Ampthill Timeline

1200's
1500's
1600's
1700's
1800's
1900's
2000's
1200's
1219

Ampthill Charter Market established. The market originally traded on the market square and later moved to a new site in Bedford Street in 1987. The current location of the Thursday market is in the lower part of the town centre car park (nearest to the Church Street entrance).

1500's
1508

Ampthill Castle becomes the property of Henry VIII.

1533

Henry VIII divorces Katherine of Aragon and she is held in Ampthill Castle.

The site of the castle is now marked by a cross erected by Lord Ossory in 1770 with an inscription said to be by Horace Walpole on its base.

"In day's 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 by priests enslav'd;
From Catherine's wrongs a nation's bliss was spread,
And Luther's light from Henry's lawless bed."

1542

Henry VIII sets up the Honour of Ampthill.

1600's
1615

Houghton House built for Mary Herbert, Dowager Countess of Pembroke.

1621

King James I visits Mary Herbert, Dowager Countess of Pembroke at Houghton House.

1664

Richard Nicolls of Ampthill whilst commanding a fleet of Battleships accepts the surrender of New Amsterdam and renames the settlement New York.

1664-1668

Richard Nicolls serves as the first Governor of New York State.

1672

Richard Nicolls is killed whilst fighting the Dutch at Solebay. A memorial in Ampthill's St.Andrew's Church incorporates the cannonball that supposedly killed him.

1678

John Bunyan publishes 'Pilgrims Progress'. Houghton House is said to have been the model for Bunyan's 'House Beautiful'. Indeed records show that he did visit the house to make repairs to cooking utensils.

 

1686

The present Ampthill House was built for the Dowager Countess of Ailesbury and Elgin by Robert Grumbold.

1690

Ampthill House sold to the first Lord Ashburnham.

1700's
1738

Houghton House acquired by the Duke of Bedford.

1770

Lord Ossory builds a memorial cross to Katherine of Aragon on the site of Ampthill Castle in Ampthill Great Park.

1785

Lord Ossory gives Ampthill the gift of a pump with an obelisk of Portland stone designed by the architect Sir William Chambers.

1794

Houghton House de-roofed and stripped of everything of value by order of the Duke of Bedford.

1800's
1810

The House of Industry (Workhouse) was built in Park Hill at a cost of £837 and demolished in 1963.

1887

Mark Rutherford (the pen name of William Hale White publishes the novel 'The Revolution in Tanner's Lane' "re-naming" Ampthill 'Cowfold'.

1813

The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel was built in 1813 on corner of Chapel Lane and Woburn Street. A very small graveyard to the rear of the Chapel remains. The chapel was later replaced by a new building in Dunstable Street in 1884.

1884

New Chapel built for the Methodist Community in Dunstable Street.

1812-16

Thatched cottages built in Woburn Street.

1818

Ampthill Park House becomes the property of Lady Holland.

1822

Union Church opened in Dunstable Street on land purchased for £60. It was not until 1858 that there was a harmonium to accompany the singing. In the 1870s the church was enlarged and in 1893 the land beside the church was bought and extra rooms and upstairs hall were built. 

1827

The Alameda of lime trees gifted to Ampthill by Lord and Lady Holland.

1845

National School opened (closed 1954).

1849

Gas Works built.

1852

Ampthill Clock House built

1868

Ampthill Station opened.

1871

Foundation stone laid for Primitive Methodists Chapel in Saunders Piece. The land was sold to them by George Pyke Robinson, a surveyor, carpenter and builder who was developing the street.

1900's
1917

The Pine trees at The Firs, the local name of Cooper's Hill, were felled by the 126th Company Canadian Forestry Corps. The logs were taken to a saw mill at Ampthill Station for transport to France for the war.

1902

The Maharajah of Koihapur and his suite visit Ampthill Park for a picnic. They arrived from London on the 4th August, and detrained at Millbrook Station. They were met by Earl Cowper and Lord Alwyno. The band of the Bedfordshire Regiment played for them in Ampthill Park and the inhabitants of the villages of Ampthill, Clophill, Silsoe and Flitwick took part in sports (reported in The Times newspaper).

