Maulden has a thriving history society, and several family history societies that provide details of the larger (usually farming) families in the village.
The village has a rich and varied history, and that is visible in almost every building, road, track and memorial in the area. As ever, one of the earliest references is the Domesday Book.
There are many resources you can turn to as an amateur historian, whether for a school project, to bring to life a family story, or understand the village around you:
- The Village Archives are held at Bedford and at Luton
- The National Archives for the Parish are here
- Historic Documents for the Village are online here
- The Maulden Parish Registers from 1558 onwards are online here
- Summerfield Family History
- General Family History for the Village
- British Parishes Online
- Commercial sites such as Forebears offer access to many online records
- Bedfordshire County records are online internationally at Archive.org
There is, of course, the old fashioned method of asking people in the pub, but we cannot vouch for the accuracy of everything you may hear in there. The pubs in the village, however, have a very long and interesting history of their own – “The ‘Anchor,’ an old half-timber and thatch inn, stands picturesquely on the south of the main road at the west end of the village opposite the road from Haynes, while at the other end of the village is the White Hart Inn, an old thatched building having its walls covered with plaster. ” – but the pubs cannot speak for themselves.
Maps, Books and TV
Memories of living in Maulden in wartime were captured by the BBC as part of a project
The village appears in many old maps, some of which are still available from map sellers (eg: Friths)
There are also mentions of the village of Maulden in various Bedfordshire history books and in the research into the Ampthill Poor Law Union. It is hard to conceive of the riots of paupers, and deep unrest that gripped the area in 1835, but those events greatly shaped the local villages.
The village name is deeply linked to those other places that people confuse with Maulden (Maulden, Maldon, and so on) from the roots of the words that make it up:
“This is an English locational surname of the medieval period. Recorded in several spellings including Malden, Maldon, Maulden, Maldin, and Moulding… Locational surnames by their very nature, were given either to the local lord of the manor, or more usually to nameholders after they left their original village and moved elsewhere. …. Moving away, given the lack of any education, and the very “thick” local dialects, lead to the development of the alternative spellings. This name however spelt, derives from the Olde English pre 7th century “dun” meaning a hill, plus “mael”, a cross or monument. These “maels” were often meeting places of the tribes or their aldermen, in ancient times. The first village recording is that of Maeldun in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles of the year 916, and later as Meldone in the 1086 Domesday Book for Surrey. … The first recording of the surname was probably that of Thomas Maldon, the prior of Maldon, in Essex, who died there in the year 1404. … Read more: “
Maulden is quite well covered in old maps as it stood on some important roads. If you are interested in what the village looked like in the past, then you can obtain copies of old maps from a variety of sources, including Friths and Old Maps.
The 1883 OS map of Maulden at 1:2,500 is really rather splendid!
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