Bedford, its Antiquity & Etymology
From an article in the SDUK 'Penny Magazine' 1835
BEDFORD, a borough, and the county town of Bedfordshire, situated on both sides of the river Ouse, which is navigable to the German Ocean. Bedford is forty-eight miles N.N.W, from London.
Camden states the town to be of high antiquity ; but doubts if it was the Lactodorum of Antoninus, as some affirm, for it does not stand on a Roman road ; nor had Roman coins ever been found there. Nevertheless the plough turns up many coins in various parts of the county, and the vicinity of Shefford in particular has been remarkably productive in Roman pottery, glass, and bronze.
Camden proceeds to state that he had read that the British name of the place was Lifwidur, or Lattidur ; but he regards the latter as a translation of the English name "Lettuy, in British, signifying public inns, and Lettidur, inns on a river, as Bedford, in English, beds and inns at a ford." This account is not very satisfactory. (See Gentlemans Magazine, 1794, for a quotation bearing on this called England Illustrated.)
It is generally supposed, however, that the town is the Bedicanford of the Saxon Chronicle. This signifies "a fortress on a river," a designation of which the present name seems a corruption.