The history of Clophill, Bedfordshire, UK
Including historical descriptions, maps and statistical analysis.


This website was created to display information about Clophill's history. The site will grow as research proceeds.

The Site Map shows the plan of work. Keep an eye on the Latest page updates to see what is new. How to use this site


Heritage is that part of history that we feel personally connected with. It may be the buildings and other objects that remind us of our past. It could be memories, customs and other valued reminders.


The Village

Clophill is a linear village with its High Street of three quarters of a mile lying between the River Flit valley to the south and the Greensand Ridge to the north. There is a secondary residential area mostly along Back Street. The village has developed by infill, but it used to be much more open with fields between the High Street and Back Street.

Clophill has a long history. There is evidence for a Roman road running east-west through the village. In the Domesday book of 1086, the village is called Clopelle, which means “tree-stump hill”. Near Top Farm at Beadlow, is the site of the Benedictine Priory of Beaulieu which was founded between 1140 and 1146 by Robert D'Albini. At Cainhoe Castle is the remains of a motte and bailey castle dating from the Norman Conquest.



Learn about Clophill's history by following the Heritage Trail along the High Street. You can download a guide. There is also a Children's Trail, an i-spy quiz for your children to do as you follow the Heritage Trail.

Explore the attractive countryside around Clophill, by following the five Clophill Discovery Walks. Download and print a guide.

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Old Photos

Mike Pearson's "Clophill- A Photographic History" has been recreated here as the original site was taken down. There are over 200 photos of old Clophill.

It is arranged by time period with the locations of the photos shown on a map of the period.

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World War One

Week by week account and details of all those from Clophill who died.

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Family History

There is a lot of information on this site that could be of interest to people tracing their family tree. It includes Censuses and Parish Registers

To search all the pages on the site enter a word (such as a surname) in the box and click the button.

site search by freefind


Stories of Clophill residents.

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The descriptions of Listed Buildings tells us something about the old buildings in the village.

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100 years ago

See the interactive map which brings together the information in the 1911 Census with the 1910 Finance Act survey and tells us who owned what in the village.

Transcripts from the Ampthill News, the Parish Council minutes, the Census and Kelly's Directory show what life was like in 1911.

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Latest page updates

Memories of living at Oakley House

Gillian Lovell's memories from the early 1940's.

Parish Registers

The original positions of the graves and the recorded transcriptions on the gravestones are available.

Old Saint Mary's Church post 1848

How the Old Church went into decline and was finally rescued.

New Saint Mary's Church

How the new church came to be built.

Capt Charles Moore R.N.

The story of a brave and adventurous Royal Navy officer, who fought in the Napoleonic wars, and his children.

Gallipoli Diary

The diary of a young Royal Engineer who trained at Haynes Park and then when out and took part in the Gallipoli landings on 25 April 1915.

Mrs Wallis

Taught at St Mary's School as a supply teacher from 1929.

Canyon Case Company

The largest supplier of agricultural boxes in the country.

Ivy Stokes

Shopkeeper 1957-1986.


You rarely see tramps any more.

Maypole Dancing

Memories of Maypole Dancing in the early 1950's.

Auxiliary Fire Service

There was a Fire Station in Old Silsoe Road.

Florrie Robinson

An appreciation of a life-long resident of Clophill.

Bert Dray

Bert Dray was billeted in Clophill during WW1.

Brick and Tile Making

For centuries bricks and tiles were made to the north of Clophill.

World War One

Week by week account.
Details of all those that died from Clophill.

Licensed Premises

There were six pubs in Clophill.

Jack Durston

Middlesex and England Cricketer.

Beaulieu Priory, Beadlow

A Priory existed at Beadlow from the 12th to the 15th centuries.


Clophill had many charities to help the poor.

Susan Collip

From rags to riches?


The Early Years of Education in Clophill

The Green

And the old Bedford to Luton road

The Sad Case of the Lonely Rector

The story of Rev. George H. Pattison, vicar of Clophill 1933-34

The Mills of Clophill

Clophill had several watermills and a windmill. Only the one watermill remains stripped of all its machinery. Old photographs tell the story.


Clophill had a workhouse up until 1834 when Ampthill Union workhouse was built.


I have interviewed Clophill resident Doris Pitts (b. 1916) about her memories of the village shops and here is the transcription.

Old Maps

A selection of old maps of Bedfordshire, from 1701 to 1896, that show Clophill.

Old St Mary's Church

How the original church looked before the new church was built in the High Street in 1848.

Census analysis

Population and age distribution analysis of the 1841 to 1911 censuses presented in graphical form.


Second Edition OS Map (1902)
An interactive map of Clophill

100 years ago

What was going on in Clophill one hundred years ago? Information from the 'Ampthill News', the Parish Council minutes and other sources give a glimpse of the past.


You can download transcripts of the Clophill Memories of Jack Pitts and Jack Burgoine on the Sources page.

Heritage saved

Glad to be able to add a "Heritage Saved" page.

Who lived where a hundred years ago?

There are now 149 old houses on the interactive map. Is yours there?


I have recreated Mike Pearson's "Clophill- A Photographic History" as the original site was taken down. There are over 200 photos of old Clophill.

Who lived where a hundred years ago?

By combining data from the 1911 census and the 1910 Finance Act survey I have been able to identify who lived in over 80 houses in the village.


I have transcribed the 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911 censuses for Clophill. They are presented in tabular form, one page per census.


If you are looking for particular information look at the resources page which includes census transcripts and other primary data.

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