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Oakley, or Oakley-Reynes (St. Mary)

OAKLEY, or Oakley-Reynes (St. Mary), a parish, forming, with Clapham and Milton-Earnest, a detached portion of the hundred of Stodden, in the union and county of Bedford, 4 miles (N. W.) from Bedford; containing 492 inhabitants. It is bounded on the north, west, and south by the river Ouse; the surface is boldly undulated, and about half a mile from the village is Oakley Hill, an eminence commanding an extensive prospect, and through which is a cutting of the high road from London to Leeds. The substratum of the parish contains good building-stone and gravel. On the south side of the hill has lately been constructed a large manufactory for draining-tiles, one of the numerous establishments of the kind erected by the Marquess of Tweeddale and others: here, as in all the north-east of the parish, the subsoil is clay. Part of the population is employed in the making of lace; the rest is chiefly agricultural. The living is a discharged vicarage, annexed to that of Bromham, and valued in the king's books at £8. 14. 9.: the tithes were commuted for 64 acres of land, and Easter offerings, in 1803. The church is in the early English style, with later additions, and contains an altar-tomb with the recumbent effigy of the foundress, one of the family of Reynes, habited as a nun. £25, the rent of twenty acres of land, are applied to a school.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.