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Toddington, Bedfordshire

Historical Description

Toddington, an old town and an extensive parish in Bedfordshire. The town stands 2 miles SW from Harlington station on the M.R., and 5 SE from Woburn. It presents an ancient appearance, is very irregularly built, and has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Dunstable. The parish comprises 5535 acres; population, 2087. There Is a parish council consisting of fifteen members. Straw-plait is manufactured, but not to a great extent. The manor, with most of the land, belongs to the Cooper family. The Manor House was originally the seat of Sir Paulinus Peyore, steward of Henry III., and was afterwards rebuilt in magnificent style by Baron Cheney of Toddington in the reign of Henry VIII., and from the Cheney family it passed to the Wentworths, being at one time the residence of the Earls of Cleveland and of the Earl of Strafford. Some Roman Antiquities have been found. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Ely; net value, £600 with residence. The church is remarkable for the finely-carved frieze running round the whole length of the N transept under the battlements, as also for its three-storeyed parvise or priest's chamber, which is believed to be almost unique. These chambers are accounted for by the requirements of the chantry priests, the N and S transepts being private property still, with their own separate dedications. The church itself is dedicated to St George of England, being the only church of this dedication in Bedfordshire; the transepts to St James and St Paul respectively. There are Baptist, Primitive Methodist, and Wesleyan chapels. Toddington, a village and a parish in Gloucestershire, 4 miles N of Winchcomb, and 4¼ E by S of Beckford station on the M.R. The village has a post office under Winchcomb (R.S.O.); money order office, Winchcomb; telegraph office, Stanway. The parish comprises 1828 acres; population of the civil parish, 236; of the ecclesiastical, with Stanley Pontlarge, 327. Toddington House, the seat of Lord Sudeley, is a magnificent mansion, erected in 1835 in the style of a mediaeval monastic edifice. It stands in an extensive well-timbered park. The manor belonged to Lord Sudeley's ancestors before the Conquest. There are fruit orchards of over 500 acres. The living is a vicarage, united with Stanley Pontlarge, in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol; net value, £30 with residence. Patron, Lord Sudeley. The church was built in 1877 by Lord Sudeley in place of a previous edifice. It is in the Early English style, and was designed by Street, and has a mortuary chapel with a monument to the first Lord Sudeley and his wife.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5

Administration

The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyBedfordshire 
Ecclesiastical parishToddington St. George 
HundredManshead 

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


Church Records

The parish register dates from 1540, and is in a fair state of preservation; the 4th vol. contains a large and interesting collection of briefs from 1653 to 1810.

The Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service (BLARS) hold the registers for Toddington: Baptisms 1558-1970, Marriages 1558-1990, Burials 1558-1922, Banns 1823-1874, 1896-1974. Transcripts in either book or microfiche form for registers prior to 1813 can be purchased from the BLARS (see website for details).


Churches

Church of England

St. George (parish church)

The church of St. George is a noble cruciform structure, chiefly in the Early English and Perpendicular styles, consisting of chancel, with sacristy of two storeys, clerestoried nave of four bays, aisles, transepts, south porch, and a central embattled tower of three stages, with angle turret, and containing a clock, with chimes, erected during 1862-75 and 8 bells, originally all cast in 1792, but in 1906 5 bells were re-cast and 3 re-tuned, at a cost of £500 and the whole rehung; there is also a sanctus bell, dated 1665: the nave arcades and the lower stage of the tower are Early English; the upper stage, aisle and clerestory, Perpendicular: the north aisle and transept, as well as the vestry, have a singular cornice, highly enriched with grotesque figures of human beings, beasts and birds: the roof displays elaborately carved figures of angels holding shields, wreaths, and other ornaments; in the south transept, under an arched recess in the south wall, are two tombs with recumbent effigies of marble, the western-most being that of a knight in armour, with surcoat of his arms, and on either side an angel holding across his breast an inscribed scroll; the figure represents Thomas Peyvre, 1429, a descendant of Paulinus Peyvre, who held the manor in the reign of Henry III.; the other effigy is that of a female in mantle and richly jewelled wreath, representing Margaret (Loring), wife of the preceding Thomas; the inscriptions, now lost, are given in Cott. MSS. Cleop. c. iii. f. 8, Brit. Mus.: against the west wall is the cross-legged effigy of a knight with the arms of Peyvre on his surcoat, supposed to represent Nicolas Peyvre, 1361-2, father of the above: another tomb, the sides of which are adorned with shields of arms, is inscribed to Anne (Broughton), 1561, wife of Sir Thomas Cheyne kt. K.G. lord warden of the Cinque Ports; the next is an alabaster tomb, now much mutdlated and partly of brick, with an effigy in rich armour of Henry Cheyne, baron Cheyne of Toddington, 1587, son of the foregoing; and one more tomb bears the effigy of his wife Jane (Wentworth), 1614, attired in wimple and mantle: in the north transept are several tombs of the Wentworth family, who held the manor in the 17th and 18th centuries, including one erected at a cost of £2,000, to Henrietta Maria, baroness Wentworth, 1686, daughter and sole heir of Thomas, Lord Wentworth and Philadelphia (Cary) his wife, both of whom, as well as Thomas, earl of Cleveland, are interred beneath: on the opposite side is a large canopied mural monument to Maria, 1632, eldest daughter of Thomas, earl of Cleveland, and Ann (Crofts) his wife; here are also buried William, 1623, and Charles, 1622, sons of the same peer: in the chancel is a monument to Gyles Bruse esq, 1595, youngest son of Sir John Bruse, of Great Wenham, Suffolk kt. placed by his sister Alice, his tomb, with inscription, being under the chancel arch; there are also brasses to Thomas Claver, rector, 1654; and Thomas Pennington, gent. 1643, and some fragments: King James I. attended divine service in this church on the 24th July, 1608: a portion of the fabric was restored, at a cost of about £3,000, by the Rev. John Clegg M.A. rector 1862-75, and the Rev. C. E. Haslam, rector 1876-86, and during the year 1893 further restoration was carried out, at an additional cost of nearly £1,000; and in the course of the work, during the period 1862-86, several mural paintings were discovered on both sides of the nave and over the north door: in 1909 a pair of brass candelabra were presented by Mrs. Hicks: there are sittings for 750 persons.


Civil Registration

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

Toddington was in Woburn Registration District from 1837 to 1899, Ampthill Registration District from 1899 to 1935, and Luton Registration District from 1935 to 1964


Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Toddington from the following:


Land and Property

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


Maps

Online maps of Toddington 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

Toddington was in Woburn Poor Law Union from 1835-1899 when it transferred to Ampthill Poor Law Union. For further detailed history of the Ampthill Union see Peter Higginbotham's excellent resource: Ampthill Poor Law Union and Workhouse.


Villages, Hamlets, &c

Chalton

Visitations Heraldic

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

CountyCentral Bedfordshire
RegionEastern
CountryEngland
Postal districtLU5
Post TownDunstable