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Billington

Outdoors
Billington is a civil parish in Bedfordshire about 3mi south of Leighton Buzzard. There are two settlements: Little Billington (a hamlet in the west of the parish) and one that is now called Great Billington (straddling the A4146). The village is known for its high density of Travellers, who outnumber the settled community. This community live in privately owned, but permissive, sites in the village, three in Little Billington and one between Billington and the nearby village of Stanbridge.At the 2001 census, the parish had a population of 632, although by 2009 Central Bedfordshire Council estimated that this had fallen to 330. The name of the parish is recorded in 1196 as Billendon, and may come from Anglo-Saxon language Billan dūn = "hill of a man named Billa". Another theorized original meaning is "hill with a sharp ridge". The spelling Billyngdon appears in a legal record, dated 1440, where Hugh and Thomas Billyngdon of Billyngdon, Beds, gentlemen, are mentioned.The centre of Great Billington is Billington Hill, on top of which is the small parish church. An Iron Age fort and settlement once occupied this site. The church was originally a small mediaeval chapel; however, in the late 1860s it was enlarged to a church, and a rectory built next to it to house the first incumbent. This was when Billington was first recorded as a parish in its own right. The bell turret of the church (it has no tower) came to the church secondhand, from the church at nearby Linslade, which too was being enlarged at the time. The interior of the church is very simple; a small stained glass window in the west wall commemorates Edward Bradshaw, the first rector.
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