1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ampthill
AMPTHILL, a market town in the northern parliamentary division of Bedfordshire, England, 44 m. N.N.W. of London by the Midland railway. Pop. of urban district (1901) 2177. It lies on the southern slope of a low range of hills, in a well-wooded district. The church of St Andrew ranges in date from Early English to Perpendicular. It contains a monument to Richard Nicolls (1624–1672), who, under the patronage of the duke of York, brother to Charles II., to whom the king had granted the Dutch North American colony of New Netherland, received the submission of its chief town, New Amsterdam, in 1664, and became its first English governor, the town taking the name of New York. Nicolls perished in the action between the English and Dutch fleets at Solebay, and the ball which killed him is preserved on his tomb. Houghton Park, in the vicinity, contains the ruins of Houghton House, built by Mary, countess of Pembroke, in the time of James I. To this countess Sir Philip Sidney dedicated the Arcadia. Ampthill Park became in 1818 the seat of that Lord Holland in whose time Holland House, in Kensington, London, became famous as a resort of the most distinguished intellectual society. In the park a cross marks the site of Ampthill Castle, the residence of Catherine of Aragon while her divorce from Henry VIII. was pending. A commemorative inscription on the cross was written by Horace Walpole. Brewing, straw-plaiting and lace-making are carried on in Ampthill.