BIGGLESWADE, a market town in the Biggleswade parliamentary division of Bedfordshire, England, 41 m.
Biggleswade (Bichelswade, Beckeleswade, Bickleswade) is an ancient borough by prescription which has never returned representatives to parliament.
Granted it to the bishop of Lincoln, under whose protection the borough evidently grew up. In 1547 the bishop surrendered his rights to the king, and in the 17th century Biggleswade formed part of the jointure of the queens of England.
In addition to agriculture, Biggleswade was formerly engaged in straw-plaiting and lace manufacture.
The chief crop is wheat, for which the soil in the Vale of Bedford is specially suited; while on the sandy loam of the Ivel valley, in the neighbourhood of Biggleswade, market-gardening is extensively carried on, the produce going principally to London, whither a considerable quantity of butter and other dairy-produce is also sent.
Communications are provided in the east by the Great Northern main line, passing Biggleswade, and in the centre by that of the Midland railway, serving Ampthill and Bedford.
The other urban districts are - Ampthill (2,77), Biggleswade (5120), Kempston, connected with Bedford to the south-west (4729), and Leighton Buzzard (6331).
The county has two parliamentary divisions, Northern (or Biggleswade), and Southern (or Luton), each returning one member; and Bedford is a parliamentary borough, returning one member.
Bedfordshire is divided into nine hundreds, Barford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Flitt, Manshead, Redbornestoke, Stodden, Willey and Wiscamtree, and the liberty, half hundred or borough of Bedford.
Stanburge, Buchelai and Weneslai, which had by the 14th century become parts of the hundreds of Manshead, Willey and Biggleswade respectively.