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

Edward Crouch

The following is taken from 'THE CLEFT IN THE HILLS The historical development of a Bedfordshire Village since the 12th century' by The Rev. W. A. M. GRANT, Hon.C.F.

The vestry meeting of 1913 followed an Easter with another record number of communicants, 136 this time. At this meeting a hearty vote of thanks was proposed to Mr. Crouch for all his past services.

Mr. Crouch replied: That he had held the honourable office of Rector's Churchwarden for fifty years. He had served with four Rectors and that it had always been a pleasure and a privilege for him to work harmoniously with them. The time had come when he must give up. It was often said that old men cling too long, and perhaps he had. He had always received kindness and consideration from the people of Clophill, of whom he was proud to be one. He was grateful for the vote of thanks and regretted that he could no longer fill a public office with credit either to himself or to the parish, so he felt he must give up. He concluded by thanking one and all for many kindnesses received during many years.

At this date Mr. Crouch must have been nearly ninety years of age.

From 1823-1853 Mr. James Crouch, of Cainhoe, was Rector's Warden, and there was a Crouch of Canhoe(sic) acting as Rector's Churchwarden way back in 1804. In 1864 Mr. Edward Crouch, of Cainhoe, was appointed Rector's Warden, and he remained as such until 1913; between them these loyal members of a family gave faithful service to their parish church for nearly a century. "The Father of Clophill", as he has been called, was greatly loved and respected.

On his eightieth birthday a handsome walking stick was presented to him; it was inscribed upon a gold band in these words: "To E. Crouch Esq. in commemoration of his 80th birthday Nov. 17th 1903, a token of respect and affection from the parish of Clophill" together with a morocco-bound volume containing the names of some 500 subscribers, on the fly-leaf these words: 'To E. Crouch Esq., "Fourscore and Foursquare".' An appropriate gift, for I am told that he was a regular walker to church - a tidy step from Cainhoe! He erected the lych gate at the entrance to the old church as a memorial to his wife.

We are fortunate that Mr. Crouch recorded his reminiscences in the eightieth year of his long life, and that the Rev. H. R. Meyer included them -in the Clophill section of the Ampthill Deanery Magazine of 1904. I quote them in full:

'My earliest recollections of Clophill begin on Christmas Day, 1829, when my godmother, the then Rector's wife (Mrs. Nethersole), gave me a Bible and a Prayer Book, which I still possess. Soon after that I remember being taken up the hill to the old parish church, and I often picture to myself the old church as it then was, with two galleries at the west end, one above the other, the lower one filled with men, the upper one with the Sunday School boys. The body of the church was partly taken up with high square pews, some of them appropriated seats and some free to the women. My father's pew was upstairs on a level with the pulpit, so we had a good view of the congregation.

One side of the church was occupied by the bigger girls of the Sunday School, who wore a very neat sort of uniform with a straw bonnet, all being dressed alike, and I 'think even now that they looked very nice. On the other side of the chancel were seated the young girls of the village, who used to attend in goodly numbers. The Sunday School anniversary was the great day of the year, when not only the church but the churchyard was crowded. My father, as Rector's Churchwarden, used to patrol the churchyard during service to keep order. We had no music in those days except a pitch pipe. The old clerk used to give out one of the psalms out of the prayer book, read the first verse, pitch the tune with his pipe, then lead the singing, which, so far as I remember, was hearty.

In those days there was no Post Office in Clophill, we had to send to Silsoe for our letters. One from London cost eightpence, and from longer distances, to the best of my recollection, the postage went up to fourteen pence. The only means of getting to London from Clophill was by old Ward's Coach, which left Bedford at seven o'clock in the morning, by way of Ampthill, Silsoe and Luton, getting to the George and Blue Boar, Holborn, barring accidents, at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon and returning next day. Luggage was conveyed by Mr. Edward's Waggon from Silsoe, which went twice a week to London.

In those days straw plaiting was a great industry, and the earnings of the women and girls in those days, when men's wages were very low, and bread often dear, tea and sugar always dear, did much to find the necessary food for the family. There were no schools (as we know them today) in Clophill except the Sunday Schools, and other classes, such as plaiting classes, where a little reading was taught. Only a few of the young people could write, and many of them not read.

I just remember the old "work house" being occupied as a work house (where Mr. and Mrs. W. Gudgin now live - near The New Inn), but in 1835 the Poor Law Amendment Act came into operation, and that very much altered things. I recollect the old Pest House in Hunter's meadow, where people were taken when they had smallpox, a very common and fatal disease before vaccination was discovered. I have known the Pest House occupied by smallpox patients once. So far as I recollect, they could not get a woman, even one who had had smallpox herself, to look after them, and the work was left to the parish Constable, who carried provisions once a day, as near as he dare go, for one of the patients to fetch. Nursing in those days was not a profession as it is now, I have seen many changes in Clophill during my long life, and I think many improvements, more especially in education. '

Other pages on this site which mention Edward Crouch

April 1877 - Clophill Workhouse - Mary Phillips

Edward Crouch was admitted tenant

Old St Mary's Church

The Lych Gate dedicated to Edward Crouch's wife in 1905.

Kelly's Directory of Bedfordshire 1910

Crouch Edward, farmer, Cainhoe

'Ampthill News' Saturday January 21st 1911


'Ampthill News' Saturday March 4th 1911

Unionist Association Dinner

'Ampthill News' Saturday March 11th 1911

Cricket Club meeting

Parish Council 27th March 1911 minutes

Annual Parish Council meeting.

