History of Ampthill

The name 'Ampthill' is of Anglo-Saxon origin, as the first settlement was called 'Aemethyll', which literally means either 'ant-heap' or 'ant infested hill'.

In 1219, King Henry III confirmed the right to hold a market on Thursday's in the town and this remains a fixture of life in Ampthill to this day.

The Market Square was originally the heart of the town and the location of the medieval market.

Much of Ampthill's unique charm is owed to the residents of Ampthill Park House, Lord Upper Ossory reorganised the layout of the Market Square, built the charming thatched Ossory Cottages and erected Katherine's Cross. Lord Ossory's nephew, Lord Holland, endowed the town with its fine avenue of lime trees, the Alameda.

Along Church Street can be seen a fine selection of historic buildings with Avenue House dominating the street scene. In the 20th century Avenue House was the home of Sir Albert Richardson, an eminent architect, writer and past President of the Royal Academy. The former Mid Bedfordshire District Council Offices in Dunstable Street are one of Professor Richardson's most notable designs as is the town's war memorial in the Alameda.

Click here - for more of Ampthill's rich history from the Ampthill and District Archaeological and Local History Society.

Click here - for more information about the history of Ampthill and Katherine of Aragon.