Hidden away on the northern edge of the county is the tiny village of Pertenhall which, despite its size, lays claim to a host of historical facts and connections.
Situated on the B660 Bedford to Kimbolton Road, about two miles from the Cambridgeshire border, Pertenhall, in the Parish of Stodden, is one of the many tiny villages and hamlets that populate the rural areas at the top of the county. Although the village has a population of less than 250 people, it is still part of an agricultural community. Although the area is increasingly becoming a commuter area for nearby towns and cities.
The church of St Peter is a fine example of a 12th century limestone building. On the south wall of the nave is a small marble tablet to various members of the Rolt family who lived nearby in the 17th century Manor. Mary, the wife of Edward Rolt, was the youngest daughter of Oliver Cromwell. The old rectory is an attractive red brick Georgian building grouped around parkland and is joined by a path to both the church and the old manor house.
The ancient Manor House of Pertenhall is situated near the church on the site of a former moated mansion belonging to the Knights Templar. It is a large timber-framed Elizabethan building. In 1525 it became the property of Bishop Fox, the founder of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He gave the manor to the college, in whose possession it remained until 1877 when it was bought and restored. During the restoration work, portions of 23 human skeletons were found around the house.
In a field at Chadwell End is The Chad Well. It is well documented that during the last century it was thought that the water in this well had curative properties, especially for eyesight problems, and people came from miles around hoping to cure their ailments. The well is still there today but in a poor state of repair, although the Parish Council are hoping to undertake restoration work in the near future.
Further along the road towards Kimbolton is the former Moravian Chapel. This was built in the early 19th century by the Rev J. K. Martyn, a professor of Botany at Cambridge. He resigned the curacy of Pertenhall and joined the Moravian Church, founding a Moravian Society in the parish, who, like the Methodists, taught the simple life.
Chairman of the Parish Council Brian Stevens said: “This attractive village has a fascinating history and is a rich source for local historians, being part of Pertenhall and Swineshead. We hope that the recently imposed 30mph speed limit on the B660 through the village will help to restore some of its previous tranquillity.”
From "Bedfordshire 2002 - Issue 19, June 2002"
By kind permission of Bedfordshire County Council, acknowledging the Editor Michele Smith.
For more information about Pertenhall take a look at