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Eaton Bray

Places > Eaton Bray

c1205: The present church of Saint Mary's dates back to 1205-1221, although there was an earlier church on the site. Pevsner describes the interior of the church as "surprisingly splendid".

1221: Eaton Bray Castle was built by William de Cantlowe and is described in 'The Annals of Dunstable' as being a serious danger 'in grave periculam' to Dunstable and its neighbourhood. No mentions occurs of the castle after the 13th century and it is probable that the mansion house of the Bray family was rebuilt on the old site in the reign of Henry VIII.

1795: Methodist Chapel built, with improvements in 1864.

1835: Baptist Chapel built, enlarged in 1851.

1842: The National School opened in April by the Rev. Gregory Whyley at his own expense and situated in the Vicarage garden.

1860: Eaton Bray Enclosure Act passed.

1861: Village School opened.

1875: The church was in such a state of neglect that the building was closed between February 1875 and the 5th of June 1884 and the services moved to the schoolhouse.

1880: An entry in the parish register records that "James Smallbone,26, was killed by a fall of stone while engaged in pulling down the tower".

1886: The nursery of W.E.Wallace opened, it became the largest grower of carnations in the country with 18 acres of glasshouses. King Edward VII insisted on wearing a fresh Wallace carnation every day no matter where he was in the world. During the Second World War tomatoes and lettuces were also produced. At one time the firm gave employment to 120 villagers. In 1960 over four and a half million carnations were grown.

1898: Eaton Bray bridge built.

1901: Reading Room and Coffee Tavern opened in April in the village High Street. This was the idea of the Rev. Edmund Sutton who was concerned at the amount of drinking going on in the village and thought the best way to counteract the problem was to have a coffee house. The cost of the building was met by W.E. Wallace.

1923: Watermill struck by lightening and burnt to the ground.

1935: The firm Hawkins Transport started.

1945c: The old aerodrome was purchased by Douglass Russell, editor of Aeromodeller and the publication of the magazine was moved to the new site with the idea that the aerodrome would become a mecca to model enthusiasts with even the occasional model aircraft flying days organised. In 1951 the magazine was sold to Argus Press and the publication of the magazine moved away from the Eaton Bray site.

1961: The Bedford Arms Public House closes.

1966: New Village Hall built and opened in July.

1974: The firm of W.E. Wallace ceases trading.

1988: The new school opened on Friday 13th March at a cost of 507,000. The Chequers Inn closes.

1997: The Eaton Bray Produce Association closes due to lack of support.

2004: Village Hall refurbished at a cost of 150,000.


  • The Newspaper Cuttings Collection in the Local Studies Library at Bedford Central Library
  • Victoria County History of Bedfordshire 3 Vols. 1912.

Page last updated: 27th January 2014