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Historic Towns & Picturesque Villages

Sulgrave - home of George Washington's ancesters


in the county of Northamptonshire

Pictures of Old Warden

About Old Warden

Old Warden is a sleepy Bedfordshire village with pretty honey-coloured thatched cottages and a wealth of other interesting buildings. The village is situated on the Shuttleworth Estate, where Old Warden Park, a superb historic mansion, formerly the home of the Shuttleworth family, acts as a grandiose centre piece. The house, surrounded by 500 acres of parkland is now an elegant country hotel.

The village offers plenty to do. It has the most delightful mixture of properties, some are highly decorative after the style of a "picture postcard" Swiss chalet, whilst others have attractive gables or thatch.

High summer is an important time in the village, many events take place and the estate offers falconry displays, Swiss gardens, classic car shows, craft fairs and an air show, held on the old Warden airfield. The airfield is part of the Shuttleworth Trust, and here you will find a living museum with glorious aviation relics from the earliest days of flying, right through the golden age of flight, war time aviation, and later aircraft. The museum is a tribute to Pioneer pilots and everything to do with the birth of aviation, it has wonderful machines and exhibits that make you marvel and wonder as to how the fragile early aeroplanes flew, and at the daring, skill and courage of men and women who flew them.

The church of St. Leonard is late 12th century, with an older tower of brown cobbles. It has an interesting interior showing fine woodwork. Some of the interior was restored and renewed by the generosity of Lord Ongley in 1841. The church has a large font from the 14th century and stained glass from Warden Abbey. Of the several fine monuments to see the most interesting is to Sir Samuel Ongley, dated 1726 and signed by Scheemakers, and Delvaux.

One mile west-south-west of the village on the site of Warden Abbey, originally founded by Walter Epec in 1135, there now stands a flourishing vineyard, the home of award winning Warden Wines. The vineyard was started in 1986 by Jane Whitbread on the site of an earlier vineyard worked by medieval monks. The abbey was once famous for Warden pears, a variety of fruit mentioned by William Shakespeare.

North of the church are the earthwork's of Quint's Hill, probably dating from the early Iron Age.

The village has the usual village amenities including the Hare and Hounds, a picturesque, traditional country pub at the heart of the Shuttleworth estate.

Set within easy driving distance to Bedford, Old Warden makes the perfect destination for a pleasant day out or to use as a base for exploring one of England's most interesting counties.

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