'Ampthill News' Saturday April 1st 1911

Annual Parish Meeting.

'Ampthill News' Saturday April 15th 1911

public meeting to consider Coronation celebrations.

'Ampthill News' Saturday April 29th 1911

Annual vestry meeting.

'Ampthill News' Saturday 3rd June 1911

Empire Day celebration.

'Ampthill News' Saturday July 1st 1911

Coronation Celebrations in Bedfordshire. Clophill.

'Ampthill News' Saturday September 9th 1911

The adjourned vestry meeting.

'Ampthill News' Saturday November 4th, 1911

The annual meeting of the Reading Room members.

'Ampthill News' Saturday November 25th, 1911

Reaching his eighty-eighth birthday.

'Ampthill News' Saturday December 2nd 1911

An iron fence, the gift of Mr. Crouch,

Saturday November 7th 1914

Retirement of Mr. Edward Crouch

Saturday January 2nd 1915


Census entries about the Crouch family

1841 Census

Place Name Age of Males Age of Females Place Beds. Born
Cainhoe Farm James Crouch 55 Farmer Y
Alice Crouch 50 N
Elizabeth Crouch 25 Y
William Crouch 20 Y
Richard Leonard Crouch 15 Y
Leonard Crouch 15 Y
Michael O'Brien 15 Farmer N
Hannah Dilley 20 F.S. Y
John Whittamore 15 M.S. Y
Emma D Anvert 30 Ind. Y
Louisa Sophia Wing 20 Ind.

1851 Census

Place Name Relation Condition Age of males Age of females Occupation Where Born
Cainhoe Farm James Crouch Head Mar 60 Farmer (350 acres) 17 men Beds - Clophill
Alice Crouch Wife Mar 58 Farmer's Wife Beds - Clophill
Edward Crouch Son Un 25 Farmer's son Beds - Clophill
Alice Maria Crouch Daughter Un 19 Farmer's Daughter Beds - Clophill
Emma D Anvert Visitor Un 25 Annuitant Beds - Hawnes
Ann Lansbury Servant Un 19 House Servant Beds - Lidlington
Eliza Cherry Servant Un 24 House Servant Bucks - Astwood
George Gorden Servant Un 21 Farm Labourer Beds - Campton

1861 Census

Place Name Relation Condition Age of males Age of females Occupation Where Born
Cainhoe Farm Edward Crouch Head Mar 37 Farmer 460 acres Beds - Clophill
Mary Ann Crouch Wife Mar 37 Kent - Dover
Daniel Hopkins Servant Un 28 Groom Beds - Flitwick
Mary Dean Servant Un 22 Cook Camb - Gamlingay
Rose White Servant Un 19 Housemaid Beds - Flitwick
John Hide Servant Mar 40 Housekeeper Beds - Shillington

1871 Census

Place Name Relation Condition Age of males Age of females Occupation Where Born
Cainhoe Farm Home Marianne Crouch Wife Mar 45 Farmer's Wife Kent - Dover
Emma Powell Visitor Un 46 Kent - Dover
Eliza Anderson Servant Un 30 Cook Domestic Herts - Rimpton
Emily Huffen Servant Un 30 House Maid Herts - Ashwell
Misswell Farm, Tring Benjamin Crouch Head Mar 76 Farmer 274 acres Beds - Clophill
Marian Crouch Wife Mar 72 Suffolk - Pakenham
Ellen Kirby Serv Unm 21 Cook Bucks - Shallington
Mary Ann Cannon Serv Unm 21 Housemaid Bucks - Westcote
James Kipping Serv Unm 44 Farm Servant Indoor Herts - Tring
Edward Crouch Visitor Mar 46 Farmer Beds - Clophill

1881 Census

Place Name Relation Condition Age of males Age of females Occupation Where Born
Cainhoe Farm Edward Crouch Head Mar 58 Farmer Of 56 Acres Beds - Clophill
Mary Ann Crouch Wife Mar 58 Farmer's Wife Kent - Dover
Emma Powel Wife's Sister Un 63 Domestic Servant Kent - Dover
Eliza Anderson Servant Un 38 Domestic Servant Hertford - Therfield
Eliza Giddins Servant Un 22 Domestic Servant Orwell

1891 Census

Place Name Relation Condition Age of males Age of females Occupation Where Born
Cainhoe Farm Edward Crouch Head Mar 67 Farmer Beds - Clophill
Mary A Crouch Wife Mar 67 Kent - Dover
Emma Powell Sister-in-law Un 70 Living On Own Means Kent - Dover
Eliza Anderson Servant Un 40 Cook Domestic Servant Hertfordshire - Therfield
Annie Giddings Servant Un 26 Housemaid Domestic Servant Cambridgeshire - Orwell

1901 Census

Place Name Relation Condition Age of males Age of females Occupation Where Born
Cainhoe Edward Crouch Head M 77 Farmer Beds - Clophill
Mariann Crouch Wife M 77 Kent - Dover
Emma Powell Sister-in-law S 80 Living on own means Kent - Dover
Ellen Anderson Servant S 55 Cook, Domestic Hertfordshire - Royston
Lizzie Parcel Servant S 20 Housemaid, domestic Cambridgeshire - Orwell

1911 Census

Place Name Relation Condition Sex Age Occupation Where Born
Cainhoe (Park) Farm CROUCH, Edmund Head Married M 87 Farmer Clophill, Beds
ENDERSON, Eliza Servant Single F 60 Domestic Cook Bromley, Herts
PURCILL, Lilly Servant Single F 24 Domestic Housemaid Druids, Cambridge