Local history

Here at the Bedford Arms we offer a luxury country house experience for Hertfordshire weekend breaks, romantic get-aways, walking weekends, business trips and special occasions. We are based in the beautiful Chilterns countryside, the perfect setting for a relaxing stay.

History of Chenies

Originally known as Isenhampstead until the middle of the 13th Century, the village then took the name from the Cheyne family, who occupied the manor until the 16th Century, becoming Isenhampstead Chenies.

The old name Isenhampstead was finally dropped in the 19th Century when the village became Chenies.

The First Earl of Bedford

The manor house and village was given by Sir John Cheyne to his cousin’s daughter. When she married the first earl of Bedford, Sir John Russell (1484-1555), the land became part of the Bedford estate.

Sir John Russell was part of the court of Henry VIII, having served in the war with France. He received large amounts of land in the West County, the Eastern Counties, Covent Garden and several acres of London. He established the house of Russell, and was an ancestor of the philosopher Bertrand Russell and John Russell, a Prime Minister of England during the 19th Century.

Chenies village was the main family seat of the Russell family for decades, until it was sold to raise part of the £34.5 million death duty incurred by the death of the 12th Duke of Bedford.

The village of Chenies

Described as “a beautiful specimen of an English Village” in the 1850s, with its church, manor house and cottages, Chenies wins ‘best kept village’ prizes regularly to this day.

History of the hotel

The hotel building dates for the most part from 1842. It was converted from a house to a hotel in the 1930’s and was a small eating house and bar rather than a hotel. In 1957 the restaurant was moved to its current position. The hotel was frequently used by the Russell family who later acquired Woburn Abbey.

Subsequently owned by various companies the Hotel was upgraded to the standard it is today. In 2002 the Bedford Arms was sold and is now in private ownership and a new wing of eight bedrooms was opened in 2005.

If you are looking for Hertfordshire weekend breaks, the perfect country house wedding, a business meeting venue or time walking in the Chiltern hills, The Bedford Arms is the place for you.

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