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The Parish of Milton Bryan in General

A footpath in Church End February 2012
A footpath in Church End February 2012

Landscape

The underlying, or solid, geology of Milton Bryan is of a type of mudstone called Gault Formation. It was laid down between 99 and 112 million years ago in the warm shallow seas of the Cretaceous period. The soil is mostly a type of clay known as till, a diamicton, formed at the end of the Ice Age. In South End and along the road to Church End is a band of glaciofluvial deposit, a mixture of sand and gravel laid down at the same time.

Milton Bryan is, for Bedfordshire, quite a high settlement. The church stands at 534 feet above sea-level and the former black propaganda studios nearby are two feet lower. The land falls away to the east with the Red Lion standing at 496 feet above sea-level and the nearby pond at 486 feet.

Milton Bryan sign February 2012
Milton Bryan sign February 2012

Name

The name Milton means “middle farm”. The Bryan element comes from the family which were Lords of the Manor of Milton Bryan from the 12th to the 14th century and was first used during the reign of Edward I (1272-1307). The name has undergone a few changes down the years as follows:

  • Mildentone: 1086;
  • Middelton: 1086-1227;
  • Middleton: 1227;
  • Midelton Brian: reign of Edward I;
  • Mylton Bryan: 1489;
  • Mylton Bryon: 1535

The Manor House peeping through foliage February 2012
The Manor House peeping through foliage February 2012

Administrative History

Milton Bryan is an ancient parish in the Manshead Hundred. It is surrounded by: Eversholt to the north; Toddington to the east; Battlesden to the south, Potsgrove to the south-west and Woburn to the west. There were minor boundary changes in 1956 which did not affect any of the inhabited areas of the parish [CDP68].

9 to 12 South End February 2012
9 to 12 South End February 2012

Population

A total of 10 villagers, 6 smallholders and 12 slaves are recorded as living in Milton Bryan in the Domesday Book. This total of 28 should be multiplied by a factor of at least four to account for these men's dependents giving a healthy figure of over a hundred. In modern times Milton Bryan, in common with many villages in this part of Bedfordshire, has declined in population as these figures show:

  • 1801: 333;
  • 1811: 329;
  • 1821: 346;
  • 1831: 373;
  • 1841: 382;
  • 1851: 376;
  • 1861: 345;
  • 1871: 321;
  • 1881: 223;
  • 1891: 226;
  • 1901: 182;
  • 1911: 199;
  • 1921: 183;
  • 1931: 166;
  • 1951: 158;
  • 1961: 146;
  • 1971: 137;
  • 1981: 158;
  • 1991: 198;
  • 2001: 148
  • 2011: 220 with Battlesden and Potsgrove.