A typical and beautiful English village
Biddenham is where I have lived for over 7 years. It is a typical old English village made up of the original old village, and 2 very large newer areas called Deep Spinney and Great Denham. It is situated in a loop of the river Ouse, 2 miles west of the county town of Bedford.
Biddenham is very small, being only about 1 mile square.
Before the developments of Deep Spinney and Great Denham were built, the population of Biddenham in 1991 was only 1260. This increased rapidly when the Deep Spinney development was started, rising to 2780 by the year 2001. It is estimated by 2006, with the completion of Great Denham and another development that is planned, that the population will rise even further to 4840.
Biddenham is a residential area with just 3 commercial premises. A private hospital (Manor Hospital), a beauty salon (The Only You Salon) and the Three Tuns Pub. Being the only 'watering hole' for a radius of two miles, the pub can get very busy! Fortunately it has a lovely garden and serves wonderful pub meals!
For its residents, Biddenham offers many clubs such as a Gardeners Association, Womens Institute and schools covering all age groups.
There are some very grand old family homes in Biddenham - and also many smaller quaint old cottages. The cottages in the picture are 'Grade 2 listed' meaning that any alterations to the outside have to be approved in order to protect the historical interest.
Bedford was a market town for the surrounding agricultural region from the early Middle Ages. The Anglo-Saxon King Offa of Mercia was buried in the town in 796. In 886 it became a boundary town separating Wessex and Danelaw. It was the seat of the Barony of Bedford. In 919 Edward the Elder built the town's first known fortress, on the south side of the River Ouse and there received the area's submission. This fortress was destroyed by the Danes. William II gave the barony of Bedford to Paine de Beauchamp who built a new, strong castle. The new Bedford Castle was razed in 1224 and today only a mound remains.
Bedford traces its borough charter in 1166 by Henry II and elected two members to the unreformed House of Commons.
Bedford remained a small agricultural town, with wool being an important industry in the area for much of the Middle Ages. From the 1560s Bedford and much of Bedfordshire became one of the main centres of England's Lace industry, with skilled lace-makers such as the Flemings, and then later the Huguenots emigrating from Europe to settle in the town and surrounding county. Lace continued to be an important industry in Bedford up until the early 20th century.
The River Ouse became navigable as far as Bedford in 1689. Wool declined in importance with brewing becoming a major industry in the town.
In 1660 John Bunyan was imprisoned for 12 years in Bedford Gaol. It was here that he wrote The Pilgrim's Progress.
The 19th Century saw Bedford transform into an important engineering hub. In 1832 Gas lighting was introduced, and the railway reached Bedford in 1846. The first Corn Exchange was built 1849, and the first drains and sewers were dug in 1864.
Nearby small towns include Ampthill, Biggleswade, Flitwick, and Sandy, all of which are in Mid Bedfordshire. The nearest towns and cities with larger populations than Bedford are Northampton to the north west, Cambridge to the east, Milton Keynes to the south west, and Luton to the south, all of which have urban area populations of 130,000 or more. Milton Keynes and Cambridge in particular are used by Bedfordians for services that are not available in Bedford, especially the shopping and leisure facilities in Milton Keynes, and advanced health services at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, a teaching hospital which has a partnership with Bedford Hospital
Bedford has two railway stations:
Bedford (Midland) is located on the Midland Main Line. It is the northernmost stop on the First Capital Connect rail service to Brighton. East Midlands Trains intercity trains also serve the station, providing trains to St. Pancras, Leicester, Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds. It is also the terminus of the Marston Vale Line from Bletchley.
Bedford St Johns is the penultimate stop on the Marston Vale line.