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BEDFORDSHIRE takes its name from the shire town of Bedford, and lies in the southern part of the Midlands, about 50 miles north from London; it is a very small shire, of irregular shape, its greatest length being 36½ miles from north to south, and its greatest breadth 22½ miles from east to west. The number of acres in the administrative county is 302,942, or about half the average size of a county: there are only three smaller counties - Hunts, Middlesex, and Rutland.
The county is bounded on the north-west by Northamptonshire, on the north-east by Huntingdonshire, on the east by Cambridgeshire, on the south-east by Herts, and on the west and south-west by Bucks: it belongs to the basin of the Midland Ouse, all but a small corner in the south, which is watered by the Lea, a feeder of the Thames. The chalk downs, named the Chiltern Hills, known locally as the Luton and Dunstable Downs, cross it in the south from S. W. to N. E.; a range of sand hills runs across the middle by Ampthill; and the northern part is mostly flat with a few detached hills.
Transcribed from Kelly's Directory of Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire, and Northamptonshire, 1910