Holcot in History

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    A History Society operated in Holcot 2012-2016. During it’s short period of operation a modest quantity of historical, photographic and interesting information relating to Holcot and the surrounding area was collected.

    Some of the capital balance in the History Society’s bank account was used to install shelf racking in the first floor store room of the Holcot Church Old School Room in Main Street. This racking now holds 7 archive boxes of Holcot History Society records plus 5 cardboard rolls containing larger records such as maps, A1 photos, etc.

    A catalogue of the records is available here and anyone interested in inspecting the Holcot History Society archive is most welcome to do so and should contact Philip Pomeroy on 01604 781 246 or pom.holcot{at}gmail.com.

    If you would like to join the conversation about the history of Holcot, feel free to add comments below.


    Holcot developed from a small community established at a rural crossroads surrounded by good agricultural land and a plentiful water supply.

    As with many rural villages, the early history centres around the Church. The first Church in Holcot was endowed early in the 12th century by King David of Scotland. Building of the present Church, dedicated to St Mary and All Saints, began in the early 13th century.  The nave and chancel were rebuilt early in the 14th century and the tower was rebuilt later in the same century. It was around this time that  the interior of the Church was decorated with a glorious array of wall paintings. Sadly, these are now badly faded although a restoration in the Baptistry gives an indication of the original effect. The clerestory and south porch were added in the 15th century. This basically completed the Church as it now stands although future generations made minor modifications and improvements.

    The increasing prosperity of Church and Village went hand in hand and Holcot remained a strong rural community until well into the 20th century. The 1881 census records a population of 240 adults of which 59 (25%) were agricultural workers and 35 (15%) were shoe makers. Other listed trades and employment covered nearly all the needs of daily life making the village an almost independent community.

    The village War Memorial is located at the junction of Back Lane and Moulton Road.  For more background, please follow this link:  http://www.bedfordregiment.org.uk/gravesandmemorials/Holcot/holcotmemorial.html

    Whilst still retaining a rural spirit, and surrounded by rich agricultural land,  the village is now mainly the  home base for people working in the surrounding towns.  Many fine old buildings in the local stone, some still thatched,  remain and a walk around the village will reward the visitor with views of the way the village would have appeared in the 17th century.  Earlier buildings of a very simple structure have disappeared but the road and connecting footpath layout remains to show how the village was laid out and appeared in the 17th century.

    Holcot has made little impact on the history of the country. Apart from the 14th century Dominican theologian, Robert de Holcot, the village lays very  few claims to fame. Therein lies its attraction. It is a typical English village showing all its developments and changes through the centuries yet still retaining a rich architectural heritage and a strong community spirit and relationship with the rural environment.

    See also British History Online

    Comparative maps from history to now

    See a map from the late 1800s


    Historical monuments, buildings etc

    BBC Domesday record from 1986

    Listed buildings in Holcot

    Chris Beaver has uploaded  a number of photos of Holcot from the early 1960’s here – compare them to the current views from the Holcot Photographic Year 2015 examples below (for more photos see the Photographic Year page)

    Brixworth Road – around 1960 and early 2015

    Holcot – Brixworth Road about 1960 (Frederick William Beaver) / CC BY-SA 2.0
    The Church – around Easter 1960 and February 2015
    Taken around Easter of 1960 soon after the Rev John Bodger became rector and Frederick Beaver became his curate. They moved from London when the New Guinea Mission relocated to Holcot from Fulham Palace in London. Margaret “Peggy” Beaver (Fred’s wife) was head of the rectory office. They lived in Back Lane.
    © Copyright Frederick William Beaver and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

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