Old Map of Bedfordshire 1610
Old Map of Bedfordshire 1610 Detail from an old map of Bedfordshire Bedfordshire Town Plan

Bedfordshire – an old map by John Speed


Bedfordshire – an old map by John Speed

Anglo-Saxon; Bed’s Ford, or the river crossing. Name first recorded 1011 as Bedanfordscir Speede noted that in 1399 that the river Ouse at Harrold ‘stood sudden still and refused to pass further so that forward men passed three miles together on foot in the very depth of her channel’. The silver thread of the River Great Ouse winds and loops its way across North Bedfordshire. Quiet backwaters, popular fishing spots and fine riverside walks lined with gardens and meadows make North Bedfordshire such a pleasure to visit. Away from the towns, the river links a string of beautiful limestone villages in the Ouse Valley. The county town of Bedford is dominated by its fine buildings and the river. Its prosperity dates from the late 17th century when the town became an important distribution point for goods up and down the Great Ouse. Cheap public school education became widely available in the late 19th century, attracting many new residents and this educational tradition is still strong today. Bedfordshire, in its history is also synonymous with John Bunyan .

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