Ampthill, co. Bedford.
London 45½ m. NW.; Bedford 8 m. S b W. Pop. 1527. M. D. Thurs. Fairs, May 4, and Nov. 30 for cattle. Mail arr. 6 f. Mail dep. 8. 30 a.
A market-town and parish in the hundred of Redbornstoke, pleasantly situated between two hills in the centre of the county. The principal streets, which cross each other at right angles, are neat and regular, and there is a handsome market-house of modern erection. Here is an obelisk of Portland stone, forming a receptacle for a pump; as also a Gothic cross, erected in 1774, in memory of Catherine of Arragon, by the Earl of Upper Ossory, then proprietor of Ampthill Park, once the residence of that ill-treated queen. The employment of the greater part of the inhabitants is connected with agriculture; but a portion of them are concerned with trade, and the town also contains an extensive brewery. The living is a dis. rectory in the archdeaconry of Bedford and diocese of Lincoln, charged in K. B. 10l. 6s. 8d.; church ded. to St. Andrew; patron (1829) Lord Holland. Here is a school for the education of thirteen children, and almshouses founded by Mr. Cross, once principal of New College, Oxford, for ten poor men and women, who also receive an annual allowance. Ampthill Park to the west of this town, now the seat of Lord Holland, was constituted a royal domain by Henry VIII., who named the annexed estates the “Honour of Ampthill.” The old castle in which Queen Catherine resided, stood on higher ground than the present mansion, which is a superb edifice, with wings, and a flight of steps leading into a handsome hall. The park, to which that of Houghton is now united, is spacious, and supplies seme very pleasing prospects. At the entrance from Ampthill a pear-tree is shewn, under which Sir Philip Sidney is reported to have written a part of his Arcadia.
Source: A Topographical Dictionary of Great Britain and Ireland by John Gorton. The Irish and Welsh articles by G. N. Wright; Vol. I; London; Chapman and Hall, 186, Strand; 1833.