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Places > Riseley

12th Century: The oldest parts of the present church, the south and west walls of the south aisle and pillars between the nave and aisle date from this period. The south chapel was rebuilt in the 13th century.

1558:A long tradition of brick and tile making in the village stretches back to at least this date. By the middle of the 19th century brickmaking had become one of the main occupations with 12 brickmakers being listed on the 1841 census and 15 in both 1851 and 1861 censuses.

1792: First mention of the Royal Oak Public House.

1793: Riseley Enclosure Act.

1802: The Toll-bar at Sharnbrook Turn opened.

1807: Methodist Church built at a cost of 130.

1810: Moravian Church built. About this date The Five Bells Public House first mentioned.

1822: The White Horse Inn first licensed.

1826:Keysoe Road Windmill appears on a map of this date although the windmill was probably built earlier.

1838:Baptist Chapel built.

1841 :Riseley Voluntary Aided School built.

1869:The Swan Public House first licensed.

1877: By the 1870s competition from the railways resulted in the closure of the Turnpike Trusts and in March 1877 Riseley Toll-Bar closed.

1894-95: Major restoration work carried out on the church including new floors, re-arrangement of the seating, the addition of an organ chamber and a re-orienting of the church. The church was re-opened on the 25th September 1895.

1914c: The Red Lion Public House closes and becomes a private house.

1916: Keysoe Road Windmill stopped working and over the years the mill fell into general disrepair. In 1847 the mill was struck by lightning and caught fire, shortly afterwards the mill was demolished as building was unsafe.

1920: Riseley War Memorial unveiled on the 21st May, paid for by public subscription, the cost of the memorial was 96 10s.

1938: The Co-op Shop opened.

1939-45: During the Second World War, 1500 tons of mustard gas were stored underground in containers in Coppice Wood, Riseley. The village had 94 evacuee children from North London.

1952: Riseley Playing Field officially opened on Saturday 20th September, the cost of the project was 2,800.

1958-59: The George and Dragon Public House closed.

1962: Margaret Beaufort School opened.

1965c: The Swan Public House closes and becomes a private house.

1966: Moravian Chapel closed.

1972: The engineering company Instrument Engineering opens in Riseley.

1979: New Village Hall built at a cost of 55,000 and replaced the old Recreation Club Hall built by soldiers on their return from the First World War.

1988: Mustard gas site cleared. The site took three weeks to clear and involved the Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal Squad, the RAF, Harwell and Porton Down. (Bedfordshire Times 4th August).

1992: The Co-op shop closes and is dismantled.

1995c: The Royal Oak Public House closes.

1996: The White Horse Public House closes and becomes a private house.

1998: MOD admit Mustard gas site not properly cleared ten years ago from Coppice Wood (Bedfordshire On Sunday 25th January).


  • The Newspaper Cuttings Collection in the Local Studies Library at Bedford Central Library
  • PICKFORD, C.  Bedfordshire Churches in the 19th Century. B.H.R.S. Vol.77 1998.
  • DAVIES, Sue  Riseley : our village.  2000.

Page last updated: 3rd February 2014