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Hierarchy of Bedfordshire Ecclesiastical Jurisdictions

Here is the hierarchy of Church of England jurisdictions for Bedfordshire:

  • Before 1837, the county consisted of 122 parishes, parts of six others (five shared with Hertfordshire and one with Northamptonshire), and three extra-parochial tracks. More parishes were created as the population expanded, especially in the cities. See a list of parishes with links to articles.
  • The parishes are grouped into six deaneries (Bedford, Clapham, Dunstable, Easton, Fleete, and Shefford).
  • The six deaneries constitute the Archdeaconry of Bedford.
  • Before 1837, the archdeaconry was in the Diocese of Lincoln.  Since 1837, it has been in the Diocese of Ely.
  • The diocese is included in the Province of Canterbury.

Parish Register Indices

The Bedfordshire Family History Society has produced a CD with a cumulative index to the registers of 130 parishes through 1812 (baptisms, marriages, and burials): FHL British CD-ROM no. 2126.

Transcripts of most Bedfordshire parish registers have been published.

Pallot's Marriage Index for England: 1780 - 1837 Listed in alphabetical order.

Burials from 159 Bedfordshire places (355,503 entries) are included in the National Burial Index (£). Coverage.[1]

33,515 Bedfordshire entries are included in England & Wales Christening Records, 1530-1906 at Ancestry (£). Formerly known as British Isles Vital Records Index - 2nd Ed. Coverage.[2]

Dustydocs also has Links to Free Genealogical Websites containing Parish Records.

Comparison of parish burial registers to probate records and to census data indicate that approximately 20-30% of burials in Bedfordshire were not recorded in the registers. [3]

Copies of Records at the Family History Library

Of 154 pre-1900 parishes of Bedfordshire (including city parishes), the Genealogical Society of Utah has filmed the original parish registers for 148, or 96%.  This number does not include Bishop’s Transcripts, Archdeacon Transcripts, parish chest material or other transcripts, many of which have also been microfilmed.  In the FamilySearch Catalog, do a Place Search for the name of a parish.

Bedfordshire Parish Chest Records available at the Family History Library

Bedford, St. Mary's 1827-1868
Eaton-Bray 1757-1937
Leighton-Buzzard 1720-1886

Nonconformist Records


  1. 'Parish Records - National Burial Index Records 1538 - 2005 Coverage', Find My Past, accessed 1 September 2013.
  2. 'Genoot Library - British Isles Vital Record Index Breakdown,' Genoot, accessed 1 September 2013.
  3. The evaluation of Bedfordshire burial registration, Razzell Spence & Woollard, Local Population Studies