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Maulden is in the Doomsday Book, as "Mel-Done", (from the year 1086) where the presence of a mill is noted. The name of the village is listed elsewhere as being of Old English origins, being Mael-Dun, a "hill with a cross". The remains of the cross are still to be seen in the churchyard.

At the time of the Norman conquest, the village was only sparsely populated and Doomsday notes a small number of ploughs signifying an arable farming activity (which still persists today).

In the Spring of 1533 Catharine of Aragon then still the wife of Henry VIII was moved to Ampthill castle from Hertford Castle. Her divorce from the king was pending (it finally being officiated some time later in the then small Bedfordshire market town of Dunstable). Catharine spent some two years at Ampthill before being moved to Kimbolton where she died in unhappy isolation in January 1536 (old calendar). From there the old Queen's body was taken to Peterborough cathedral where it is still interred. A small monument called Catherine's Cross can still be seen in Ampthill Park. Catharine, originally from the Aragon region of what is today part of Spain, had originally been married to Henry's older brother Arthur who had died prematurely in the Welsh border territories in 1502. Henry's divorce of Catharine was executed on the pretext that his own marriage to her had been illegally entered into on account of it being contrary to biblical law (Deuteronomy) to marry your brother's wife. This was a convenient excuse as the King was trying to initiate a new marriage to Anne Boleyn whom he hoped would bear him a male heir (which Catharine had failed to do). Incidentally, the same bible (Leviticus) recommends in contradictory fashion that a man marry his brother's widow if it is in his power !

Details from the book A Topographical Dictionary of England Comprising the Several Counties, Cities, Boroughs, Corporate and Market Towns, Parishes and Townships and the Islands of Guernsey, Jersey and Man. With Historical and Statistical Descriptions. Fifth Edition, 1842. Samuel Lewis. Volume III of IV. Samuel Lewis, 87 Hatton Garden.

MAULDEN (St. Mary), a parish in the union of Ampthill, hundred of Redbornestoke, county of Bedford, one and a half miles (E) from Ampthill; containing 1330 inhabitants. The parish comprises by computation nearly 3000 acres, of which 260 are woodland and plantations, and of the remainder, two thirds are arable and one third pasture; the surface is varied and the low grounds are watered by the river Flitt, a branch of the Ivel. Many of the females are employed in lacemaking and the plaiting of straw. There are some quarries of sandstone; and a pleasure fair is held in the week nearest to St. Bartholomews-day. The living is a rectory, valued in the King's books at 15.9.7; net income 512; patron, marquess of Ailesbury. The tithes were commuted for land and a corn rent, under an act of inclosure in 1796. The church, principally in the latter English style, was with little intermixture, completely restored in 1837. There are places of worship for baptists and independents.

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Last Updated on: 15 March 2000

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