Linslade

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Linslade
Buckinghamshire
The Globe Inn Pub, Linslade.jpg
The Globe Inn in Linslade
Location
Grid reference: SP910259
Location: 51°55’27"N, 0°40’39"W
Data
Population: 21,590  (2007 est.)
Post town: Leighton Buzzard
Postcode: LU7
Dialling code: 01525
Local Government
Council: Central Bedfordshire
Parliamentary
constituency:
South West Bedfordshire

Linslade is a little town in Buckinghamshire, on the border with Bedfordshire. It abuts the town of Leighton Buzzard, and the townscape spreads fluidly across the county border to join the two. The two towns form the joint civil parish of 'Leighton-Linslade'.

The town is not where once it was. The original Linslade, dating from Anglo-Saxon times, stood further north than the modern town, and survives today as the hamlet of Old Linslade. It was a prominent village during the 13th century.

The present location superseded the original during the 1840s, after massive growth associated with the construction of the Grand Union Canal and more particularly the London and Birmingham Railway (now known as the West Coast Main Line). Linslade underwent a second major period of expansion, again associated with the railways, during the 1970s.

Name

The name Linslade is from Old English, perhaps meaning "river crossing near a spring", though other plausible meanings exist.[1]) The original form of the name, recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of 966, is Hlincgelad, then it is found as ‘’Linchlade’’, but by the time of the Domesday Book, in 1086, it had become Lincelada.[2] The name continued to evolve, first appearing in its modern form in the 16th or 17th century,[3] but with variations continuing into the 19th century.

Old Linslade

Old Linslade is the original village. It stands to the north of the modern town, on the west bank of the River Ouzel and the Grand Union Canal, which are bridged here on a lane running out to Heath and Reach. This was once a prospering village, from the pilgrim trade in the Middle Ages, but there is little left standing beyond a few houses and St Mary's Church.

Churches

St Mary's church is a mediæval building. It contains interesting brasses and memorials, and a mediæval carved font.

St Barnabus is a Victorian church, a child of the growth of the new Linslade. It has Victorian stained glass including some by Kempe & Morris. The attractive pews are Edwardian.

In 2008, the parish was transferred from the Diocese of Oxford to the Diocese of St Albans.

History

Old Linslade

The earliest records of Linslade are of an Anglo-Saxon manorial hall, at the site of present-day Old Linslade, in 975 belonging to "Azelina", Ralph Tailbois' wife.

After the Norman Conquest, in 1066, the manor was taken over by the de Beauchamp family. In 1251 a royal charter was granted to William de Beauchamp to hold a weekly market in Linslade, as well as a yearly 8-day fair. This grant was made on account of a Holy Well or Spring, located to the north of the village, which was a site of major pilgrimage. The holy well, which was a fabricated miracle to bring souls to the shrinking congregation of Old Linslade, was where the canal is sited today not far from the church.

In 1299, however, Oliver Sutton, Bishop of Lincoln, warned pilgrims off by threatening those who did not desist with excommunication. His reason for this is either that the well was unconsecrated[4] or that the miracles being attested to happen at the well were found to be fraudulent.[5] The vicar of Linslade, who did not dissuade the pilgrimages from visiting the spring because of the offerings they made, was forced to appear at the bishop's court.

Without the pilgrims, the importance of Linslade declined. But in the 15th century, the original 12th-century church, dedicated to St Mary the Virgin, was rebuilt.

Chelsea New Town

A second settlement, known as Chelsea New Town, began growing to south of the original Linslade, on the Buckinghamshire-side of the crossing into Leighton Buzzard.

At the beginning of the 19th century the parish population was 203, but in 1805 the Grand Union Canal was opened on the Linslade-side of the River Ouzel, and in 1838 the London & North Western Railway built a railway line alongside the canal.[6] This precipitated a rapid growth in population around the station, so that by 1840 the parish of Linslade had 869 residents. This prompted the vicar of Linslade, the Rev. B. Perkins, to set about fundraising for a school for the parish's poor, and a church for the New Town.

Fundrasing for the church was only completed by the Rev. Perkin's successor, Rev. Peter Thomas Ouvry; and its completion in 1849 marks the point that the New Town had become Linslade.

The name Chelsea Green exists as a street name in modern Linslade.

Bideford Green

From the 1840s onwards, Linslade grew steadily, although dipping during the Wars.[7] But at the end of the 1960s a sustained period of development began which saw major housing estates added, so that by the end of the 1970s the town had over doubled in size. This saw an influx of commuters to these cheap houses, swelling of the population to something close to its present level.

Since the 1980s expansion has been constrained by Green Belt, with constructed limited to infilling packets of lands left undeveloped, or redeveloping older sites. But with the construction of the Linslade Western Bypass (A4146), and the government demanding many more houses in the South-East, residents fear that a new period of expansion may be just around the corner.

About the village

The expansion of Linslade during the 1970s added few additional amenities, besides houses, and so to this day Linslade relies on pre-existing facilities, many of which are Victorian in origin and—where those are insufficient—on Leighton Buzzard. Facilities are, however, managed jointly for the two towns (although see traffic, below, to understand why this can be a problem).

Linslade has no high street. Small, family run shops are clustered at the "Centre of Linslade", where three arterial roads converge to cross the canal and river. Many of these buildings are Victorian in origin, as are all pubs, and the Hunt Hotel.

In recent years the area between the river and the canal has been redeveloped.

Linslade has two semi-wild park areas. Linslade Wood (colloquially called Bluebell Wood) is a mature woodland dating back to at least the 16th century. Tiddenfoot Pit, a former quarry, turned into a lake and wildlife area. Both are managed by Greensands Trust.

Additional there are parks suitable for teenagers to kick around a football, and for dogs to run about, as well as fenced off play areas for young children, containing slides and swings.

Sport

  • Football teams Sporting Linslade 5-a-side

The Great Train Robbery

In 1963 the Great Train Robbery took place at a site near Bridego Bridge, between the villages of Cheddington and Linslade. Every time a Great Train Robber was caught law dictated that they had to be brought back to the small court house at Linslade to be charged.

Outside links

References