Biddenham is one of the smallest and one of the prettiest villages in Bedfordshire. It lies in a loop of the River Great Ouse before it reaches Bedford some two miles away.
A settlement has been here since before Roman times. In 1861 Stoneage items were also found together with Saxon mirrors and scrolls. Such items are deemed so important to the history of England that they are in the hands of the British Museum.By the 7th century Biddenham was in the Kingdom of Mercia, which became Christian in AD/CE 653. In 1086 after the Norman conquest an inventory was taken of everything in England and written down in what is known as the Domesday Book. In this only one manor is mentioned in Biddenham – that of Forde End (demolished in 1967). It belonged to a William Spek (Le Espec), who had obtained the manor in exchange for Toddington.The Church of St. James the Great dates from Saxon times and has been added to through Norman, Early English to the present day. Many thatched cottages remain from the 17th century, and other houses are from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, some of which are ‘listed’ as being of special historic or architectural interest. Part of the village, where there are stone houses, thatched cottages and open greens, and the section from the village green to the church, forms a conservation area, where further development and all the trees are protected. Other important trees in the village have preservation orders on them. This is also the location for the Village Sign (unfortunately, this has recently been damaged and is due to be reinstated shortly.)
It is worth while visiting the village pond created in 1700 by Sir William Boteler and his wife Elizabeth as a carp pond to provide fish for the Biddenham Manor table. This was restored in 1986 and is maintained as a wild life and amenity area for the village by the Friends of the Biddenham Village Pond . The pond lies on an ancient causeway, the Coffin Path, leading from the village green in Gold Lane, past the pond, to the church. There are benches available for your well deserved rest and enjoyment.
If anybody would like to expand this series please do. I would just ask that you let Smokeypugs know first so they can keep track of the Village Sign numbers and names to avoid duplication.