The Chequers public house
|North East Bedfordshire|
Wrestlingworth is a village in Bedfordshire, standing in the east of the county close to the border with Huntingdonshire. Wrestlingworth is a small picturesque rural parish of approximately 1,700 acres with a population of over 850 people.
The name of the village is found as Wrastlingewurde (12th century) and as Wrestlingforth (17th & 18th centuries).
Well located for commuting to Cambridge, Stevenage and London, the village is a thriving community with an active pre-school group and a Church of England VC Lower School, which is rated outstanding by Ofsted.
Wrestlingworth is a highly social community with a wide variety of active groups, many of which hold their meetings in the village's iconic Grade-I-listed 17th-century pub, The Chequers. These include the local Women's Institute, the Goodwill Fund, the Walking and Wildlife Group, The Bowls Club and the Pre-School support group.
Wrestlingworth is renowned for its excellent network of local walks through the superb local countryside and nearby ancient woods at Potton, together with the historic Clopton Way.
Water End is a hamlet at the south of Wrestlingworth at TL255470; houses joined by just a track and footpath of a few dozen yards to the main village, some half a mile to the south of the village centre.
Wrestlingworth is not mentioned in the Domesday Book. However, by the mid 12th century two manor houses – Kendale's and Hereford's - are recorded as the village which was being established along the banks of a tributary of the River Cam.
The Church of St Peter was established in about 1300 and still plays a central role in village life. Graves from the Great Plague are still clearly visible in St Peter's churchyard, together with low-set 'leper' windows.
Through the centuries Wrestlingworth flourished as a rural farming community partly due to its close proximity to the old Great North Road and the historically influential towns of Potton and Biggleswade.
The last woman to be publicly hanged
In the 1840s notoriety hit the village when the case of the murderess Sarah Dazley came to the fore. By the age of 25 Sarah had poisoned two husbands and a child. She was about to marry a third husband when villagers warned him of her past and subsequent investigations took place. These commenced with exhumation of the bodies and a Coroner's Inquest which was held in The Chequers Pub. Traces of arsenic were found and several local residents gave evidence against Sarah during her trial at Bedford Assizes.
At the end of the harrowing case, Sarah was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged outside Bedford Goal. She was the last woman to be publicly hanged in Britain and it is said that the entire Wrestlingworth community walked or rode over to Bedford to see the event.