Potton - A Rural Bedfordshire Town

Published: 29th June 2011
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A rural Bedfordshire town with a population of just over five thousand, Potton has a rich history and is the home of a welcoming community. The town name derives meaning, rather unsurprisingly, from the old English for the making of pots and was recorded in the Domesday Book as 'Potone'. Situated just over forty miles from London, with easy motorway access, Potton is in close proximity to both Bedford and Cambridge.

Potton is peppered with a vibrant history, to which its defining landmarks pay homage. The market square is thought by residents to be the heart of the town and has been in existence since the days of King William II, in 1094. Home to regular town fair events throughout the ages, the market place was a bustling trade centre for many a century, until tragedy struck Potton in 1783.

The 'Great Fire of Potton' raged for more than a day and caused irreparable damage to trade and some of the town's oldest buildings. In true Potton style, the close-knit community banded together to support each other in times of hardship. Raising money and ensuring adequate shelter for those in need; the spirit of Potton helped carry the community through the dark days.

Whilst the town took on a more Georgian feel after the fire, one of the oldest buildings did survive. St Mary's, the parish church, has stood tall since 1094 and remains a place of pride for the community to this day. Those who take special pride in the history of Potton are the hundred strong members of the Potton History Society, who gather monthly to celebrate the town's history. Visitors may also be delighted to discover that there is a Potton Barbershop Harmony Club!

The Sandy and Potton Railway is also a point of pride for residents, as it dates back to the 1800s and was associated with Sir William Peel (who established the railway station). However, the Potton railway station, which was open for a hundred years (but closed in 1968) did not hold favour with town residents, as it was commonly thought that through providing provisions for access to London, the town's commerce suffered.

Residents in the town of Potton are primarily Christian and British. The economy of the town has had a long held association with brewing from the early 1700s, a period of absence since the 1920s, with a return to form from the 1990s.

Potton's market square is where most of the main shops, facilities and local amenities are situated. Overlooked by a clock house and clock tower, residents gather for many occasions, such as when the Christmas Lights are switched on. Small businesses are abundant in the town centre, with florists, chemists, hairdressers, cafe's, pubs and an all important fish and chip shop, situated there. Banking facilities, the town hall and council chambers, a post office and the library can all be found situated around the market square, giving visitors ease of access to all Potton has to offer.

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