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Castle is an electoral ward and area of Bedfordmarker, Bedfordshire, Englandmarker.

The boundaries of Castle are approximately Bromham Road and Goldingtonmarker Road to the north, Newnhammarker Avenue to the east, the River Great Ousemarker to the south, with the Midland Main Line railway line and Ashburnam Road to the west.

The Castle area includes almost all of Bedford town centre, north of the river.


The name 'Castle' comes from Bedford Castlemarker which is located in the area. William II granted the Barony of Bedford to Paine de Beauchamp who built the castle. The Castle was destroyed in 1224 by Henry III. In 1166 The town of Bedford was given a Charter. This was when Bedford Market was founded in the Castle area. Bedford remained a small agricultural town, with wool being an important industry in the area for much of the Middle Ages. The River Ouse became navigable as far as Bedford in 1689. Wool declined in importance with brewing becoming a major industry in the town.

In 1660 John Bunyan was imprisoned for 12 years in Bedford Gaol, which was located in the Castle area. It was here that he wrote The Pilgrim's Progress.

The 19th Century saw Bedford transform into an important engineering hub. In 1832 Gas lighting was introduced into the Castle area, and the railway reached Bedford in 1846. Bedford's Corn Exchange was built in the area in 1849, and the first drains and sewers were dug in 1864. Bedford's growth in the 19th century saw the Castle area expand along the river to the east. The final part of the neighbourhood was developed in the 1930s.


Castle is an unparished area, with all community services under the direct control of Bedford Borough Councilmarker. Castle elects two councillors to Bedford Borough Council, both of which are currently independents.


Virtually all of the Bedford's central business district is located in Castle ward. This means many major High Street Shops and brands are located here. The main shopping areas of note are the High Street which includes a Debenhams Department Store, a 'Wilkinsons' store, banks, many pubs, nightclubs and restaurants. The Harpur Centre is Bedford's main shopping centre. Branches of Boots, TK Maxx, Primark, Argos and many other stores are located here. To the east is Castle Road where there are a host of smaller independent shops and community stores.

Many of Bedford's central amenities are located in the Castle area, including Bedford's main post office, town hall, market, magistrates court, county court, bus station, police station and Bedford railway stationmarker. One of Bedford's largest hotels is located in the area - The Swan Hotel on the High Street.


There are two lower schools in Castle - Priory Lower School located on Greyfriars, and Castle Lower School situated on Goldington Road. Most older Castle students attend Newnham Middle Schoolmarker or Goldington Middle Schoolmarker. For upper school education, most Castle students attend Biddenham Upper Schoolmarker.

Religious sites

There are many places of worship in Castle, some of which serve the entire Bedford area -

  • St Paul's Church, Bedfordmarker (Church of England), located on St Paul's Square
  • Bedford Spiritualist Church, located on Ashburnam Road
  • Italian Pentecostal Church, also on Ashburnam Road
  • Mount Zion Church, located on Midland Road
  • St Joseph & The Holy Child Roman Catholic Church, also on Midland Road
  • St Frances Cabrini Italian Church, located on Woburn Road
  • Rutland Road Church, located on Rutland Road
  • The Miracle of God in Christ Church, located on Alexandra Road
  • The Bedford Jamee Masjid & Islamic Cultural Centre, located on Brereton Road
  • Bedford Pentecostal Church, located on Roise Street
  • The Salvation Army run the Bedford Congress Hall, located on Commercial Road
  • The Bedford Bangladeshi Mosque & Islamic Mission, also on Commercial Road
  • The Bunyan Meeting Free Church & John Bunyan Museummarker, located on Mill Street
  • Polish Church of Sacred Heart of Jesus & St Cuthbertmarker, also on Mill Street
  • The Panacea Society has its international headquarters on Albany Road
  • The Providence Baptist Chapel, located on Rothsay Road
  • The St Josaphat Ukrainian Church (Byzantine Rite), located on York Street
  • Bedford Christ Church (Church of England), located on Denmark Street
  • Russell Park Baptist Church, also on Denmark Street

Community facilities

The main open space in the Castle area is Russell Park and the Embankment of the River Great Ousemarker. The Bedford Corn Exchangemarker, the Bedford Civic Theatremarker, Bedford Museummarker and Esquiresmarker (a live music venue) are also located in the area.


  1. 'A brief history of Bedford' by Tim Lambert
  2. 'Featured Business'
  3. 'Town Centre Guide'
  4. Priory Lower School
  5. 'Bedfordshire School Catchment Areas'
  6. St Paul's Church
  7. Bedford Spiritualist Church
  8. Mount Zion Church
  9. Rutland Road Church
  10. The Miracle of God in Christ Church
  11. Bedford & Castle Mosques
  12. Bedford Pentecostal Church
  13. Bedford Salvation Army Congress Hall
  14. Bedford & Castle Mosques
  15. Bunyan Meeting Free Church & Museum
  16. Polish Church of Sacred Heart of Jesus & St Cuthbert
  17. The Panacea Society
  18. Bedford Christ Church
  19. Russell Park Baptist Church

External links

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