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The Old House - 56 Totternhoe Road Eaton Bray

The Old House January 2009
The Old House January 2009

The Old House is a splendid looking building on the east side of Totternhoe Road near the junction with Green Lane. It was listed by the former Department of Environment in September 1980 as Grade II, of special interest. It dates from the 16th century, though it has been modernised.

The property is timber-framed with partly colour-washed brick infill known as nogging. There is an extension at the right-hand side and a modern two storey porch to front. The house comprises two storeys and attics beneath a thatched roof. The two dormer windows in the attics are a modern conceit. The listing notes that the lintel to the fireplace bears the date 1674 and that panelling inside is “probably from another house”.

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. Eaton Bray, like most of the county, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting The Old House [DV1/C202/48-50] found it owned and occupied by James Travell, listed as a farmer in Kelly’s Directory for Bedfordshire of 1928.

The house comprised two living rooms, a kitchen, a scullery and a store room with three bedrooms and a bedroom used “as store” above. A weather-boarded and thatched barn stood outside, along with a brick and tile earth closet. The valuer commented: “End part of house not used but alright”, also “Low roof” and “Was 3 cottages”. There was a homestead comprising the following groups of buildings:

  • North block: a weather-boarded and thatched barn used as a hen house and trap shed; a large barn and a weather-boarded and corrugated iron lean-to open shed
  • West block: a cow house for five (“used as stores”); a feeding hovel; two pigsties; a weather-boarded and corrugated iron loose box and a three bay part open shed (all “poor”);
  • In a nearby meadow stood a weather-boarded and corrugated iron hen house.

The property included 4.404 acres of orchard. The valuer commented: “old trees 60 years”. They were probably plums for making prunes, seemingly the staple orchard crop in the parish.