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Saint Marys Rectory

Saint Mary's Rectory about 1970
Saint Mary's Rectory about 1970 [Z188/165 xii]

The earliest reference to Saint Mary's Rectory is in 1706 in notes prepared by the rector for the episcopal visitation where he simply mentions that there was a parsonage. In 1708 the Archdeaconry of Bedford glebe terrier describes it as having three bays and being built partly of brick and partly of stud and clay, with a tiled roof. Downstairs were a parlour with a board floor, a kitchen and a hall both with a brick floor. There were five chambers upstairs. In notes prepared by the curate for the episcopal visitation of 1717 he states that the rector lived in Buckingham and that he himself did not reside in the parsonage. In 1720 the curate added that the reason that he did not live in the parsonage was: "because 'tis Inhabited by a Tenant".

There is surprisingly little about the Rectory in the parish archive for Saint Mary's. Research by former County Archivist Chris Pickford showed that the parsonage at 16 Cauldwell Street was built in 1821 by Thomas Elger of Bedford [Lincolnshire Archives] and that it was altered and added to in 1869 by Thomas Preston, architect and that a mortgage was taken out to finance repairs in 1883 [Ely Diocesan archive at Cambridge University Library].

The site of Saint Mary's Rectory about 1973
The site of Saint Mary's Rectory about 1973 [Z188/165 i]

The last Bedford Directory to contain an entry for Saint Mary's Rectory is 1968. By 1973 it had been demolished as archaeological excavations were undertaken on the site by Evelyn Baker and the remains of 10th to 12th century timber buildings were found, suggesting industrial use. Skeletons of some medieval dogs were also discovered. Other trenches at the site discovered inhabitation from the 18th century.

Cauldwell House - site of Saint Marys Rectory June 2009
Cauldwell House - site of Saint Mary's Rectory June 2009