1904

Strict Baptist Chapel opens in Oliver Street in October 1904.

1910

First public telephone installed in the town in the Post Office, 4 Bedford Street.

1919

Sir Albert Richardson purchases Avenue House, Church Street. This became his home until his death.

1920

A memorial cross is set up in Ampthill Park to commemorate those who died in the Great War by the Duke of Bedford.

1920

Electric Kinema opens in Saunders Piece (formerly the Primitive Methodist Chapel).

1921

Princess Beatrice comes to Ampthill to unveil The Cenotaph in the Alameda.

1934

Work starts on the building of the Roman Catholic Church (closed 1986). In 1934-1935 by the local Roman Catholic congregation. The church was built in Flitwick Road on a field near to where Redborne School would later be built. The church, dedicated in honour of Our Lady of Walsingham and Saints John Fisher and Thomas More, was extended in the 1960s, but closed in 1986 with the opening of a new church in Flitwick.

 

1937

Zonita Cinema opened in Bedford Street (closed in 1960).

1939

Electric Kinema closes on the 1st April.

1943

The Kinema becomes the headquarters of the Army Cadet Force in October and is opened by General Bridgeman.

1947

Ampthill Council purchased Ampthill Park in Woburn Street.

1950

Ampthill Library opens on the 26th September in the converted Electric Kinema building (formerly the Primitive Methodist Chapel) in Saunders Piece. The library was opend by Mrs J Arnold Whitchurch, a founder memberr of hte Library Sub-Committee.

1954

New Fire Station opened in Oliver Street.

1954

Redbourne Upper School opened.

1955

Park House sold to Group Captain Leonard Cheshire VC for use as a Cheshire Home (moved in 1977 to new premises in Woburn Street).

 

1958

Police Station opens in Woburn Street.

1963

Magistrates Courts open in Woburn Street.

1964

Sir Albert Richardson dies in Avenue House, 20 Church Street, the house he lived in from 1919.

1967

Offices of Mid Bedfordshire District Council opened, designed by Sir Albert Richardson.

1975

Wall paintings discovered in the White Hart Hotel showing the Prince of Wale's feathers and dated to 1646.

1983

Ampthill bypass opened. The main contractors were the Jackson Group.

1994

Library in Saunders Piece closed and re-opened in the former Board Room of the Workhouse in Flitwick Road.

1996

Saint Luke's Church, Ampthill moves into the ex-library building in Saunders Piece.

1930

The Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) visited the Bedfordshire County Agricultural Society annual show in Ampthill Park.

1927

Lady Ampthill died at Park House. Her daughters, the Hon. Constance and the Hon. Romola Russell, continued to serve the community.

2000's
2005

Budgens Supermarket, Rosewalk (old Zonita cinema) and the Shell Petrol Station demolished for new supermarket and retail units development.

2016

Tommy's Footprints installed in Ampthill Great Park, a commemoration project for WW1 in November 2016.

2016

Tommy's Footprints memorial poppy crosses planted in November 2016.

2017

Work begins on the redevelopment of Ampthill Town Football Clubhouse. Once completed, it will be home to the Ampthill Town Council offices and new football facilities.

2005

Budgens Supermarket, Rosewalk (old Zonita cinema) and the Shell Petrol Station demolished for new supermarket and retail units development.

2006

Waitrose supermarket opens.

2006

Mid Beds District Council vacate their offices at The Limes, Dunstable Street and move to new offices at Chicksands. Russell House (next door) is also vacated by Beds County Council.

2014

Center Parcs open their fifth holiday village in the UK, named Woburn Forest, Bedfordshire.

2015

Ampthill Town Council awarded a grant of over £606,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund/BIG under the 'Parks for People' initiative to carry out restoration work in Ampthill Great Park.