Towns in



The  DomesdayBook calls it "CAMESTONE".

In  the British Museum and also the Bedford Museum are finds from an Anglo Saxon  Cemetery, now called the Saxon Centre. The most important was a famous glass  drinking horn in perfect state of preservation. The importance of this discovery  is that there is evidence of a peaceful community settled in Kempston and it was  a thriving place before Bedford came into the picture.

Alfred and Guthram defined the boundaries of their respective  domains Wessex and the Danelaw in AD 885. It would seem that Kempston was just  in King Alfred's territory. In the reign of Edward the Confessor, Camestone  (Kempston) was held by Earl Gyrth, brother to King Harold (who was killed by an  arrow in 1066). Gyrth was also killed at the Battle of Hastings.

All Saints Parish  Church

After the  Conquest, King William gave Kempston to his niece, the Countess Judith de  Balliol, wife of Waltheof who became Earl of Northampton. Unfortunately Judith  is best remembered for her treachery against her husband when he was unjustly  tried and executed for treason.

In 1086  she founded the Benedictine Convent for Nuns at Elstow. There were then 2400  acres of arable land in Kempston and they needed 20 teams of oxen to keep them  in cultivation. However, a lot of land was uncultivated because it was too wet  and marshy. The River Ouse worked a mill to which the people took their corn to  be ground. There was said to be 40-45 men over 16 and their families in Kempston  at this time.


In about 1237 we hear of  various Manors of Kempston, the names of which are still used


Daubeney. 1333 the Crown granted this manor to WiIIiam Daubeney and it  remained in his family till 1502 when it was sold. The Manor House next to the  Manor Hall, the home of Kempston Town CounciI, is on the site of the original  Daubeney Manor House. Henry Ill visited Kempston in 1224 when he was at the  siege of Bedford Castle and he is said to have stayed at the Daubeney Manor  House.


Kempston St. John's and  Brucebury originally was granted to Isobel,  wife of Robert de Bruce and claimant to the Scottish throne.


Hastingsbury or Greys was granted to Ada, the wife of Henry  Hastings. It eventually was inherited by the Greys of Wrest. The Manor House  stood to the west of the present Bury House

Famous  Residents

The names of  residents in Kempston are remembered in some of the street names.

Balliol John de Balliol founded Balliol College, Oxford, and married Devorguilla,  a descendant of Countess Judith. She was the mother of a second John de Balliol  who became King of Scotland.

Cater William bought the Kempston Greys Estate in  1624 for £7200 and the family remained in Kempston for 175 years. They lived in  a house near the Bury House. They also owned Kempston  Mill.

Dennis William, a London merchant, bought the manors of Daubeney and  St. Johns in c.1603 for £7356. The family eventually sold their land in Kempston  in 1809 to Williamson The Rev Edmund, and in 1815 he built the "house that still  stands between the street and the river", i e. the Manor next to the Manor Hall.  It was a gift in Mrs. Williamson's will that made possible the building of the  Church of the Transfiguration. She also built and endowed the St. Johns  Almshouses as a memorial to her husband.

Henry, a director of the  Sun Insurance Company, built Kempston Grange in
1845 on the Ham Field.

Thornton Harry was a nephew of Henry and inherited the  Grange in 1866. Eventually it was purchased In 1885 by Mc James Howard and his  widow gave the Grange and the Park for ever to the people of  Kempston

Kempston Barracks

The  Barrackswere built 1 874-6 for the XV[th Regiment of Foot. In 1881 they became  the Depot of the Bedfordshire Regiment and in 1 91 8 for the Beds & Herts.  In 1958 the barracks closed and after nearly 80 years of decision making, a use  as a Masonic Lodge has been found for the building. At least part of the  Barracks, including the Keep is to remain as is the Regimental War Memorial  opposite.

Historic  Dates


27th February 1826 was the night of the great fire of Kempston  which destroyed 40 houses in the High Street including part ot the King William  PH. There is no account of the fire but a fund for the 55 victims raised  £344.13s.


4th April 1829 Matthew and William Li]ley were hanged at  Bedford Gaol for the murder of a gamekeeper. They were poaching for food for  their families.


