Harrold, Bedfordshire Family History Guide
Status: Ancient Parish
Parish church: St Peter
Parish registers begin:
Parish registers: 1598
Bishop’s Transcripts: 1602
Nonconformists include: Independent/Congregational
Parishes adjacent to Harrold
Harrold appears to have been at one time a market town. The market was held on a Thursday and was obtained by charter about the beginning of the 17th century. In Lysons’ time it was so inconsiderabie that he states that it had hitherto been overlooked by writers enumerating the market towns of this county.
With the transcription of the register information as to the parish history has come to light or, at any rate, it confirms or adds to what is already known. The contents reveal, for instance, that nonconformity in Harrold was very strong; that the making of lace was widespread among the parishioners; and that a considerable part of the farm land was occupied with sheep. The earliest inference to nonconformity is in 1696: “John Ball the eider buried without a minister.” In 1745 “Joseph Dadley a dissenting teacher” was buried. But the convincing evidence is contained in the burial entries of the period 1803 to 1812. In that time 91 children were buried of whom 40 were unbaptised, presumably because their parents were dissenters.
Lacemaking is first mentioned in 1700 when a laceman was buried. Two lacemakers were married and two buried In 1706, another was buried in 1707 and one married in 1708. In 1750 a male lacemaker was buried, another in 1763. In the four years 1752 to 1755 eight lacemakers were buried. Occupations are only given intermittently, the picture is therefore far from complete, and this remark applies also to shepherds eleven of whom are named between 1699 and 1812.
In 1802 a man died on the smallpox and a woman in 1803, both were buried at midnight. There is no mention of the plague, the 25 people were buried between March 30 in July 28 1617. In 1657 the year of mortality in all places there were 34 burials; at high figures are 47 in 1736 and 49 in 1771.
Harrold church is dedicated to St Peter whose festival falls on June 29. Harold feast begins on the Sunday following St Peter’s day. Apparently it was the custom that events that were born during the few weeks before the feast should not be baptised at once but be christened on the feast Sunday. For instance, six infants were christened on June 30, 1799, six on July 6 1800, Four on July 5, 1801, and Four on July 4, 1802. All these dates was Sundays. The custom can be traced as far back as 1767 and continued to 1812 when the transcription ends.
Harold Hall, about the year 1730 and perhaps earlier, was in the occupation of Doctor Mead, the celebrated physician, but he seldom came here. His second wife was the youngest daughter also Roland Alston, bart. whom he married in 1724; she was nice to the Honourable Mrs Jolliffe and founded almshouses in the village. Dr mead was called in to see Queen Anne two days before her death; in 1727 he was appointed physician to George II.
The population of the parish in 1801 was 763 and in 1931 was 924; it’s area is 3241 acres. The adjoining parishes are Podington, Odell, Chellingten, Carlton and Turvey in Bedfordshire, and Lavendon in Buckinghamshire and Bozeat in Northamptonshire.
Historical Descriptions of Harrold
The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870
HARROLD, a small town, a parish, and a sub-district in the district and county of Bedford. The town stands on the river Ouse, 2½ miles ENE of the meeting-point with Bucks and Northamptonshire, 4 WSW of Sharnbrook r. station, and 9 NW of Bedford; was formerly called Harewold or Harewood; and has a post-office under Bedford, a neat market-house, a good bridge over the Ouse, a church, a large Independent chapel, national schools, and six alms-houses. The church consists of nave, aisles, and double chancel, with tower and spire; is in good condition; and has an ancient monument to Lady Joliffe. A weekly corn market is held on Tuesday; cattle fairs are held on the Tuesday before 13 May, the Tuesday before 6 July, and the Tuesday before 11 Oct.; and lace-making is carried on. The parish comprises 3,240 acres. Real property, £4,242. Pop., 1,119. Houses, 244. The landed property is divided among a few. The manor belongs to the Countess Cowper. A small Augustinian priory was founded near the town, in the time of Stephen; and was given, at the dissolution, to Lord Parr. A mansion called Harrold Hall, belonging to the Alston family, and a farm-house, belonging to the Gambiers, are now on the priory’s grounds. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Ely. Value, £202. Patron, the Countess Cowper. The sub-district contains also five other parishes. Acres, 12,100. Pop., 3,238. Houses, 708.
Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].
Harrold Leonard’s Gazetteer of England and Wales 1850
Harrold, 7 m. N. W. Bedford. P.1007. Mkt. Tues.
Source: Leonard’s Gazetteer of England and Wales; Second Edition; C. W. Leonard, London; 1850
Family History Links
Civil Registration District: Bedford
Probate Court: Court of the Archdeaconry of Bedford
Diocese: Pre-1837 – Lincoln, Post-1836 – Ely
Rural Deanery: Clapham
Poor Law Union: Bedford