Willington, a village and a parish in Bedfordshire, 4½ miles E of Bedford, and 2¼ W from Blunham station on the Bedford and Cambridge line of the L. & N.W.R. Post town, Bedford. Acreage, 1660; population, 234. The manor belongs to the Duke of Bedford, who is sole landowner. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Ely; net value, £170 with residence. Patron, the Duke of Bedford. The church, which was restored in 1877 at the cost of the Duke ef Bedford, is an ancient and interesting building of stone in the Early Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, nave, N aisle, S porch, and an embattled western tower. It has some fine tombs and memorials.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Willington St. Lawrence|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The parish register dates from the year 1676.
The Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service (BLARS) hold the registers for Willington: Baptisms 1676-1929, Marriages 1676-1983, Burials 1676-1837, Banns 1755-1991. 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. Laurence (parish church)
The church of St. Laurence is a most interesting building of stone in the Early Perpendicular style, with embattled parapets to the nave and aisle, and consists of chancel, nave, north aisle, extending to the whole length of the nave and chancel, south porch, and an embattled western tower containing 6 bells, 5 being re-cast in 1898, and a sixth added at the cost of the Rev. A. Orlebar: in the church are memorials, including some altar-tombs, to the Gostwick family, the earliest of which is a brass to Robert Gostwick esq. 1315; the others comprise a fine canopied altar-tomb of marble, with recumbent effigy, and inscribed to Sir William Gostwick, bart. 1615, and Jane (Owen}, his wife, with eleven children; there is also a 13th century stone coffin lid, and on the north side of the chancel is a tomb, with kneeling effigies and figures of children, to Sir Edward Gostwick kt. and bart. with a chronogrammatic inscription to himself, 1630, and his wife, 1633: there are also inscribed slabs to Lady Mary Gostwick, daughter of Sir William Lytton, of Knebworth, Herts, 1656; and to John Gostwick esq. who appears from the inscription to have built or rebuilt some part of the church, probably the mortuary chapel, in 1541; suspended from the wall of the north aisle is an ancient tabard, and two helmets, one of which is said to have been worn at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520; in the church is a black letter Bible, printed in 1611: a piscina and the steps to the rood loft remain in a good state of preservation; the reredos and altar panels were wrought and presented by Mrs. Orlebar in 1893; the building was restored in 1877 by the 9th Duke of Bedford K.G. when the chancel was repaired and reseated, and the ancient floor tiles reproduced: the organ, originally constructed by the Rev. H. E. H. Havergal, a former vicar of Cople, and completed 1875, was erected at a cost of £400: the stained east window was erected in 1884 at a cost of £320: there are sittings for 183 persons.
For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.
Willington was in Bedford Registration District from 1837 to 1974
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Willington from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858. (Willington (St. Lawrence))
Land and Property
The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Bedfordshire is available to browse.
Online maps of Willington 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
Willington 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.
A full transcript of the Visitations of Bedfordshire 1566, 1582, and 1634 is available online.