8th January 1904 Second Big Fire at the Half Moon near Water  Lane. The Host ' Mr. Anthony was getting ready for a "smoker" when the fire was  discovered at 1.30 p.m. The message reached Kempston Post Office who telegraphed  at 1.40 p.m. to Bedford for the Fire Brigade and by 1.50 p.m. the horsed steamer  Victoria was dashing to the scene. They were too late, the thatched roof had  gone and soon everything was burned including Mr. Anthony's 600  cigars.

Kempston Charities  855167


The Cater Charity.


Mrs. Ann Cater's Charity for poor  widows


Sir William Long's Charity for the  Poor's Beef.


Now all three are under the  control of the Kempston Charities. They owned a workhouse which was later turned  into 4 cottages in 1850. These remain to form a delightful feature of Church  End. In 1960 they were scheduled as Ancient Monuments and long may they remain -  an oasis of old world peace in a restless and mercenary  world!
(Editor's note. They were sold by  the Trustees in 1981!)

Thirteen  "Ends"

Small hamlets which surrounded  the main settlement were BelI End, Church End, Box End, Moor End, Bridge End,  Thistley Green, West End, East End, Wood End, Crow End, Green End, Up End, and  Kempston Hardwick.

Roman  Ford

The strangest and most  valuable survival in Kempston. Great slabs of oolitic limestone cross the river  near the Ladies Walk and on the right bank are clearly visible stepping down  into the middle of the river. (Ladies Walk is just halfway down on the right in  Box End Road before you come to All Saints Church.)

Kempston - A Community

Kempston has always been proud  of its sense of community and rightly so! Many talk about "the old village" with  affection, and many others who live in 'the new town" speak of it with warmth.  Kempston is a good place in which to live, work, go to school and also enjoy  leisure activities.

So, capitalising on  this community spirit, on February 1st 1997 over 50 people, representing  organisations from Kempston, met to celebrate the good things about the town and  to think about the needs of the community.

The result:

a call for a  multi-purpose 'PoPin Centre' for residents of all ages. A centre run for and by people in  Kempston;

a desire to update the
directory of all organisations and groups within the town, and make it readily  available to all.
We are monitoring the work  of similar schemes in other towns and villages. AI I of them seem to take two or  three years to get a "Centre" off the ground and running. A working party meets  regularly to plan and test opinions in an endeavour to "get it about right." Do  support us and encourage us - for Kempston belongs to you  too.

If you would like to find out more  about these two ventures, do get in touch with either:

Debbie Ward on (01234) 221661.

(Debbie works for Bedford Borough Council, and is specially responsible  for developing Kempston as a community.)

Robin Brown on (01234) 854788.
(Robin is Vicar of the Transfiguration Church (C of E) in Kempston, and  also Rural Dean of Bedford.)

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General Information



Kempston has over one  hundred and eighty County and Borough establishments in the town, starting with  the Headquarters of the Police, Fire and Ambulance.

Family Groups

Berry Group - Multicultural groups for women.

Meets once a week at  :-
Hastingsbury Upper School,
Community Lounge,
Hill Rise,
Wednesdays 12.45 - 2.45pm term time only.
Contact Janice Payne or Miriam  Richardson

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If you are interested in applying for  Council houses in the Kempston or Bedford area, please note that there is no  Council housing provided by Bedford Borough Council. It is all provided by the:-

Bedfordshire Pilgrims Housing  Association,
Home Lane,
(01234) 328828.

You should obtain the necessary  application forms from them. You can also obtain application forms for Housing  Association premises in the area which are:-

Bedfordshire Citizens Housing  Association
(01234) 352387
Jephson Housing Association
(01234) 213661
National Housing Federation
(01234) 348494
North British Housing  Association
who have Addison Court in
Hillgrounds  Road,
(01234) 856088 and (01234) 327071
Raglan Housing Association
which has the flats in  Kempston
(01234) 347060.
Housing 21 Sheltered Accommodation,
Edward Arnold Court,
Hillgrounds Road,
(01234) 856478 or 856379.


Meets in the Centenary Hall, 104 Bedford  Road, Kempston

Kempston Shotokan  Karate Club
Meets at Balliol Lower School

Sunday afternoons 3.00 - 6.00pm.
Contact  number Mr M Dass (0958) 297216 (Mobile)

Monday 7.00 - 8.00
7.30 -  8.30
Andy Kidby (01234) 853847 or at

Kempston Boys  Brigade and Kempston Girls Brigade

If you are interested in joining either  of these organisations, ring either:-

Linda Smith Tel No (01234) 851435 or
David Sims Tel No (01234)  853167.

