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Dungee Farm Harrold

Dungee Farm in June 2008
Dungee Farm in June 2008

Dungee or Dungey Wood and land attached to it is first mentioned in any record held by Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service in 1636 when Sir John Tyringham, of Tyringham [Buckinghamshire], mortgaged a coppice or wood called Dungey Wood of two hundred acres in Harrold and a messuage or farm in Harrold in occupation of Robert Franklin and 120 acres in Pavenham to John Cason of Pelham [Hertfordshire] for £2,700 [L7/7]. Two years later the mortgage was assigned by Sir Thomas Tyringham's son John to Sir Henry Cason of Astonbury [Hertfordshire], Edward Boteler of Queenhoo Hall [Hertfordshire] and George Boteler of Ellerton [Yorkshire] [L7/8]. Later that year John Tyringham sold Dungey Wood, a messuage "where William Orpyn, the woodward, dwells" and two acres in the fields of Bozeat [Northamptonshire] to Sir Henry Cason for £2,800 [L7/9].

Sir Henry devised the Dungey Wood property to his executors in his will of 1645 to be sold [L7/10]. The will was proved in 1648 and the executors sold Dungey Wood to Thomas Cason of Queenhoo Hall, Sir Henry's son, for £2,000 in 1661 [L7/11]. Cason's will also devised Dungey Wood to his executors for sale [L7/15] and this took place in 1682 to James Boteler of Harrold, gentleman, for £900 [L7/20-21]. Dungey Wood was now measured at 160 acres and the other land was recorded as a close of pasture adjoining of three acres at the north end of the wood in Bozeat in which formerly stood a messuage occupied by William Orpyn, then the late Richard Grey, woodward. there were also two acres in the fields of Bozeat.

Dungee Farm is first explicitly mentioned in 1696 when Judith Boteler of Harrold leased a "messuage and farm called the Dungey farm in Harrold" which comprised 120 acres, to Edward Makerness of Harrold, yeoman. Judith was the widow of James and had been devised the property in his will of 1691 [L7/30].

 X1-97-37 Dungee Farm rough draft 1712
Dungee Farm in a rough draft map of 1712; please click on the thumbail to see a larger image

James Boteler left three daughters - Mary, Judith and Ursula amongst whom Dungey Farm was divided on their mother's death. Mary married William Bamford or Bamforth, parson of Turvey and in 1712 he bought out the other two daughters to own Dungey Farm outright. Then in 1714 he sold Dungey Farm to Orlebar Fletcher of London, draper for £1,300 [L7/34]. Fletcher went bankrupt in 1721 and his Dungey land was taken over by assignees on behalf of his creditors [L7/37], who sold it to the Duke of Kent the following year for £712 [L7/38/39]; it thereafter became part of the Grey, later Lucas, Estate in Harrold.

In 1918 most of the Lucas Estate in Harrold, including Dungee Farm, was sold to James Day, though he soon sold it on, together with The Mansion and other lands, as a printed sale catalogue of 1925 [Z528/17] shows. In 1927 property in Harrold was valued under the Rating & Valuation Act of 1925; every piece of land and building in the country had to be valued to determine the rates to be paid upon it. The valuer visiting Dungee Farm noted that the owner and occupier was then W.M.Peacock. He noted that it was bought in 1920 and comprised 230 acres. Rent had been £200 per annum.

The valuer commented: "Too much arable. Buildings too big, were built for larger acreage. Near road. Sharnbrook station about 6 miles. A lot of woods, damage done by rabbits to crops"; also "H[ouse] & H[omestead] big enough for 500 acres"

The farmhouse was built of stone and tile and comprised a hall, two reception rooms, a kitchen, scullery, dairy and pantry downstairs, with a cellar below; six bedrooms lay above. Outside was a tenant's shed, a washhouse and an earth closet. The valuer remarked "Nice house".

The homestead comprised two brick, stone and tile loose boxes, a coachhouse, an open hovel, a henhouse, a cow house for five beasts, calf places and three pigsties each served with a feeding passage to a mixing house. There was also a return range of a four bay cart hovel with a loft over, a barn, an elevator shed, two machinery barns and a loose box with a chaff floor over. Another range comprised a harness room, cart house, stable for eight beasts, loose box, two calf pens, open hovel, smithy and tenant's implement shed. The valuer remarked: "Very good modern buildings. Too big for area now".

Cottages at Dungee Farm June 2008
Cottages at Dungee Farm in June 2008

By using directories one can determine a partial list of those farming at Dungey or Dungee Farm between 1853 and 1940 as follows:

  • 1851: Joseph Robinson;
  • 1853-1877: John Fairey;
  • 1885-1890: Thomas Fairey;
  • 1914-1924: J.Day Osborne;
  • 1928: W.M.Peacock;
  • 1940: Thomas G.Eden