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48 and 50 Main Road Biddenham

48 and 50 Main Road in 1962 [Z53/15/19]
48 and 50 Main Road in 1962 [Z53/15/19]

48 and 50 Main Road were listed by English Heritage in August 1987 as Grade Ii, of special interest. The two dwellings were once one house that has its origins in the 17th or 18th century, though renovated in the 19th century. Construction is of limestone rubble walls covered with colourwashed plaster and a thatched roof. The original house had four rooms downstairs, converted into two cottages of two each. Beds were in the attics. The dormer windows were added in the 19th century.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. The valuer visiting the properties [DV1/C123/129-130] found that they, like many of the older properties in the village, were owned by the Wingfield family, Lords of the Manor of Biddenham.

Number 48 was home to J. Billings who had paid rent of £1/19/- per annum since 1912. He had a living room and a kitchen downstairs, with just one bedroom, in other words beds were in the undivided attic. Outside stood a wood house and an earth closet. He fetched his water from a tap in the garden of Number 50. The valuer summed the place up as: “Pretty but poor”

Number 50 was in the occupation of J. Elmer whose rent of two guineas (£2/2/-) per annum dated from 1850! He had a living room, a kitchen and a scullery downstairs and his attic had been divided to make two bedrooms. He also had a barn and an earth closet outside and water, as we have seen, came from tap in his garden. The valuer also summarised this dwelling as “Pretty but poor” but reckoned it better than next door. He also noted “Very bad slope” in other words the roof made head space upstairs very limited.

48 and 50 Main Road March 2012
48 and 50 Main Road March 2012