Kempston  Guides

Meets Wednesdays in the
Centenary Hall,
104 Bedford  Road,

6.30 - 9.30 pm.
Sandra  Cove Tel No (01234) 768947.

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Kempston Senior Citizens  Club

Meets in the Centenary Hall. New members  are always welcome, just come along and join in if you are interested in  dancing, whist, bingo, food or a chat.

Wednesdays and Fridays during the morning and afternoon.
Contact (01234) 857011

Mums and Toddler  Groups

The Centenary Hall, 104 Bedford Road,  Kempston has two Mums and Toddler Groups who meet on:-

Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 1.30 to 3.00 pm
Contact numbers are as follows:-
Carol Donovan (01234) 840115 or
Suzanne Denham Tel no (01234) 857467
Mrs Edmunds (contact Town Council for details)


Stepping StonesToddler  Group
Kempston East Methodist Church  Hall
Foster Road

Mother and Toddler Group meet on Monday, Tuesday and Friday mornings  9.30-11.15am and caters for children up to 3yrs.
Contact number (07977 890536) during one of the sessions.

Beulah Drop In  Centre
30 Bunyan |Road

Parent and Toddler  Group
Wednesdays 10.30-12.30  pm


Hastingsbury  Playgroup
Hastinsbury Upper  School
Hill Rise

Contact No (01234) 851338

Lodge Playgroup
Bunyan Road

Monday - Friday 9.30 - 11.45

Stepping Stones  Pre-School
Kempston East Methodist Church  Hall
Foster Road

Pre-school for children aged 3-5yrs, meets every morning  9.15-11.45am
Contact number (07977 890536)  during one of the sessions.

Habitat Playgroup
Transfiguration Church Hall
Bedford road

3+yrs Mornings 9.15 - 11.45
2½yrs Afternoons 12.30 - 3.00

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Slimming  Clubs

Slimming World
Centenary Hall
104 Bedford  Road

Mondays 5.30pm and 7.15 pm.
Contact Val  Careless (01234) 345213

Centenary Hall
104 Bedford  Road

Thursdays 9.15 - 10.45
Contact Margaret Ralph  (01767) 682397

St John  Ambulance

Meet at
Kempston Town Council
offices, top  floor

Anyone aged 6-65 can attend the various  sessions
Thursday 5.00 -9.30 pm
Contact Vic  (01234) 356846


Balliol Road 853435
Marlborough Park 855699

Banks and Building  Societies

Abbey National,
Saxon Centre,
(01234) 856677


215 Bedford  Road,
(01234) 854736

231 Bedford Road
(01234) 854444

189 Bedford Road,
(01234) 345421

209 Bedford  Road,
(01234) 840795


178 Bedford Road
(01234) 851577

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Bottle Banks and  Recycling

Saxon Centre, Bedford Road,  Kempston
St Johns Street Car Park,  Kempston
Hastingsbury Upper  School
Hillgrounds Road, Kempston


All Saints' (C of E)
Church End,

Contact No. (01234) 852241

Bedford Seik Association
Centenary Hall
104 Bedford  Road

Sunday 9.30 - 2.00pm

Church of Our Lady (RC),
Bedford Road,

Contact No. (01234) 854125

Kempston Evangelical  Church
Hastingsbury Upper  School
Hill Rise

Sundays 10.30am and  6.00pm
Contact: Dr Ray Evans
Tel (01234) 357870

Methodist East,
Bedford Road,

Contact No. (01234) 851987

Methodist West,
High Street,

Contact No. (01234) 851987

Spiritual Fellowship,
Meet in the Council Chamber

Contact No. (012340 856299

Transfiguration (C of E),
Bedford Road,

Contact No. (01234) 854788

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Clubs and Leisure  Facilities

Active and Interested  Mothers

Meet Tuesdays 9.30-11.30am at Kempston  Youth Centre (during term time). Contact Rachel (01234) 824933

1st Kempston Guides

(01234) 768947

7th Kempston Cubs

(01234) 852940/219254

7th/94th Sea  Scouts
The Scout Hut
Denis Road

The groups range from Beavers  (6yrs) through to Cubs (8+) and Scouts (11-15, boys and girls). The 101st also  has a venture unit for 15-20 year olds.
Enquires to the District Secretary John Hitt (01234) 404186

