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19 High Street Greenfield

19 High Street Greenfield March 2011
19 High Street Greenfield March 2011

The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] contains information on the county's historic buildings and landscapes and summaries of each entry can now be found online as part of the Heritage Gateway website. The entry for 19 High Street [HER 7867] describes it as a pair of small 18th century squatters' type cottages. Each of these would have had a single room downstairs with bed spaces in the attics. They are described as squatters' cottages simply because they are on the edge of the village and were originally small, mean dwellings, rather than the attractive property of today. The brick and tiled part of the property is, of course, much more modern.

The property today is pebbledashed and thatched. The HER entry comments: "This property seems typical of the small verge-side cottages found especially on the edge of villages, or in quite isolated positions. At the time of construction (1700-1750?) it may have been more central to the hamlet of Greenfield".

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 19 High Street [DV1/C269/28] found it owned by W. Gilham and leased to S. Gilham at £5 per annum rent. The valuer commented "£5 enough". The property simply contained a kitchen and living room downstairs with two bedrooms in the attics. He noted: "Low Thatch roof".

Sarah Gillam
Sarah Gillam in 1932

The Bedfordshire Times of 12th February 1932 had a piece on memories of some of the older inhabitants of Greenfield. One of them was Sarah Gillam: "One of the best-known figures in the district is Mrs. Sarah Gillam, of High Street, who for more years than she cares to remember has been the village carrier. With her horse and dray she travels every inch of the countryside and is known to everyone. Motors have not yet forced her to give up the occupation. Only once in thirty years has she missed Ampthill market, and on that occasion "the weather was so bad it wasn't held at all. I always told them that it would not be a market unless I was there" she remarked with a chuckle". Flitton parish registers reveal that Sarah Gillam was buried on 16th April 1947, aged 80.