The County Page
The river Great Ouse winds across the county of Bedfordshire and is joined by the Ivel in the east, near the border with Cambridgeshire.
"Here Ouse, slow winding through a level plain,
Of spacious meades with cattle sprinkled o'er,
Conducts the eye along his sinuous course,
Cowper, The Task Book 1
Uplands to the north and the rising Either Hills to the south frame the some 300,000 acres that comprise this county with its traces of early civilisation giving way to villages in most localities. The Danes were in evidence in what is now Bedford, the Saxons to the south and later the Normans became powerful in Bedford, Yieldon, Cainhoe, Thurleigh and Eaton Bray.
Eventually, following the dissolved estates of the Norman barons, rose the estates of the families of Grey at Wrest, St John at Bletsoe, and later Melchbourne, Russell at Woburn, The Marquess of Bute at Luton Hoo, and the Torrington at Southill (later taken over by Whitbread.
Surviving smaller estates are Campton, Meppershall, Hinwick Hall, Pertenhall Manor, the ruin of Houghton House, Aspley House, Henlow Grange and Hassells Hall in Sandy.
Catterns Cakes are a special dainty of the lace makers of Bedfordshire and are made on their feast day, St Catherine's Day.
Bedfordshire born and Bedfordshire bred,
Strong in the arm and thick in the head