Bedford Family

My name is Sally Roberts and I am the Great-Grand-daughter of Hiltonians, Henry Arthur Bedford and Sarah Kate Starling. Both my grandmother and mother kept in close contact with the village despite being born in London, a tradition that the family still maintains with visits to Hilton whenever we can. A family picnic under the trees on the Green usually contains a grand-daughter, two great grand-daughters, four great-great grandchildren, and now two great-great-great grandsons of the Bedford and Starling marriage....

Richard Norris Bedford was born about 1813, being baptised in St Mary's in Fen Drayton on 14th February of that year. His parents were William and Sarah Bedford, and he was one of eight sons born to them, although 3 of his brothers died in early infancy. His father was a Farm and Agricultural Labourer who died aged 72 in 1843 and his mother thereafter lived on Horse and Gate Street until she died sometime after 1851.In April 1841, Richard is living on the High Street in Fen Drayton, with his occupation shown as a Male Servant, a few doors along from the rest of his family and apparently boarding with a lady called Rhoda Vesey.

He had an elder brother, James Bedford, who at this time was already living in Hilton at The Old George Inn, Graveley Way. After Richard's marriage to Mary Spolton in Fen Drayton in October 1841, he also moved to Hilton, having his only child, William there in 1843. Then and on the 1851 census his occupation is shown as a Confectioner.

It was not uncommon in those days for Farmers to also operate pubs, sometimes running the Inn from the Farm itself, and whilst James Bedford is known to have been at The Old George as a Farmer and Publican for over 30 years, by 1861 Richard is a Farmer and Publican at The Chequers in Graveley. (Two other brothers were also in the industry - William Bedford, born about 1798, was at The Three Tuns in Fen Drayton and Thomas Bedford, born about 1809, was at The Horseshoe pub in Fen Drayton, and which Thomas's wife, Sarah also continued to run after his death in 1875).

Richard and Mary Bedford both died before 1871 in Graveley. James Bedford and his wife, Sophia (nee Baxter) are buried in St Mary Magdalene, with one of their daughters, Mary, with their graves being to the right of the church door.

Family Tree (PDF)