Luton is a large town, borough and unitary authority area of Bedfordshire, situated in the south east of England, but in the East of England region for administrative purposes. It has a population of and is one of the most populous towns without city status in the United Kingdom. The town is situated on the River Lea, about 30 mi northwest of London. The town's foundation dates to the sixth century as a Saxon outpost on the River Lea, from which Luton derives its name. Luton is recorded in the Domesday Book as Loitone and Lintone and one of the largest churches in Bedfordshire, St Mary's Church, was built in the 12th century. There are local museums which explore Luton's history in Wardown Park and Stockwood Park.