderson, Gent., and Thomas Staple, yeo., overseers of this new work, and patentyes of his Majesty's letters patent granted for the same, May 12th, 1621: there is an inscribed stone to the Very Rev. D. Knightley Chetwode, Dean of Gloucester, one to his wife, and a piscina: by the liberality of the late William Stuart esq. and the late Colonel William Stuart, the whole edifice underwent thorough restoration in 1874, at a cost of upwards of £2,000; the rectory wall also rebuilt and the churchyard enlarged: during the restoration an ancient mural painting, supposed to represent St. Catherine, was discovered on the north wall of the nave, and is still in an excellent state of preservation: a new organ was provided in 1898 at a cost of £140: a memorial window and a brass tablet were erected in 1919 to those who fell in the Great War, 1914-18, and an oak panel to those who returned: on the north side of the chancel and over the side altar, there are stained windows, the gifts of the Rev. Dr. Walker, vicar of Newark-on-Trent: in 1931 a lych gate was erected in memory of Mrs. Williamson. A continuous list of the rectors of Tempsford, dating from 1129, is placed in the church.
For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.
Tempsford was in Biggleswade Registration District from 1837 to 1974
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Tempsford from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, 1848 (Tempsford (St. Peter))
Land and Property
The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Bedfordshire is available to browse.
Online maps of Tempsford 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
Tempsford 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.