Tilsworth


Tilsworth

infobox UK place
official_name = Tilsworth
country = England
region = East of England
population = 420 [Bedfordshire County Council, [http://www.bedfordshire.gov.uk/CouncilAndDemocracy/Statisticsandcensus/FactsAndFigures/PopulationEstimatesAndForecasts.aspx Population Estimates and Forecasts] , estimate for 2006.]
os_grid_reference = SP979244
latitude = 51.9096
longitude = -0.5783
post_town = LEIGHTON BUZZARD
postcode_area = LU
postcode_district = LU7
dial_code = 01525
constituency_westminster = South West Bedfordshire
shire_district = South Bedfordshire
shire_county = Bedfordshire

Tilsworth is a small village in Bedfordshire. It lies to the north west of Dunstable, and the Roman Watling Street (A5) forms the north east boundary of the parish of 1200 acres (4.8 km²). The village lies on the gault clay, where springs well up just south of a gentle gravelly ridge. A large proportion of the area is still farmland.

The Domesday Book calls the place "Pileworde" because of a misunderstanding of the symbol for "th", and the name probably means "Thyfel's homestead". [V. Watts, "The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names", Cambridge, 2004, ISBN 0-521-36209-1.]

Stanbridge, a larger village, is a close neighbour to the west and some organisations, such as the Women's Institute, are combined. [ [http://www.stanbridge-tilsworth.com/wi.htm Tilsworth and Stanbridge Women's Institute] ]

The Medieval All Saints' Church, built of Totternhoe stone, stands in a prominent position on the hillside, and can be seen from a distance when floodlit at night.B. B. West, "Bedfordshire sketch-book CLXXX – Tilsworth", "Bedfordshire Magazine", volume 25, number 197, pages 202–203, 1996.] It has shared a vicar with Stanbridge since the 19th century, and the combined benefice now also includes Totternhoe. [C. Pickford, "Bedfordshire Churches in the Nineteenth Century, Part III: Parishes Salford to Yelden", Bedfordshire Historical Record Society volume 79, 2000, ISBN 0-85155-063-0, page 680.] The Church House acts as a centre for many local organisations and there is an active community life in the village.

The Methodist Church, faced with the need for expensive repairs, was closed in 1990 and demolished. [J. Schneider (editor), "I Can Remember ...": Village Life Recollected in the Words of People from Tilsworth, Bedfordshire", Friends of Tilsworth Church, 2006, page 51.]

Across the road from the Church, on lower ground, is the ancient moated site of Tilsworth Manor (now a private house). The house itself has been much altered in modern times, but retains a picturesque 15th century gate tower. Tilsworth fête is held in the grounds each June. The manor was owned in the 16th century by the Fowler family. In 1600 a notorious trial followed a quarrel between Richard Fowler and his young wife. Richard was imprisoned in the Tower of London as the result of a forged letter implicating him in a plot to poison Queen Elizabeth I. His wife, her brother and her lover were convicted of the forgery. [B. N. de Luna, "The Mortal Shakespeare: Some New Light on His Political and Personal Relationships, 1580–1616", c.1993. At the British Library.]

A gravestone in the churchyard, bearing a verse inscription about a "female unknown" found murdered in the nearby woods in 1821, arouses much interest. [ [http://www.galaxy.bedfordshire.gov.uk/webingres/bedfordshire/vlib/0.digitised_resources/tilsworth_digitisation_extracts_blackgrovewood.htm Murder in Blackgrove Wood 1821] , "Bedfordshire Notes and Queries", volume 1, 1886.]

Several old farmhouses, two of them thatched, survive in Tilsworth. There are new houses and bungalows, but the village has not yet increased greatly in size. One farmhouse in the north corner of the parish was lost to Hockliffe, to which it was adjacent, in the 20th century. The "Little Chef" restaurant and Travelodge on the A5 are called "Hockliffe", though in fact they lie in Tilsworth.

A public house, the Anchor, with restaurant and garden, stands next one of the small greens, and there is a Golf and Conference Centre.

References

External links

* [http://www.stanbridge-tilsworth.com/councils_tils.htm Tilsworth Parish Council]


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