101st Kempston  Scouts
Addison Howard Park

Karate in Kempston

(01234) 325319

Keep Fit
Centenary Hall
104 Bedford  Road

Tuesday 10.00 - 12.00am
Contact Mrs Webster (01234) 856968

Kempston Boys Brigade

Kempston Camera  Club
meets Wednesdays at the  Trnsfiguration Parish Centre at 8.00pm

Kempston Central W.I.
Kempston East Methodist Church  Hall
at 9.30am (1st Wed of each  month)

(01234) 856167

(01234) 401583

(01234)  852841

Kempston Cricket

Kempston Girls Brigade

Kempston Library

Kempston Musical  Society

Kempston Rugby Club

Kempston Senior Citizens Club

Kempston Swimming Pool

Kempston Town Football Club

(01234) 355574

(01234) 851455

(01234)  853092

(01234) 853163

(01234) 852072

(01234)  301065/853386

(01234)  843777

(01234) 852329(01234)  266344

Kempston Towns Womens Guild

(01234) 301544

Kempston West End Junior Football  Club

Contact Mark Standish (01234)  765331

Lawson Indoor Bowls

(01234) 852291

Virgin Cinema,
Newnham Avenue,

(01234) 266344

Funeral Services


150 Bedford Road,

Kempston Cemetery,
Green End Road,

(01234)  853222/855044

(01234)  851823

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Addison Centre,
Hiligrounds Road,

Centenary Hall,

104 Bedford Road,

Kempston Keep,
Bedford Road,


Southfields Road,

Transfiguration Church Hall,
Bedford Road,

(01234)  350893/843940

(01234)  851005

(01234)  253574

(01234)  267422

(01234) 348334


Au and Wallis,
St John's Street,

Done and Partners ,
Cater Street,

Khanbhai and Partners,
Bedford Road,

(01234) 85112  7

(01234)  853461


Health  Centre

Kempston Clinic,
Halsey Road,

(01234) 852195


The Surgery,
212 Bedford  Road,

Dental Care
Bedford  Road

(01234)  851192

(01234) 405050

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158 Bedford Road,

Valerie Curtis,
2b Bunyan Road,

(01234)  855822

(01234) 851873





Disabled Peoples Council

Kempston Charities

Kempston Fun Day

Royal  British Legion

St Johns Homes, Bedford  Road, Kempston

(01234) 851005 - For  Information

(01234)  854768

(01234) 300848

(01234) 841698

(01234)  840882


(01234) 306286 Email:

TOC H Charity Shop
87 Williamson Road


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AIDS - 24 hour  service
Anglian Water - Emergencies and  General Enquiries.
Bedford Borough Council,  Town Hall, Bedford.
Bedford Tourist  Information
Bedfordshire County Council,  Cauldwell St,
British Rail
Bus Station, Bedford
Cancer  Aftercare
Children In Trouble Freephone
Citizens Advice Bureau, 38 Mill Street,  Bedford Community Health Council, 41 Mill Street Bedford
Door To Door Bus
Drink  Drive Hotline - Beds Police
DSS Linkline
Gas Escape
Hastingsbury Community Bus
Kempston Town Council, 104 Bedford Road, Kempston
Rape Crisis Centre
Relate  (Marriage Guidance)
Samaritans, 23 Foster  Hill Road, Bedford
Social Security, Wyvern  House, 53-57 Bromham Rd, Bedford.
Social  Services, Kingsway, Bedford.
Trading Standards  Office, County Hall Bedford,
Vehicle  Registration, 2 Dunstable Road, Luton, Beds
Victim Support

0800 567123
(0345) 145145
(01234)  267422
(01234) 215226
(01234) 363222
(01234)  269686
(01234) 362151
(01234) 853285
0800  111
(01234) 354384
(01234) 212228
(01234)  271087
Freephone 100
0800 666555
(01234)  262121
0345 124 102
0345 426 122
(01234)  852756
(01234) 851005 Open 1.00pm - 5.00pm  Monday - Friday
(01582) 33592
(01234) 356350
(01234)  211211
(01234) 361500
(01234) 345331
(01234)  228280
(01582) 412143
(01234) 855668



Burns and Wakely, St John's Street,  Kempston