Bolnhurst (or, if you prefer, Bulehestre or Bolehestre) is a village situated on the B660 road midway between Bedford and Kimbolton.
Although sometime described as lying in ‘wet, heavy and bad country’, the village has always been dominated by the farms within its boundaries and the parish church of St Dunstan’s. Bolnhurst appears in surveys as early as 1086 and farms such as Greensbury Farm can trace their origins back to such times, although their names may have changed slightly. For example, Greensbury started its life as Grymsbury.
The church of St Dunstan dates in part from the first half of the 13th century but is located some way from the area of main habitation in 2009. It may be that houses in the original village were destroyed after a plague and, following the building of the turnpike road, later to be the B660, simple homes were built at the side of this road about half a mile away from the church.
Whilst Bolnhurst never formed part of a large prosperous estate, the Francklin family rose to prominence as landowners, owning at one time four or five farms in the village. However, in 2009, they retain just one small area of woodland and a small field ‘for sentimental reasons’.
The village school closed in 1951. The chapel closed in the latter part of the 20th century. The Fox and Hounds public house closed in 1960 and the shops ceased to trade many years ago. The village currently consists of approximately 60 homes but it does boast one very valuable asset – an award winning restaurant and pub, The Plough. And long may it remain!
Note: In 2009, the village residents are starting to compile an archive relating to Bolnhurst and would be grateful for any information appertaining to the history of the village. [Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org].