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Henry VII Lodge Aspley Guise

Henry VII Lodge in 1816
Henry VII Lodge in 1816 [X67/934/14a]

Henry VII Lodge lies on the east side of the road running from Woburn Sands to Woburn. It was listed by English Heritage in 1985. The Lodge was built by the John, 6th Duke of Bedford between 1810 and 1811 to the designs of J. Adey Repton. The idea was to recreate a farmhouse of the late 15th/early 16th century using the techniques of the time, hence the name. The description given when the property was listed gives a good idea of the construction: "Main Block: ground floor is of coursed ironstone, with central 5-light window. First floor is jettied has close-studded timber framing with colourwashed plaster infill and central square oriel, also of 5 lights….To rear elevation first floor projects over open arcade on 4 timber piers with 4-centres arched bracing. Windows to this and side elevtion similar to front ones. R[ight]H[and] Block: close-studded timber framing with variety of ornamental brick infilling. At junction with main block is ironstone chimney stack surmounted by decorative mouldings and framing…Motifs derived from "some curious specimens of Timber houses" communicated to Society of Antiquaries in 1810".

Plan of site of Henry VII Lodge in 1816
Plan of the site of Henry VII Lodge in 1816 [X67/934/14a]

In 1927 this part of Bedfordshire was valued under the terms of the Rating Valuation Act 1925; every piece of land and building had to be inspected to determine the rates to be paid on it. This gives us an insight into the living space of the Lodge [DV1/C/258]. It was still owned by London & Devon Estates (i.e. by the Duke of Bedford) and the tenant was Joseph Showler. The lodge stood in nearly half an acre and comprised, downstairs, a living room, kitchen and scullery with three bedrooms above. There was a covered porch. Outside were brick and slate washhouse, barn and earth closet. Mains water was laid on and the valuer noted: "Lovely. Overhangs 1st floor, glorious oak porch".

As can be seen in the drawing above The Lodge was originally abutted by ornamental gardens, which are now, sadly, long disappeared. The Lodge was derelict for a while in the 1970s as the result of a large tree falling onto, and smashing through, the roof.

Henry VII Lodge January 2008
Henry VII Lodge in January 2008