In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Woburn like this:
WOBURN, a small town, a parish, a sub-district, and a district, in Beds. The town stands 2¾ miles SE of Woburn-S and s r. station, and 14 SW of Bedford; grew adjacent to a Cistertian abbey, founded in 1145, by Hugh de Bolebec; is now a seat of petty-sessions; carries on lace-making and straw-plait-making; consists of well built streets, intersecting one another at right angles; and has a head post-office,‡ a hotel, a town hall, a market house rebuilt in 1830, a church rebuilt in 1868, Independent and Wesleyan chapels, a literary and scientific institution, endowed schools for boys and for girls, alms houses for 20 persons, a workhouse, a weekly market on Friday, and 4 annual fairs. ...
W.-Abbey was given, at the dissolution of monasteries, to Lord Russell; was visited, in 1572, by Queen Elizabeth,-in 1645, by Charles I.; was rebuilt, in the manner of a noble mansion, in 1774, by the fourth Duke of Bedford; is a quadrangular structure, 200 feet on each side, with an Ionic front; includes a saloon 35½ feet by 25½, a library 50 feet by 24½, and a picture gallery 111½ feet by 17¾; contains a rich collection of paintings, scu1ptures, and other works of art; and stands in a richly ornate park, 12 miles in circumference.
The parish comprises 3,200 acres. Real property, £8,987; of which £100 are in gasworks. Pop. in 1851, 2,049; in 1861, 1,764. Houses, 364. The decrease of pop. was caused mainly by the removal of an extensive iron foundry. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Ely. Value, £251.* Patron, the Duke of Bedford.-- The sub-district contains ten parishes. Acres, 16,791. Pop., 6,771. Houses, 1,475.The district includes Toddington sub-district, and comprises 29,603 acres. Poor rates in 1863, £8,473. Pop. in 1851, 12,075; in 1861, 11,684. Houses, 2,487. Marriages in 1866, 98; births, 368,-of which 34 were illegitimate; deaths, 237, -of which 86 were at ages under 5 years, and 8 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 785; births, 3,903; deaths, 2,555. The places of worship, in 1851, were 18 of the Church of Eng1 and , with 4,610 sittings; 3 of Independents, with 788 s.; 4 of Baptists, with 734 s.; 11 of Wesleyans, with 1,800 s.; and 4 of Primitive Methodists, with 410 s. The schools were 12 public day-schools, with 1,076 scholars; 8 private day-schools, with 215 s.; 34 Sunday schools, with 2,800 s.: and 4 evening schools for adults, with 113 s.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Woburn has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Mid Bedfordshire. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Woburn and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Woburn in Mid Bedfordshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 20th June 2013
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