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The Origins and History of the Parish of Heath and Reach



The name of our village came about from the merger of three hamlets, Heath, Reach and Nares Gladley.

Nares Gladley was mentioned in the Domesday Book and the hamlets of Heath and Reach were first recorded in the late thirteenth century and became a combined hamlet in the mid-eighteenth century.

Heath and Reach became an ecclesiastical parish in 1826 and a separate civil parish in 1866.

The name Heath is first found in the Assize Rolls for Bedfordshire in 1276 as le Hethe. The name is self-explanatory as much of the parish’s landscape is of the sandy heathland variety.

Reach is first recorded in the Ramsey Abbey cartulary between 1216 and 1231 as Reche. The word refers to a portion of a river. If so, this refers to that part of the parish around Nares Gladley, the boundary of which is the River Ouzel. However as Nares Gladley was a separate settlement and not particularly close to the modern Reach Green, this seems puzzling

Nares Gladley is also a bit of a mystery as the Nares element is comparatively modern, not found until after the Middle Ages. Gladley may derive from Anglo-Saxon personal name Glaeda.

Heath and Reach are first seen together as late as 1750 as Hetheredge or Heathanreach in 1785

This information was obtained from the Bedford Borough Council: To view the article, you are welcome to visit the Parish of Heath And Reach in General by following this website link, where more information may be obtained.

The village of Heath and Reach is now in a conservation area with a number of Grade 11 listed properties of special interest. There is an interesting document produced by Central Bedfordshire regarding the Conservation Area and can view this from the following link.

Former Methodist Church in Heath and Reach
47 and 49 Woburn Road
St Leonards Church from the Parish Cemetery
Snow scene in Heath and Reach
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