Place:Kempston, Bedfordshire, England

Watchers
NameKempston
Alt namesCamestonsource: Domesday Book (1985) p 30
Camestonesource: Domesday Book (1985) p 30
East Endsource: hamlet in parish
Kempston East Endsource: alternate name
Up Endsource: hamlet in parish
Kempston Up Endsource: alternate name
Kempston New Townsource: village in parish
TypeParish (ancient), Civil parish, Urban district
Coordinates52.114°N 0.497°W
Located inBedfordshire, England
See alsoRedbornstoke Hundred, Bedfordshire, Englandhundred in which it was located
Kempston Rural, Bedfordshire, Englandcivil parish split off from Kempston in 1896
Bedford District, Bedfordshire, Englandmetropolitan district covering the area since 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Kempston is a town and civil parish located in Bedfordshire, England. Once known as the largest village in England, Kempston is now a town with its own town council. It has a population of about 20,000, and together with Bedford, it forms an urban area with around 100,000 inhabitants, which is the sole significant urban area in the Borough of Bedford. Kempston serves principally as a dormitory town for Bedford and for Milton Keynes, which is about ten miles away.

History

the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Until the 19th century Kempston was a mainly rural parish. It was one of the largest in Bedfordshire with an area of 5,025 acres (20 km²) at the time of enclosure in 1804, and was in Redbornstoke Hundred. Historically there was no central village; settlement was divided between a number of hamlets called "Ends", for example, Up End, Bell End, Wood End and Box End. Kempston's parish church, All Saints, was in Church End, which was not the largest end but is fairly central. In the 19th century East End, Bell End and Up End began to coalesce into a larger settlement. In 1870 developers began to attempt to develop land on the road from Kempston to Bedford under the name Kempston New Town. Construction was slow at first, but the new district soon began to expand steadily and Kempston acquired a more urban feel. A permanent military presence was established in the town with the completion of Kempston Barracks in 1876.

In 1896 the parish was divided into Kempston Urban District covering 1,255 acres (5.1 km²) and the civil parish of Kempston Rural covering 3,770 acres (15 km²). The Urban District was based on East End, Up End and Kempston New Town all of which are in the north eastern part of the parish close to Bedford, and had 86.8% of the total population at the UK census of 1901 census. Kempston Rural was three times larger in area, but remained sparsely populated. Church End, with its original parish church, remains a small hamlet in the rural part of Kempston.

The growth of Kempston's population levelled off in the early decades of the 20th century, with a rise of just 12% between 1901 and 1931, but it then began to expand rapidly. The 1951 population of just under 10,000 was 60% higher that that of 1931; in the second half of the 20th century, the population nearly doubled. In 1974 Kempston Urban District was abolished and Kempston reverted to being a civil parish, in the Borough of Bedford but with a separate town council with minor powers. For borough election purposes the town is divided into four wards called Kempston Central and East, Kempston North, Kempston South and Kempston West. Kempston Rural (also within the Borough of Bedford) remains a civil parish and is part of Turvey Ward for borough election purposes.

Population table

Year Kempston
Urban
Kempston
Rural
Total
1671 - - 752 (est)
1801 - - 1,035
1851 - - 1,962
1901 4,729 719 5,448
1951 8,645 1,171 9,816
1961 9,190 1,289 10,479
1971 12,826 1,306 14,132
1981 15,500 1,280 16,780 (note 1)
1991 17,938 1,163 19,101
2001 19,440  ? see note 2
2011 19,330 1,184 20,514

Note 1: 1981 figures are provisional (more up to date source needed).
Note 2: The 2001 Kempston Urban figure is the combined total for the three urban wards of Kempston East, Kempston North and Kempston South.
An expanded table of population is available in Wikipedia

Research Tips

  • The website British History Online provides three chapters of the Victoria County History Series on Bedfordshire. The first covers the religious houses of the county; the second and third provides articles on the parishes of the county. The parishes are arranged within their "hundreds".
  • GENUKI main page for Bedfordshire which provides information on various topics covering the whole of the county, and also a link to a list of parishes. Under each parish there is a list of the settlements within it and brief description of each. This is a list of pre-1834 ancient or ecclesiastical parishes but there are suggestions as to how to find parishes set up since then. GENUKI provides references to other organizations who hold genealogical information for the local area. There is no guarantee that the website has been kept up to date and therefore the reader should check additional sources if possible.
  • Bedfordshire family history societies are listed in GENUKI.
  • The FamilyTree Wiki has a series of pages similar to those provided by GENUKI which may have been prepared at a later date and from more recent data. The wiki has a link to English Jurisdictions 1851. There is a list of all the parishes in existence at that date with maps indicating their boundaries. The website is very useful for finding the ecclesiastical individual parishes within large cities and towns.
  • A Vision of Britain through Time, Bedfordshire, section "Units and Statistics" leads to analyses of population and organization of the county from about 1800 through 1974. There are pages available for all civil parishes, municipal boroughs and other administrative divisions. Descriptions provided are usually based on a gazetteer of 1870-72 which often provides brief notes on the economic basis of the settlement and significant occurences through its history.
  • These two maps indicate the boundaries between parishes, etc., but for a more detailed view of a specific area try a map from this selection. The oldest series are very clear at the third magnification offered. Comparing the map details with the GENUKI details for the same area is well worthwhile.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Kempston. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.