Great Barford Vicarages
The Vicarage about 1900 [Z50/5/9]
The Old Vicarage in Great Barford, 57 High Street, was listed by the former Department of Environment in August 1983 as Grade II, of special interest. The department dated the house to the early 18th century "with 17th century origins". New windows were inserted in the 19th century. The building is constructed from colourwashed render over brick, with substantial elements of timber framing visible inside the rear block. It has a slate roof and is a double pile property, that is, two separate roofs, in this case one at the front and one at the back. The house has two storeys and attics. In the 19th century two parallel projections were added to the rear of the property.
The earliest reference to a parsonage building in Great Barford comes in a terrier of 1607 in the Archdeaconry archive [ABE1]. The house is described as having four bays. It was built of timber (meaning it was half-timbered with plaster infill) with a partly tiled, partly thatched roof. The house comprised seven rooms - a parlour, a hall, a kitchen, a buttery and three bedrooms. Two little barns, each of two bays, built from timber and thatched stood outside.
The next reference comes just over a century later, in 1708 [ABE1 page 282]. This building had three bays, was built of timber with a partly thatched, partly tiled roof. A kitchen, a hall and a buttery, each with a brick floor and a parlour with a clay floor lay downstairs and just a single bedroom above. In many ways this sounds as if it may have been the same building as that of 1607, only the number of bedrooms being different. These two descriptions, to some extent, support the dating of the Department of Environment of 18th century with 17th century origins. More than that cannot be said without detailed examination by an expert in vernacular architecture.
On 18th October 1815, towards the end of the incumbency of Roger Buston, an inventory of the fixtures was carried out which reads as follows [X290/281] (the original spellings and punctuation are retained):
To 1 Brewing Copper and grate and Brickwork Compleate - 1 Small Copper and grate - Leaded round top and Brickwork fix'd compleate. To 1 Lead sink, 1 Lead Pump 2 Iron Oven doors & frames 1 dresser board fix'd and Iron legs, Pair of Garden Steps 10 slats high & back
1 Hanging shelf, 1 Canvas Safe and 2 Shelves, 3 Shelves on one side, and two shelves on the other side of the Dairy.
Dresser and 3 draws and 3 Shelves to same. 2 Cubboards 2 Ditto, 2 Shelves next parlour, One over the yard door, 1 Dresser board Iron legs and 3 shelves above Smoak Jack, Crane, 2 pot hooks Wind up Kitchen range, 2 trevits 2 Spitrack Ironing stove Iron Oven and grate Large fender Mantle shelf and Spitracks, towl for hand towel 3 bells Shelf under Dresset for pots, kettles &c Lock to yard Door & key.
4 Shelves half round and 2 rows of Pegs, Shutter to the window Lock & key to door.
1 hanging shelf, Dresser 2 draws and 3 Shelves half round Shutter to window and Lock and key to the door
Stone wine bins
2 Corner Shelves and swing door
Cast iron grate fix'd, 2 Pulleys to the bells, 2 rolling up Canvas window blinds with Spring & Lock & keys to door & also to the Cup board door
Mahogany dumb waiter, 2 feet 10 In bow Stove fixed 2 rolling Canvas window blinds with springs, Large Chimbney glass and Lock & key to the door.
