Chicksands shown within Bedfordshire
OS grid reference Parish Campton and Chicksands Unitary authority Central Bedfordshire Ceremonial county Bedfordshire Region East Country England Sovereign state United Kingdom Post town SHEFFORD Postcode district SG17 Dialling code 01462 Police Bedfordshire Fire Bedfordshire and Luton Ambulance East of England EU Parliament East of England UK Parliament Mid Bedfordshire List of places: UK • England • Bedfordshire
Chicksands is a village in the Central Bedfordshire district of Bedfordshire, England and part of the civil parish of Campton and Chicksands (population 2,510). It is on the River Flit. Nearby places are Shefford and Campton.
Chicksands was the site of RAF Chicksands, an RAF station during World War II. The station was used by the United States Air Force from 1950 to 1995. It was the location for its first huge FLR-9 direction finding antenna from 1963 to 1995. It is now home to the Defence Intelligence and Security Centre and the Headquarters of the British Army's Intelligence Corps.
Mid Bedfordshire District Council moved to a new office building on a part of the former RAF Chicksands sportsfield, adjacent to the A507, having previously been based in offices at Ampthill and Biggleswade. The new office, named Priory House, was officially opened by the Queen on 22 November 2006 accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh. The offices are now home to Central Bedfordshire Council.
Chicksands is also home to a managed super X biking area. This includes a variety of riding, from cross country to dirt jumping.
The Gilbertine priory of Chicksands was founded about the year 1150 by Rohese, Countess of Essex, and her second husband Payn de Beauchamp, Baron of Bedford. Payn and Rohese de Beauchamp endowed the priory at its foundation with the church of Chicksands and lands attached. The priory was of the Gilbertine Order, a religious order formed by Gilbert of Sempringham (c. 1083-1189). It was only one of nine religious houses in England that housed both nuns and canons. The men and women lived in different buildings and were separated in church by a screen. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century, the priory passed to the Snowe family and then in 1576 to the Osborn family, who owned it for almost 400 years. Elements of the original building remain, but it has been altered over the years, not least in 1740 by the architect Isaac Ware and in 1813 by the architect James Wyatt, who designed the entrance hall, staircase and porch in the Gothic style.
In 1936 Chicksands Priory estate was sold to the Crown Commissioners. In 1940, after a few months of naval occupation, the RAF followed and it became known, firstly, as RAF Chicksands Priory. In 1950 the USAF took over and continued on the site until September 1995. Chicksands Priory is a Grade II listed building. The group "Friends of Chicksands Priory" was established in 1975 and tours of the building were offered to the general public until the summer of 1996. They returned to reopen the priory, following intense restoration, 1997–98, in the spring, 1999.
- List of monastic houses in Bedfordshire
- ^ Bedfordshire County Council, Population Estimates and Forecasts, estimate for 2007.
- ^ http://www.bedsfattrax.org Club website
- ^ http://www.chicksandspriory.co.uk/page3/page3.html
- ^ http://www.galaxy.bedfordshire.gov.uk/webingres/bedfordshire/vlib/0.digitised_resources/chicksands_az_topics_chicksands_priory.htm
- ^ http://www.parishmouse.com/bedfordshire/chicksands-priory-bedfordshire.html
- Campton & Chicksands
- Chicksands Offices - Mid Beds District Council
- The Ghost at Chicksands Priory - Investigation report
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