Lilincletone (circa 1086) ; Lillingestan, Lutlingeton, Lytlington (13th century) ; Lutlyngton (14th Century)
Lidlington was held by the Abbess of Barkway when the Domesday book was compiled and appears next in the historical records in 1247 when the Abbess erected a gallows to deal with the lawless. Like many ancient manors Lidlington has changed hands numerous times but in the 19th century became part of the Woburn estate. In 1886 the old church was in danger of collapse because of land slippage and the 9th Duke of Bedford funded the building of a new sandstone church which still survives today.
Like other villages in the county there are 'Ends' or hamlets with names such as Sheepcote, Lower Broughton, Wood, and Thrupp. Thrupp End boasts a fine 17th century farmhouse built on the site of ancient Goldington Manor, the outline of its moats still being discernible. Evidence of settlement nearby was provided by the discovery of a coin dating from AD275, and there are also mounds believed to be Anglo-Saxon burial ground.
Flying Horse Farm at Turnpike End is a former coaching Inn, part Elizabethan and part Georgian. Horses were changed there - the midway point on the Oxford to Cambridge route - and Dick Turpin is reputed to have stayed there.
The soil is sand, gravel, and clay. Back in 1905 the chief crops were wheat, oats, barley, beans, peas and roots, with the inhabitants principally engaged in agriculture and lace making.
The High Street is set on a steep part of the hill skirted by woodland on one side and Brogborough on the other. The hill is believed to be Bunyan's Hill, and anyone who has attempted its steep slopes would believe this. It is known that Bunyan, when preaching in Millbrook and Lidlington, always rode down the hill on his pony, but never up it.
We have some historical photographs of the railway.
LIDLINGTON AD275 - 1997
Living on the delectable mountains?John Greenway
One of the pleasures of living in Lidlington is knowing that one could be on the Delectable Mountains of John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progess", meaning he could have had it in mind when he created them in the fantasy land of his book.
On the Delectable Mountains there were vineyards and fountains, gardens and orchards. Here the pilgrims Christian and Hopeful drank and washed at the fountains, and ate freely of the vineyards.
Fountains and vineyards are imports of the imagination into the local scene. But from a little way off the clay slope and Greensand Ridge at Lidlington do indeed look like pleasant mountains rising from the Bedfordshire Plain. And when you actually get here and look back, the sight of the flat Plain on a sunny day unfolds into a vista of dreamy distance. It is reminiscent, in a smaller perspective, of fair views from many higher hills and mountains, such as those of the Severn Plain from the hills of my native Malvern.
The steep hill rising from the village to the south has been held to be the Hill Difficulty. This had a spring of water at the foot of it, as we all know, the resources of the Water Company do not always succeed in stopping springs from flowing today.
Ascending the hill, Christian was forced to go on his hands and knees because of the steepness. This does rather exaggerate the effect of the one-in-ten gradient. But a tinker on foot with a heavy load, or driving a horse and cart, might well have found it a bit daunting - as do those of us who watch, rather than take part in, the annual race up and down it.
The Marston Valley Brickworks was located on the east side of the road between Marston and Lidlington, just north of the railway crossing. Opened in 1929, operations ceased on 6th March 1977 and the derelict remains of the buildings were finally removed in the early 1990's. The land is now being transformed into a local public woodland, with walks and a lake.
Originally owned by The Marston Valley Brick Company (which also operated the Ridgmont works), it was taken over by the London Brick Company (for many years part of The Hanson Trust) in 1971.
The works produced Fletton bricks and extended into the parish of Marston Moretaine.
Further information can be obtained from Bedfordshire County Council Minerals Aspect Report unpublished draft (1972) and the London Brick Company LBC Review Volume 8, Number 1 (1978).
The devil's jumps
On the road between Lidlington and Marston Moretaine (or Moreteyne) still lies a solitary stone in a field with a strange tale to tell...
The usual belief amongst the people was that Sunday, the Sabbath, should be set aside for prayer, the Bible, and the Church. However for the people of Marston Moretaine the belief was once you had done your duty by going to church, you could do whatever you wished.
One particularly boisterous fellow, with similar friends, would sit quietly in church and then rush out as soon as the service was over, shouting and laughing. Often they would run about and play in a nearby field belonging to the young man, upsetting the vicar whose church was close by.
The young farmer refused to stop playing his favourite game of "Jumps", a noisy game of jumping onto one another shoulders. He sarcastically told the vicar "do you think the Devil himself is going to join in?".
The Devil, having heard this, waited until the young man was running around with no-one on his back. He leapt down from the church tower onto the young farmers shoulders! They leapt up into the air and a chasm suddenly opened up in the field and they fell into the fires of Hell. The field returned almost to normal, except for a single stone left where the farmer had disappeared. Hence forth this stone has been known as The Devil's Jumps.
If you have any Lidlington stories or pictures we would be honoured to let the world know about them!