Bedford Borough Council logo Central Bedfordshire Council logo

The Virtual Library

Follow us on Pinterest Follow us on Twitter Contact us on Facebook Home Page What's On Contact Us Help

Higham Gobion

Places > Higham Gobion

11th Century: Higham Gobion Castle, an 11th century earthwork motte and bailey fortress, founded by the Gobion family. A small motte encased by a ditch, stands in the centre of a very large triangular ward which is extended on its south west angle. It was built on a marshy site and defended by substantial ramparts.

1154: There was a church at Higham Gobion by this date. The present church is essentially a Victorian rebuilding of 1879-80 at a cost of 1300 incorporating a north arcade of c1300 and a chancel of the same date.

1665: Edmund Castell, scholar and author of Lexicon Heptaglotten, a great oriental dictionary which covered seven languages including Hebrew, Arabic and Persian. The dictionary took 17 years to write and cost 12,000 to publish. After his death 500 copies were destroyed by his niece. He was Vicar from 1665 until his death in 1685.    

1870s: Coprolite digging took place in the 1870s in the Pightle, a field north of Higham Gobion Hill. The coprolite industry was the production of fertiliser from coprolites which were thought to be the fossilised dung of prehistoric reptiles and known locally as 'dinosaur dung'. The industry had died out by the 1890s with the import of foreign phosphates for chemical manure. Wages were high and a good 'fossil digger' could earn 40s a week.

1879-80: At a cost of 1300, major restoration took place on the church with a new roof and seats and a new west tower.

1933: By The South Bedfordshire Order of 1933 part of the parish was transferred to Pulloxhill.

1943: The east end of the church was found to be unsafe, the problem caused by the dropping of bombs in a nearby field. Restoration took place after the war.

1969: Church tower restored.


  • The newspapers cuttings collection at Bedford Central Library.
  • PICKFORD, C.  Bedfordshire Churches in the 19th Century. Beds Historical Record Soc. Vol.73 1994.

Page last updated: 29th January 2014