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Caddington Pest House

Pesthouse Field and Close shown on a map
Pesthouse Field and Close shown on a map

The pest house was a kind of parish isolation hospital where parishioners were sent when suffering from some infectious disease. It was usually as far from habitation as possible, for obvious reasons.

Pest House Close lay south of Hill Farm and is in Hertfordshire. The parish of Caddington was divided between Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire until 1897 when parts of the Hertfordshire Caddington was brought into Bedfordshire. The 1897 boundary change was not straightforward, however. Parts of both old Caddingtons were taken to help create a new Hertfordshire civil parish of Markyate, including Pest House Close which has, thus, always been in Hertfordshire. Nevertheless the Caddington parish archive [P35] contains some interesting information about the pest house and so it is worth including in these pages.

There are a number of papers [P35/12/8] relating to the construction of the pest house in 1746-1747. The receipt for payment by the builder, William Rickson, runs as follows: “January ye 13th 1746 [1747] Recd of Mr Simons and Mr ffossey Colesten for the Building the Infmrey house the Sum of Sixtey pounds: which is in full for ye Bulding and finishing ye same house and Recd at ye same time ten Shilling for firewood for Drying ye house”.

An account of subscribers towards the building of the Pest House “aboute ye year 1745” runs as follows:

Hertfordshire Side

  • John Andrews £1-1-0 [also spelled Andrew]
  • Richard Taylor 10-0 [also spelled Tayler]
  • Mr. T. Burchmore £3-3-0
  • Alixander Goodale 7-6
  • William Sansom 5-0 [also spelled Sansum]
  • Daniel Garley 10-6 [also spelled Garely]
  • Henry Howard - £2-2-0
  • Edward Fossey £2-2-0
  • Edward Hickson 10-6
  • Mr. Arpin £1-1-0
  • Jer Mayle 10-6 [also spelled Mayles]
  • John Furnice 10-0 [also spelled Furnes]
  • George Crookey 10-0
  • Mr. Taylor Senor 10-0
  • William Punter 10-6
  • Ben Carter 18-0
  • Richard Biryer 10-0 [also spelled Peryer]
  • John Bricket 10-0
  • Joseph Chander 10-0 [also spelled Chandler]
  • James Bunyon 10-0 [also spelled Binyon]
  • Mr. Axten £6-6-0 [also spelled Exton]
  • William Langford £2-2-0 [also spelled Lankford]
  • Hertfordshire Side £5-0-0

Hertfordshire £29-8-6

Bedfordshire

  • William Bradshawe £1-1-0 [also spelled Bradshawe]
  • Henrey Lawrence 2-0 [also spelled Henry Lawrance]
  • John Blows 10-6
  • Thomas Hadnot £1-1-0
  • Thomas Simons £2-2-0 [also spelled Simonds]
  • John Geary £1-1-0
  • Edmund Glenister £2-2-0
  • Bedfordshire side £2-10-0

Bedfordshire £10-9-6

Strangers

  • Daniel Sear £1-1-0 [also spelled Seare]
  • Lord Huton 2-6 [also spelled Hutton]
  • John Bigg & Munn 1-6 [also spelled John Biggs and Joseph Munn]
  • Sear & Wooten £1-1-0 [also spelled Charles Seare and Wotton]
  • Straton 10-0 [also spelled John Stratton]
  • Mr. Hatfield £2-2-0
  • Mr. Pitman £6-6-0 [also spelled William Pitman]
  • Mercomb £3-3-0 [this is struck through – also spelled Esquire Wescombe]

£14-17-0

This is a total of £54-15-0. The name John Layton also appears, giving ten shillings and Edward Tarbox giving £1-1-0 bringing up the total to £55-16-0.

In 1757 Charles Bradshaw, churchwarden and Richard Bacchus, overseer made an agreement Edmund Glenister of Caddington, butcher to maintain the poor of the Bedfordshire part of Caddington for three years [P35/18/3]. The agreement specified, amongst other things: “it shall and may be lawful for the said Edmund Glenister to have the use and benefit of a certain house called the Pesthouse belonging to the said parish of Caddington in common with the rest of the inhabitants of the said parish for the reception of nursing and providing for such poor persons belonging to that part of the said parish lying in the said county of Bedford as shall happen during the said term to be afflicted with the distemper called the smallpox”.