4 family Paintings, 2 Glazed Prints Lady Russell, Countess Essex & Countess of Berkley. Cast Iron grate, Bell line, Book Shelves & range of Cupboards Lock & key to Outward & Inner doors
Front Best Bedroom
2 foot Bath stove fix'd 1 Family Likeness 4 shelves & 1 row of Pegs in one Closet, 1 row of pegs in other Closet, Bell string and tassels Lock & key to the door also Lock and key to each Closet door
1 family likeness - 2 foot Bath stove fix'd 2 grazed [glazed?] prints, 2 Bell strings and wins / gone / Closet in Room 2 Shelves and two rows pegs - Other Closet 2 Shelves and 3 rows pegs, Dressing room 4 Small shelves, Lock & key to door, Lock & key to each Closet door & Lock & key to the room door
Bath Stove 3 feet 6 In long fixed, Chimbney shelf Bell String & tassall - To 3 Shelves, Closett 5 Shelves 1 row Pegs, Cup board & 1 Shelf below Lock & key to the door
4 bedroom bells, Large hand Dinner bell - Closet 1 shelf & row of Pegs Lock & key to the Closet door Lock & key to the door between the Passages
Room over the Hall
One 2 foot Bath stove fixed, Closet 3 Shelves Lock & key to the Closet door Lock & key to Room doors
Garratts over Hall
1 lift up shutter & 3 Chimbney boards - Lock & key to the door key wanting
Linnen chest & 4 Shelves Lick & key to the same
Garrett over Nursery
Chimbney board, 2 Rows of Pegs and Mantle shelf - Closet, 1 row of Pegs -
Front Garratt over best Room
Bath Stove 2 feet 4 In, Mantle shelf - Closet 10 Shelves - Lock & key to Closet and Lock & key to room door
Garratt over front Room
Mantle shelf, row of Pegs Closet 3 Shelves and 1 row of Pegs key Broke
Stone roll and Iron frame
Out Door offices -
3 tassels and Chaise Jack - Lock & key to the door
Ironing Stove, Pipe and Ash Pan Compleat, Large Ironing board Compleat Fix'd Lock & key to the door
Bottle rack, Loft over Part Knife Place 2 Shelves
3 Stalls and racks 1 Ladder to Loft, 2 rows Pegs
1 Cupboard 3 rows pegs & 4 Saddle pegs - Lock & key to the door
3 Stalls and backs and 1 row of pegs, Lock and key to the doors.
Partition up the middle
Manger & rack
1 Cow tye
2 Mangers for beasts
In 1847 Trinity College, Cambridge, which owned the advowson, gave a grant towards the repair of the house [P48/2/2/1].
The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every piece of land and building in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. Much of Bedfordshire was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting the vicarage [DV1/C156/24] noted that the house stood in 4.330 acres and that the living was worth £480 gross per annum.
The house comprised a lounge hall measuring 10 feet by 15 feet, leading to a second hall and stairway, a study measured 15 feet 6 inches by 14 feet 6 inches, a drawing room 20 feet 6 inches by 14 feet 6 inches and a kitchen 14 feet 6 inches by 13 feet, it faced south. There was a larder, a back passage and a scullery measuring 11 feet 6 inches by 13 feet with a sink which ran hot and cold and soft water. Also on the ground floor an "old lavatory passage now used as a cloak room" as well as a dining room measuring 14 feet by 19 feet with three French windows and which faced onto the garden. A china store room and a pantry with a sink running hot and cold water completed the downstairs accommodation.
Upstairs lay four bedrooms over hall and pantry, study, drawing room and kitchen respectively. There was also a w. c. On the second floor lay four attic rooms, a tank room "used for Sponge Bathing in" as it had hot and cold water laid on. A secondary staircase led down to the kitchen. A coal and wood barn together with another w. c. lay outside as did a greenhouse measuring 7 feet 6 inches by 11 feet 6 inches, which was heated by a coke furnace. Also outside lay a brick and slate Sunday Schoolroom, brick and tiled stabling, standing for four horses, a saddle room and a garage 17 feet long. A hen house, scratching place, tool room and scratching shelter also lay outside as did a tennis court, kitchen garden and ornamental garden.
The valuer commented: "A property of Character with high ceilings etc., but no modern conveniences". To underline the latter point he also commented "No Bath, oil lamps". A fuller note read: "A house of Character but altho' in good repair has no modern conveniences. Kitchen and Scullery of old farmhouse pattern but light and airy. Will always be spoilt by its close proximity to Council School".
Great Barford Vicarage ground floor plan 1939 [X392/17/2] - to see a larger version, please click on the image
In 1939 alterations were made to the plans of Stonebridge and Harris of Bedford, architects [X392/17/1-5]. These mainly consisted of decoration and a replacement of the boot room and part of the scullery by a new pantry.
Sadly, the parish archive has no material on the vicarage but at some point between 1939 and 1972 the old vicarage was sold. A new vicarage was built in the old vicarage's kitchen garden, being numbered 55 High Street. It continues as the benefice parsonage to the time of writing .
The Vicarage March 2010