Ice House and Lime Kiln tours at the Medieval Festival

Published on 20 June 2019


We are delighted to announce that the Bedford Association of Tour Guides is kindly doing
guided tours of the Ice House and Lime Kiln at the Medieval Festival on Saturday 27 th and
Sunday 28 th July.


The historic Ice House is an underground, man-made chamber inside the Castle Mound at
the heart of the historic site of Bedford Castle.  It was built by the Higgins brewing family in
the mid-1800s and would have been used to store ice throughout the year. The central well
is over 4m deep, large enough to have stored ice for use in all of the inns of Bedford when it
was built.


The Lime Kiln at Castle Quay was discovered in 1972 during excavations of the site of
Bedford Castle. It was built in the mid 13 th century to make lime mortar which was used to
build medieval stone buildings in Britain. It is a round pit, about 16ft deep and 18ft wide
and made out of cut stone blocks.


The trade of lime burning goes back to Roman times, and was dangerous, dirty and
unpleasant because of the heat, smell and toxic fumes. Lime however was essential to many
industrial and building processes at the time, and workers burnt broken lumps and limestone
at very high temperatures in large furnaces.


These furnaces, known as kilns, were filled with wood, peat, gorse and bracken, with
alternative layers of fuel and limestone. After burning for up to ten days the lime was cooled
for two or three days, and was drawn from the bottom of the kiln to make mortar, whitewash, fertiliser or hide tanning.


Tours will commence from the Ice House (Higgins side of the mound) at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm on both the 27 th and 28 th July. No pre booking required, just turn up!

Love Bedford as much as we do?

Sign-up to receive the occasional email from us about local news, offers, shopping and events! You can unsubscribe at any time.

* indicates required

BedfordBID (Business Improvement District) will never share the information you provide on this form. Confirm that you'd like to hear from us via:

Love Bedford Facebook & Instagram!