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Places > Battlesden

13th Century: The Church of St. Peter and All Saints built in the last quarter of this century.

1349: When the Black Death struck the village, the vicar died and the church became empty.

15th Century: The church tower was built on poor foundations resulting in the addition of a large number of buttresses.

1846: A visitor wrote ' I have scarce seen any church more forlorn and neglected than this one'

1864: An Elizabethan Manor demolished and Battlesden House, a huge Gothic chateau style house, built in its place. The house had 40 rooms and a large ballroom and cost 40,000 to build. Sir Joseph Paxton, a Bedfordshire man who also built the Crystal Palace, laid out the ground and built the lake. The owner, Sir Edward Page-Turner did not like the house and never lived there. Instead he leased it out to a wealthy coal owner called David Bromilow who went to Leicestershire in 1878; the house then remained empty until its demolition.

1868: The chancel of the church was re-covered with a pointed roof in place of the old debased Tudor roof, and the nave restored and re-seated.

1885: The ninth Duke of Bedford bought Battlesden House and demolished all except the ground floor which was used as a nursing home during the First World War and a maternity home in the Second World War. The remains of the principle house were demolished after the war leaving the coach house. A description of Battlesden House in Kelly's 1885 Bedfordshire Directory says "it is a handsome manor of red brick, in the domestic Gothic style, beautifully situated and commanding fine views of the country, it stands in a park of 50 acres and is approached by a long avenue of trees."

1898: The church tower was repaired and new battlements added.

1928: The church closed.

1949: The church re-opened when a local benefactor, Walter Merridale gave some money which enabled the church to open again.


  • The Newspaper Cuttings Collection in the Local Studies Library at Bedford Central Library.
  • 1885 Kelly's Bedfordshire Directory
  • 1940 Kelly's Bedfordshire Directory

Page last updated: 21st January 2014