Place:Ampthill, Bedfordshire, England

Watchers
NameAmpthill
Alt namesAmmetellesource: Domesday Book (1985) p 29
TypeParish (ancient), Civil parish, Urban district
Coordinates52.033°N 0.5°W
Located inBedfordshire, England
See alsoRedbornstoke Hundred, Bedfordshire, Englandhundred in which it was located
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


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

Ampthill is a town and civil parish in Bedfordshire, England, between Bedford and Luton, with a population of about 14,000. It is administered by Central Bedfordshire Council. A regular market has taken place on Thursdays for centuries.

History

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

The name 'Ampthill' is of Anglo-Saxon origin. The first settlement was called 'Aemethyll', which literally means either 'ant-heap' or 'ant infested hill'. In the Domesday Book, Ampthill is referred to as 'Ammetelle', with the landholder in 1086 being Nigel de la Vast. The actual entry reads: Ammetelle: Nigel de la Vast from Nigel d'Aubigny. A further variation may be 'Hampthull', in 1381.

In 1219 King Henry III granted a charter for a weekly market to be held on a Thursday. In 2019 the market will celebrate 800 years.

Henry VIII was a frequent visitor to Ampthill Castle, and it was there that Catherine of Aragon lived from 1531 until divorced in 1533, when she was moved to Kimbolton. The castle was built in the 15th century by Sir John Cornwall, later Lord Fanhope, from ransoms after the Battle of Agincourt. Today a park remains just north of the town centre, site of Ampthill's former castle, where Henry VIII would come and hunt. It was in the castle's Great Dining Room that Queen Catherine defiantly received news of the end of her marriage. A cross erected in the 1770s marks the site of this important building which is set within Ampthill Great Park, a “Capability” Brown landscape.

In the mid-1780s, John Fitzpatrick, the 2nd Earl of Upper Ossory, led a campaign to improve the town centre. He created the current market place, erected the water pump and built a new clock tower. Lord Upper Ossory was also responsible for a cross commemorating Catherine of Aragon, with an inscription by Horace Walpole, and a row of thatched cottages built between 1812 and 1816 to house his estate workers.

On the death of Lord Upper Ossory in 1818, Ampthill Park became the seat of Lord Holland in whose time Holland House in Kensington, London, became famous as a gathering place for intellectuals.

During WWII there was a farming camp near Ampthill where volunteers recovered sugarbeet and were accommodated in tents in the grounds of a nearby country mansion.

Recent years have witnessed substantial development in Ampthill and the surrounding area. The Bedford Street area was substantially redeveloped in 2006/2007, with the demolition of a Shell petrol station, shopping arcade and small Budgens supermarket, to make way for a new Waitrose supermarket, an improved town car park and a development of shops and apartments known as Oxlet House. The supermarket opened on 29 September 2006, with Oxlet house being completed in late 2007. Since then, two major new housing estates have been constructed on the south side of town - Ampthill Heights to the west and Ampthill Gardens to the east. Other significant housing developments have been completed behind The Limes, at the former site of Russell House, off Swaffield Close and in the old orchard off Church Street. Together, these developments doubled the population of Ampthill from 7,030 (at the 2011 census) to an estimated 14,000 in 2018.

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 Ampthill. 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.