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Hatch Farm

Hatch Farm March 2010
Hatch Farm March 2010

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 Hatch Farm [HER 15660] reads: “A post medieval farmstead with barns and a granary. The barns are set out on a U plan typical of model farms. The barns are timber framed constructions clad in weatherboarding with clay tile roofs. The roof structure is one of king posts with large braces to the wall and tie. One of the barns has the date 1790 carved into one of the main beams”.

“Around the yard are a number of stables and shelter sheds which are timber framed constructions clad in weather boarding with pantile roofs. Some of the mangers still remain as do cobbled floors, there are also stable doors and slatted windows”.

“The granary is a small square timber framed building clad in weatherboarding with a slate hipped roof. There are no staddles left but 4 metal lined bins remain”.

“The main farmhouse is a brick construction with a slate hipped roof and a number of sash windows”.

The earliest mention of the farm in documents held by Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service is in 1858 when a plans were made of the existing farm buildings and homestead [P10/2/1/10a-b]. At this date the farm was owned by the Rector of Northill as part of the glebe land of the church. In 1866 the farm was leased to Henry Dillamore for fourteen years [P10/2/1/12], a lease renewed in 1880 [P10/2/1/13]. At this time the farm comprised 219 acres, 3 roods, 1 pole of which 28 acres, 3 roods, 16 poles was grass and the rest arable. The farm was still in church hands in 1902 when a sketch plan of the drains and cesspits was made for the rector [P10/2/1/18].

Plan of the farm buildings in 1858 [P10-2-1-10a]
Plan of the farm buildings in 1858 [P10/2/1/10a] to see a larger version please click on the image

The same was true i 1910. A national survey of land for rating purposes was undertaken in this year as part of the fallout from David Lloyd-George’s pioneering 1909 budget. Hatch Farm was then occupied by Charles W. Capon and owned by the Rector.

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. Northill was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting Hatch Farm [DV1/H40/14] found it owned and occupied by Harry Howitt Marshall and Lansbury Edward Marsters, market gardeners of Water Lane Farm, Caldecote and salesmen in London at Covent Garden and Spittlefields Market. The farm comprised 210 acres. Clearly Marshall and Marsters had bought the farm at some point since 1910, it is surprising that the Northill parish records held by Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service contain no deed to that effect and it must be presumed that it is still at the church.

The valuer commented: “Smallish House – Plenty Buildings. Covered Yard. Homestead badly placed – but as Thorncote Farm belongs put two farms together. Very good land well farmed. New accommodation road…Thatched Barn at Thorncote”.

The farmhouse was occupied by employees A. Sells and George Perry. The “good” brick and slate building comprised three reception rooms, a kitchen, scullery and two cellars. Six bedrooms, a bathroom and w. c. lay upstairs. A washhouse, w. c., earth closet and coal house lay outside. Mains water was laid on but there was no electric light or mains drainage. There was a lawn and a kitchen garden. 

Farm buildings were as follows:

  • First yard: a wood and slate granary; a wood and corrugated iron cake and potato store; a wood and corrugated iron office.
  • Second yard: a wood and slate trap house and range of stabling for eight horses and a chaff house; to the north wood and slate stables for four horses; to the east a wood and pantiled range of two loose boxes and piggeries with a cowshed for two beasts.
  • Third yard: a brick and tile nag stable; a wood and slate threshing barn; a six bay open hovel; a wood and slate piggery; a wood and slate barn “This yard is covered with Yorkshire boarding”;
  • East of the third yard: a wood and thatched hen house; a wood and corrugated iron two bay shed; a wood and corrugated iron shed and steam house and range of five brick and pantiled piggeries.
  • South of the yards: a wood and pantiled eight bay cart shed; a wood and corrugated iron implement shed; a wood and corrugated iron range of four piggeries.

