Luton (city), Bedfordshire Genealogy

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Guide to Luton (city) history, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

Luton image.jpg

History[edit | edit source]

Luton coat of arms
Luton location in S.W. England
Luton flag

The earliest settlements in the Luton area were at Round Green and Mixes Hill, where Paleolithic encampments (about 250,000 years old) have been found. Settlements re-appeared after the ice had retreated in the Mesolithic period around 8000 BC. Traces of these settlements have been found in the Leagrave area of the modern town. Remains from the Neolithic period (4500–2500 BC in this area) are much more common. A particular concentration of Neolithic burials occurs at Galley Hill. The most prominent Neolithic structure is Waulud's Bank – a henge dating from around 3000 BC. From the Neolithic age onward, the area seems to have been populated, but without any single large settlement. Luton itself is believed to have been founded by the Anglo-Saxons sometime in the 6th century, and named for its situation on the River Lea.

After the establishment of the Danelaw in the east of England and the unification of the remaining English kingdoms in the west, Luton stood on the border between Christendom and Heathenism which ran up the River Lea from London through to Bedford.

The Domesday Book records Luton as Loitone and also as Lintone. Agriculture dominated the local economy at that time, and the town's population was around 700 to 800.

In 1121 Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester started work on St Mary's Church in the centre of the town. The work was completed by 1137. A motte-and-bailey castle which gives its name to the modern Castle Street was built in 1139. During the Middle Ages Luton is recorded as having six watermills. Mill Street, in the town center, takes its name from one of them.

By 1240 the town is recorded as "Leueton". One "Simon of Luton" was Abbot of Bury St Edmunds from 1257 to 1279. The town had a market for surrounding villages in August each year, and with the growth of the town a second fair was granted each October from 1338. The agriculture base of the town changed in the 16th century with a brick-making industry developing around Luton; many of the older wooden houses were rebuilt in brick.

The hat making industry began in Luton in the 17th century and became synonymous with the town. By the 18th century this industry dominated the town. Hats are still produced in the town but on a much smaller scale.

The town grew strongly in the 19th century. In 1801 the population was 3,095. By 1850 it was over 10,000 and by 1901 it was almost 39,000. Such rapid growth demanded a railway connection but the town had to wait a long time for one. The first train to Dunstable ran on 3 May 1858.

In the 20th century, the hat trade severely declined and was replaced by other industries. In 1905, Vauxhall Motors opened the largest car plant in the United Kingdom in Luton. In 1914 Hewlett & Blondeau aviation entrepreneurs built a factory in Leagrave which began aircraft production built under license for the war effort; the site was purchased in 1920 by new proprietors Electrolux domestic appliances, and this was followed by other light engineering businesses. In 2000, Vauxhall announced the end of car production in Luton; the plant closed in March 2002. At its peak it had employed in excess of 30,000 people. Vauxhall's headquarters remain in the town, as does its van and light commercial vehicle factory.

The 21st. century has seen Luton largely changed from a small manufacturing center to a bedroom city for London. The only major construction of any significance has been the development of Luton Airport, which was originally opened in 1938, owned and operated by the council. Today it is one of 4 major airports serving the capital. [1]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries (Civil)[edit | edit source]

Luton has only one cemetery and crematorium. The name and address follows:

Vale Cemetery and Crematorium
111 Butterfield Green Road
Luton, Bedfordshire, England
Cemetery Inscriptions on Billion Graves
Cemetery Inscriptions on

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Parishes[edit | edit source]

Luton has a number of Anglican Churches. They follow:

St Mary's Church
Church Street
Luton, Bedfordshire LU1 3JF

St Paul's Church
New Town Street
Luton, Bedfordshire, LU1 3EB

St Francis' Church
Carteret Road
Luton, Bedfordshire LU2 9JZ
Tel 01582 451132

St Luke's Church
High Street
Luton, Bedfordshire LU4 9JY

Non Conformists[edit | edit source]

The following Christian churches are active in Luton:

  • Baptist
  • Chinese Christian
  • Hope Church
  • Methodist
  • Pentecostal
  • Roman Catholic
  • Salvation Army
  • Seventh Day Adventist
  • Ukrainian Greek Catholic

Additionally the following non-Christian groups have assemblies in Luton:

  • Buddhist
  • Hindu
  • Muslim

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Birth, marriages and deaths records have been kept by government since July 1837 to the present day. Prior to that, local parishes of the Church of England, and local branches of other faiths were the only repositories of this information.

Luton does not have its own BMD office.

Useful sites follow:

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Luton does not have a full size daily newspaper. News for Luton comes from a number of sources, including:

Occupations[edit | edit source]

As a primary bedroom city for London, many of the occupations available are in the city, and in Finance, Insurance, and Services. Local employment can be found at the Luton Airport, as well as suck companies as the local University Hospital, Carlisle Security Services, and the local campus of the University of Bedfordshire.

Societies[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Luton," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 6 November, 2017.