Clapham (St. Thomas à Becket)
CLAPHAM (St. Thomas Ã Becket), a parish, in the hundred of Stodden, union and county of Bedford, 2Â½ miles (N. W. by N.) from Bedford; and containing 370 inhabitants. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at Â£5. 13. 4.; net income, Â£270; patron, Lord Carteret. The church is a very ancient structure, with a tower remarkable for the simplicity of its architecture; it is mostly of rude Saxon, and has a Norman belfry. Clapham was formerly a chapelry in the parish of Oakley. J. Thomas Dawson, Esq., of Woodlands, in the parish, has given a piece of ground for a school. Ursula Taylor, in 1722, bequeathed property for apprenticing poor boys, directing the ministers of St. Paul's and St. John's, Bedford, to be trustees; it consists of 41 acres of land, producing about Â£50 per annum.