About Woburn

  'Acknowledged as one of the most historic towns in Bedfordshire'. Bedfordshire County Council.

Woburn is recorded as a Saxon hamlet in 969 and in the Domesday Book of 1086.  The name derives from the Saxon word “wo” meaning crooked and “burn”, a small stream.

In ll45 the Cistercian monks from Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire founded an abbey at Woburn.  The hamlet soon became a village and then a town with a market three days a week, held on the Pitchings, the cobbled area that is still the hub of the village. Woburn was also on a drovers’ route with drovers’ ponds at both sides of the village.  On market days the drovers would use Caswell Lane to avoid the busy centre – an early bypass!

Following the dissolution of the monasteries in 1538, Henry VIII bequeathed Woburn Abbey and its estates to John Russell of Chenies who became the first Earl of Bedford. In 1694 during the reign of William and Mary the then head of the family was given the title of Duke of Bedford.

A fire in 1724 destroyed most of the town which was rebuilt in the Georgian style we see today.
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  Woburn in 1949
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  The centre of Woburn contains some of the finest Georgian buildings in Bedfordshire. These black and white photographs show Woburn in 1949.
  During the coaching era of the early 19th century Woburn became an important staging post on a countrywide network including London, Cambridge, Oxford, Nottingham and Leeds and had the first 24-hour post office outside London, housed in what is now The Inn at Woburn.  There were 27 inns in the town and the old coaching arches can still be seen between the pubs and houses on Bedford Street and Leighton Street.  In the 1851 census the population of Woburn was 2100.  In the 1960s it had dropped to 700 and is now just over 1000. This fine Georgian village is now a centre for good pubs and restaurants and specialist shops.
  Smokey Woburn
  Woburn in the Nineteenth Century
  Town Hall with Cannon
  A cannon was positioned next to the town hall during WWII.