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Froxfield House Eversholt

Froxfield House February 2016
Froxfield House February 2016

Froxfield House was listed by the Ministry of Works in 1961 as Grade II, of special interest. The listing dates the building to the later 18th century and it is built of red brick, with a 20th century tiled roof. It comprises two storeys with attics. In the mid-19th century it was the residence of a man named John Martin (1791-1855).  He was a bookseller from London who retired at the age of 35 to pursue other interests. In 1836 he became librarian to the Duke of Bedford at Woburn Abbey and may have moved into Froxfield House at that date - he certainly died there on 30th December 1855. He is best remembered in the county today for a series of articles for the Northampton Mercury written in the years either side of 1850 on Bedfordshire churches. These are pompous, opinionated, sarcastic and excoriating of the practices of parsons and churchwardens in taking care of the buildings in their charge. Few churches escape his withering glance, not even his own church in Eversholt. His son John Edward Martin, succeeded him as the duke’s librarian and at Froxfield House and was later librarian at Inner Temple in London.

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 Froxfield House [DV1/C131/2] found that it was owned by the Duke of Bedford’s London and Devon Estates Company and was vacant. There was a sale of the effects of the late Miss Jane Sprague of Froxfield House in 1927 [Z506/6/7]. It contained three reception rooms, a kitchen, a scullery, a pantry, a cellar, four bedrooms, a dressing room, two attics and a WC. Outside stood brick, timber and tiled stable, coachhouse, wood barn, boot hole and two earth closets. The valuer commented: “Very, very nice. A house not a cottage. Right near Park gates. Good garden”.