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Putnoe Timeline

Places > Bedford

1066: Domesday Book recorded that the Manor of Putnoe had woodlands for over a 100 swine when it was estimated to be about 100 hectares. The pigs in Norman times were turned loose in the oak woods to support themselves on acorns. The name Putnoe has been used in its present form since the 16th century and is a contraction of the earlier forms such as 'Puttenhoe' and 'Putenho' indicating the 'hoh' or spur of land belonging to some unknown early Anglo-Saxon settler Putta, on which he built his farm. By the mid 18th century Putnoe Wood had been reduced to its present size of 10.5 hectares.

12th Century: Before the end of the century the Manor of Putnoe was given by the de Beauchamp family as an endowment to the Cistercian Abbey of Warden and it remained in possession of the Monastery until the Dissolution in 1537.

1224: Considerable damage was done to Putnoe Wood during the nine weeks siege of Bedford Castle. The Royal forces of Henry III using the wood as a convenient source of timber. Warden Abbey demanded and received  annual compensation for their ravaged woodland during the remainder of the King's lifetime. This was renewed in 1304 for a further 20 years. A full century was apparently needed for the complete recovery of the wood.

1539: The estate passed to the Gostwick family of Willington and they retained the manor for nearly 200 years.

1774: The estate was bought for Francis 5th Duke of Bedford and it remained in the family until about 1886 after which the estate was sold off piecemeal.

1798: The first botanical records of Putnoe Wood were recorded in Charles Abbot's 'Flora Bedfordiensis', including the rare Water Avens. Charles Abbot was a well known local parson and botanist.

1934: Until 1934 the manor and wood had always lain in the parish of Goldington but when Goldington village was absorbed into Bedford in this year, the wood and much of the farm were transferred to Ravensden.

1953: Work begins on the 233 acre project extending eastwards from Putnoe Lane across open farming land to Church Lane, housing 7,000 people with a  mixture of municipal and private housing.

1957: Last phase of the housing development with the ultimate provision of 1,936 houses with 1,507 already completed. Of these 1,020 were council houses and 487 built for private sale. A small shopping parade at the Goldington end of the estate was complete and ten shops in Queens Drive were under construction.

1958: The shops in Queens Drive open. The 1959 Kelly's Directory listed the shops as Bays, fishmongers; H.Bass, butcher; Putnoe Drapery Ltd; G.Lilley, greengrocer; Bedford Dye Works Ltd; A. Collins, confectioner & post office; Dudeney & Johnson; C.Kish, bakers.

1961: Bedford Borough Council purchases Putnoe Farm.

1966: Boundary extensions brought the wood and farm within the Borough of Bedford.

1968: Putnoe Farm demolished ending a continuous period of over nine hundred years during which the site had been occupied by a succession of farm buildings at a centre of a manorial estate. The last owners of the farm were the Hartop family.

1969: The shops and Library opened in Putnoe Street. The shops were post office, newsagent, butcher, greengrocer, supermarket and ladies' hair dresser. Bedford Borough Council acquired Putnoe Wood.


  • GUPPY, A.W.  Putnoe Wood  In The Bedfordshire Naturalist Vol.24 1969 pp.29-30
  • BEDFORDSHIRE NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETY Notes on the history and natural history of Putnoe Wood and Putnoe Lane.  1971.
  • The Newspaper Cuttings Collection in the Local Studies Library at Bedford Central Library.
  • JONES, Arthur  For the Record Bedford 1945-1974 Land Use and Financial Planning. 1981.

Page last updated: 3rd February 2014