The bailiff of Bedford is coming.

The Ouse, or Bedford river, is in Cambridgeshire called the bailiff of Bedford; because, when swoln [swollen] with rain in the winter-time, by overflowing, it carries off the cattle, &c. on the Isle of Ely and adjacent low grounds; so that this saying was a warning to drive off the cattle, &c. lest they should be distrained by the bailiff of bedford; i.e. the river Ouse. By draining the fens, this bailiff’s power has been superseded.

Entry taken from Provincial Glossary, edited by Francis Grose.

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He is a representative of Barkshire

As plain as Dunstable Road
Downright Dunstable
As crooked as Crawley Brook
The bailiff of Bedford is coming

Buckinghamshire bread and beef


Bedfordshire in Nuttal Encyclopædia

Antique pictures from Bedfordshire