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Aspley Guise Timeline

Places > Aspley Guise

1086: There were 25 families recorded in the Domesday Book.

1536: First documentary evidence relating to Fullers earth, the popular name of calcium montmorillonite clay, when William Harding was granted a lease for 40 years on certain property in the manor of Aspley Guise including "the Claypitts with appurtenances, called Fullyngpitts".  Deposits in this country are extremely limited and only found in Bedfordshire, Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire.

1576c: The Old House built by Edmund Hardynge.

1690c: Aspley House built for W.Norcliffe.

1720c: Aspley Classical Academy founded, situated in Guise House, this was a large private school which, in the words of one head boy was "Rugby was the only school in England, with the exception of Eton and Harrow, which could compete with Aspley". In the 1790s the population of the school consisted of "the headmaster, eight assistants, ninety seven boarders, five servants, four mistresses and friends and six women servants". An 1810 prospectus gave the fees as 39 guineas per annum. The school closed in the 1840s when faced with competition from an increasing number of new public schools.

1761: Aspley Guise Enclosure Act passed, provision was made for the supply of faggots for the poor in lieu of the right of cutting furze on waste lands.

1784: Aspley House purchased by Lieutenant Colonel Charles Hervey Smith.

1813: The Wesleyan Chapel at Mount Pleasant built. The religious census of the 30th March 1851 gave the number of the afternoon congregation as 50, the evening as 60 with 50 Sunday scholars.

1842:`Mission Hall erected, it was first used as a "British School" and then merged with the Board School, Woburn Lane.

1846: The advent of the Bedford-Bletchley Railway brought the railway age to Aspley Guise and with it eight new jobs to the village, two signalmen, a clerk, two labourers and three porters.

1850: National School built.

1868: First gas lamp erected in The Square, replacing the old oak tree and village stocks.

1875: John Kemp purchased Powage and Guise House at auction and set up a printing works to print Kemp's Mercantile Gazette and other publications.

1891: Fuller's Earth Mining Company formed and a works was built west of Sandy Lane, Aspley Heath. The venture was not a success and the works closed in 1900.

1896: Power Press Company set up at Powage House.

1902: Village Hall built.

1906: The Old House acquired by Dr. Herbert Fowler, founder of The Bedfordshire County Record Office and The Bedfordshire Historical Record Society.

1911: Powage House burnt down; it was rebuilt the following year.

1911: The water works and pumping station in Aspley Lane opened by the Duke of Bedford on the 6th June.

1940: Council school opened.

1939-45: The Rookery and Dawn Edge were the secret headquarters of the Psychological Warfare Executive who were engaged in special operations to demoralise the German people and disrupt the Nazi war machine. The Holt, an 18th century manor house (now the Moore Place Hotel), was used by the Government Code and Cypher School based at Bletchley Park. The Holt was also used by the Bedfordshire War Agricultural Committee from 1946-48 as a Women's Land Army hostel for girls working on local farms.

1951: The Berks Chemical Company started extracting fuller's earth at Aspley Heath close to the 1890s workings, the pit was closed in 1961.

1958: Fulbrook School was opened as a Secondary School.

1968: Homewood Convalescent Home closes, it was originally a school and was acquired by the Bedford County Hospital in 1919.

1988: The Boundary Commission recommends that Aspley Guise remains in Bedfordshire.


  • The Newspaper Cuttings Collection in the Local Studies Library at Bedford Central Library.
  •  A History of Our District by the Scholars of Fulbrook School, 1962
  • Victoria County History of Bedfordshire, 1912
  • The Story of Aspley Guise by Woburn Sands and District Society, 1980

Page last updated: 21st January 2014