Memories of Cople

A compilation of many people’s memories and connections with Cople

This booklet has been written, compiled and assembled by Libby Sands, who is also our editor of the monthly Cople News. Libby anticipates periodic updates to the journal. For your additions and alternate memories please contact Libby on [email protected]

Memories of Cople – September 2023 (download PDF)


Domesday (1086) place name: Chochepol/Cochepol

The name COPLE derived from the phrase “Cock Pool” which was a place where chickens were kept. Cople was mentioned in the Doomsday Book.

Other spellings of Cople over the centuries: Cochepol (xi cent.); Coggepole,Coupol (xiii and xiv cent.); Cowepyll (xvi cent.).

The History of Cople as written in 1912: British History Online

There is more information on the Church page and some on the Cople House page

Peter Burr’s Archive

Peter Burr has lived in Cople most of his life and, with the help of his family, has collected a fascinating archive of family and village historical articles. These include family photographs, stories, postcards and newspaper cuttings. Peter has kindly allowed us to scan many of these items for the website.

Click here for the The Peter Burr Archive Page.

Stanley Brown’s Archive

Stanley Brown grew up in Cople, worked on the land around here and married a Land Army girl who was stationed in Cople House during the war. Some photos from Stanley’s archive here show Stanley at work in the fields, his wife with some of the nuns from when Cople House was a convent and Cople House.


If anyone has anything at all they can add to the history of Cople I would be most grateful to hear from them. Not only information on the village but anything about its past inhabitants.

Old photographs (pre 1980) that I can use on this website would also be most gratefully received, I am happy to scan them and return them to you.

English Heritage maintains a website of details on many old buildings in the UK. Go to Images of England and search for COPLE
Cople postcard 1905. Northill Road taken from about where Woodlands Close now meets Northill Road, looking towards the Church. Cople Cottage can be seen as the nearest house on the left. The Church tower can be seen in the distance.

Northill Road 2007

The same scene in September 2007

Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service

The Archives section of the Bedfordshire Council has an excellent resource for information on may Bedfordshire communities, including the Cople Archives.

The Archive site includes many photographs and details of the historic buildings, houses and records.

Cople Archaeology

The Aerial Archaeology Mapping Explorer is a tool that displays archaeology that has been identified, mapped and recorded using aerial photographs and other aerial sources across England. Several sites around Cople have been identified as medieval or Iron Age. Explore the map using the link from the previous page, and search for COPLE.


The following potted timeline has been lifted from the Bedfordshire Libraries website which is a good starting place for anyone interested in researching the history of Cople.

1087c: Cople Church was built by the De Beauchamp family. The list of Vicars dates back to 1237. The Church was rebuilt in the 15th century.

1642-51: During the Civil Wars Cople was in the Parliamentary camp as Sir Samuel Luke of Wood End was an important Parliamentarian. He raised a regiment for Parliament and commanded the garrison at Newport Pagnell. He was immortalised by Samuel Butler as Hudibras. The vicar was a staunch Royalist and was arrested on trumped-up charges, fined £100 and sent to Newgate Prison.

1766:  John Wesley preached at Cople on the 12th of November.

1770c: Cople Toll House was built at the junction of the main A603 Bedford to Sandy Road and the main Cople Turn. It is one of only two tollhouses that exist in Bedfordshire.

1847: Henry East Havergal became Vicar. He was a noted local vocalist and instrumentalist. He remained Vicar until he died in 1875.

1857: Rev. Havergal installed an organ in the church of his design.

1869: School opened on the 1st February 1869.

1870: Almshouse for poor widows pulled down.

1886: Stained glass window installed in Church.

1901: School closed for four weeks due to a measles epidemic.

1926: New churchyard laid out and consecrated.

1940: 26 evacuees with their master arrived from Newhaven, Sussex. The school roll was now 73 comprising 42 Cople children and 31 evacuees. By 1942 there were only 11 evacuees on the register and by 1944 only 8 were listed.

1971: Cople House destroyed by fire.

1976: 24 houses built on the site of Cople House and the site was named Woodlands Close.

1994: Cople School celebrated its 125th anniversary with a week of celebrations including a Victorian Open Morning and a Foundation Ceremony.