The Town Pump is a small yet significant landmark in the centre of Ampthill. It is owned and maintained by Ampthill Town Council. The Pump lies within the Ampthill Conservation Area and is a Grade II listed building and a designated Scheduled Monument. It also serves as a milestone, each of its four faces being identified by the name of the towns to which the four roads of the Market Square lead: Bedford (VII miles north), Dunstable (XII miles south), London (XLV miles east) and Woburn (VII miles west). Constructed of Portland limestone, save the plinth, the Pump was erected in 1785 by John Fitzpatrick, the 2nd Earl of Upper Ossory (1745 - 1796) who had in 1768-72 worked on Ampthill Park House, and formed part of a programmed of public-spirited improvements initiated and paid for by the Earl.
Duke of Bedford Memorial
The Memorial lies within the Ampthill Conservation Area and a landscape which is listed grade II on the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historical Interest. It is owned and maintained by Ampthill Town Council.
The memorial marks the location of the Ampthill Training Depot when between October 1914 and October 1916 two thousand, two hundred and thirty-five men were trained at the Depot. They served with great distinction on the Western Front. Sadly 707 of the men were killed. Many of them were not recovered from the battlefields and have no known graves or headstone markers. Their names are confined to memorials representing their heroic sacrifice in battles long past.
October 1916 saw the end of Ampthill Training Depot and it was earmarked for closure when the Military Service Act was sanctioned and conscription introduced. Herbrand Arthur Russell, the eleventh Duke of Bedford and camp commander wrote to the War Office requesting further uses for the Camp. The camp was utilised as a Command Depot for returning wounded, battle-weary soldiers.
On conclusion of the war the Duke met with Cecil Greenwood Hare in Ampthill Park. The Duke asked Mr. Hare to design a memorial cross, in keeping with Katherine’s Cross. The sword on the top was copied from the Crusaders sword of Lord Pembroke, Protector of England [copied from the Temple Church, London Embankment].
The Memorial was built in 1919 on the site of the Depot’s Adjutant office. It was opened by the Duke of Bedford and later visited by Princess Beatrice, after she had opened the Cenotaph in the Alameda.
Restoration of the memorial was carried out in 2012 with the cleaning and minor stone work repair and conservation of the roll of honour inscriptions. The restoration of the memorial has been possible through grant aid assistance from The War Memorials Trust and WREN as well as generous donations from the community.
The Cross marks the site of the palace in which Katherine of Aragon was detained while awaiting the annulment in 1532 of her marriage to Henry VIII. It is owned and maintained by Ampthill Town Council.
Katherine’s Cross lies within the Ampthill Conservation Area and a landscape which is listed grade II on the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. It is a grade II listed building sitting on top of an area designated as a Scheduled Monument.
Katherine spent three years (1531-1533) in a fortified house called Ampthill Castle which was built by Sir John Cornwall – later Lord Fanhope – in the early fifteenth century. After Katherine’s death it was neglected and by 1600 had become ruins and much of the stone was purloined for other developments, possibly including Ampthill Park House below this hill.
In the late 18th century Lancelot “Capability” Brown created the open landscape of the Park as it is seen today. The Gothic cross commemorating Katherine’s time at Ampthill is recorded as having been built in 1773 by architect James Essex for Lord Ossory, although during the renovation of the Cross in 2008/2009 the stonemasons discovered the date 1760 carved on the inside of one of the stones when they dismantled the cross. The design by James Essex is said to have been influenced by the poet and writer Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford. There is a verse by Walpole cut into the stone at the base of the cross and reproduced on a more modern plaque in front of it.
“In days of old here Ampthill’s towers were seen, The mournful refuge of an injured Queen; Here flowed her pure but unavailing tears, Here blinded zeal sustain’d her sinking years. Yet freedom hence her radiant banner wav’d, And love aveng’d a realm of priests enslav’d; From Catherine’s s wrongs a nation’s bliss was spread, And Luther’s light from Henry’s lawless bed.”
It was believed that the lettering was the original from the 18th century until the cross was dismantled and an inscription on the back of the stone was discovered stating that it had been re-cut in 1868.
Katherine’s Cross gained additional fame in the 1980’s as it was at the base of this monument that Kit Williams’ Golden Hare treasure was buried. His unique book MASQUERADE included clues to the hiding place and sent the world on a treasure hunt. These days, digging a hole anywhere near the cross is considered sacrilege because there is a danger that it would damage treasure far more valuable in historical terms than the Golden Hare.
The Alameda Cenotaph War Memorial and Alameda Gate
The Alameda memorial is one of three memorials erected in Ampthill to commemorate the fallen of the Great War of 1914-18 and is owned and maintained by Ampthill Town Council along with the Alameda Gate entrance.
The memorial is a Grade II listed building and lies just within the Ampthill Conservation Area and within a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The war memorial has strong group value with the Alameda Gate which acts as the formal entrance to the Alameda and is also a Grade II listed building.
The memorial, designed by Sir Albert Richardson (1880-1964) in partnership with Charles Lovett Gill (1880-1960), was erected on land donated by the Duke of Bedford. The memorial was unveiled on 17th May 1921 by HRH Princess Beatrice and dedicated by Bishop Taylor Smith. An Inscription and further names were added after the Second World War.
Richardson lived in Ampthill from 1919 and designed several local buildings, including the Alameda Gate (listed at Grade II) erected as part of the scheme for the memorial, replacing a simple field gate. The tree-lined Alameda Walk leads from the gate to the memorial.
The Alameda Gate is the formal entrance to the Alameda and lies within the Ampthill Conservation Area and is a Grade II listed building.
Click here to view Ampthill Castle Community Archaeology Project Start
Click here to view Ampthill Castle Community Archaeology Project Final
Click here to view Ampthill Castle Scheduling Map
Click here to view Ampthill Cast Community Archaeology Project
Visit the Image Gallery in the History & Tourism section of this website to see images of Ampthill including the historic assets.