Marshall died in January 1929 aged just 41. The properties in the Biggleswade area he owned with Marsters were put up for sale by auction in 1930. The particulars [PK1/4/72] detailed nine lots in Hatch, Brook End , Upper and Lower Caldecote. Hatch Farm was described as follows;

LOT 5THE VALUABLE and VERY DESIRABLE FREEHOLD

MARKET GARDEN FARM
known as
HATCH FARMsituate at Hatch, near Northill, Beds.
containing a Total Acreage of
199 ACRES 3 ROODS 8 POLES (or thereabouts)

The compact and conveniently arranged
Farm House is substantially built of Brick with Slated Roof, and now divided into TWO DWELLING HOUSES, the whole containing: -

On the First Floor – 6 Bedrooms, W. C., good Cupboards on landing, approached by 2 Staircases
On the Ground Floor – Hall, Dining Room, Drawing Room, Breakfast Room, Kitchen fitted with Copper, Sink and Range, Scullery with Sink and Range, Roal [sic Coal?] House, Cellar, Wash-house, capital Dairy, harness Room and Outside W. C.

There is tastefully arranged garden in the front of the house

The whole is in excellent structural and decorative repair. Public water supply is connected.

The compact and conveniently arranged

Farm Homestead

is situate at the side and rear of the house and
comprises capital Timber Built Seed Barn with Corrugated Iron roof 75 feet by 15 feet.

RANGE of BRICK BUILT TIMBER and SLATED BUILDINGS enclosed in Yard and containing Stabling for 12. Chaff House, Loose Box and Cowhouse for 12. The adjoining Range of similarly constructed Buildings surround a covered Yard and comprise 3 Loose Boxes, Large Chaff House and Threshing Barn, 6 bay Cattle Shed, Mixing Barn with Loft over. At the rear is a Timber built and thatched Poultry and Implement Shed, 2-bay Implement Shed and 2-bay Fodder Shed. There is also an open Shed and Boiler House fitted with a Barford and Perkins Steam Boiler and Copper. Adjoining is a range of modern Brick Built and Tiled Piggeries, consisting of 5 Sties with well-drained yards. At the rear of the house is an 8-bay Tiled Cart Hovel, large Corrugated Iron Implement Shed with 5 Pigsties in yard, Timber and Tiled Tool Barn. 

The Garden Land

consists of about 170 ACRES 1 ROOD 4 POLES of Highly Rroductive Soil in convenient enclosures and in first-class heart and condition, having been consistently well cultivated and manured for many years.

There are also 4 Enclosures of
Rich Old Pastures
containing 24 ACRES 0 ROODS 31 POLES (or thereabouts).

Unfortunately the particular gives no buyer for any of the properties. Kelly’s Directory for Bedfordshire in 1931, 1936 and 1940 (the last Kelly’s for the county produced) still give Marshall and Marsters as occupiers of Hatch Farm, so perhaps either the auction did not take place or the farm did not sell.

By 1960 the farm had been acquired by Nuffield College, Oxford, which put it up for sale by auction as Lot 1, along with 2 to 4 Brook End. Brook End House was Lot 2. The sale particulars [X403/25] describe the farm as follows:

HATCH FARM
Northill, Near Sandy, Bedfordshireconveniently sited about 7 miles to the east of Bedford and about 1 mile from the Great North Road at Sandy.

THE FARM HOUSE

which faces almost due west is substantially constructed of brick with slated roof. It is at present divided into two dwellings, but little expense would be incurred to reconvert it into a Farm House to give the following well proportioned accommodation on two floors: -

ON THE FIRST FLOOR: approached by two staircases.

SIX GOOD BEDROOMS: measuring 14 feet by 12 feet, 14 feet by 13 feet 6 inches, 8 feet by 7 feet, 11 feet by 8 feet 6 inches, 12 feet 6 inches by 10 feet 6 inches and 12 feet by 9 feet 6 inches respectively, four of which have fireplaces.

BATHROOM: with Bath (hot and cold), WashBasin, W. C. and airing cupboards

ON THE GROUND FLOOR:

ENTRANCE HALL: with hanging cupboard

FOUR EXCELLENT SITTING ROOMS: measuring 18 feet by 13 feet 6 inches, 12 feet 6 inches by 10 feet, 17 feet 6 inches by 13 feet 6 inches and 14 feet 6 inches by 14 feet respectively

KITCHEN AND WASH HOUSE: 16 feet by 9 feet, with “Belle” range, Electric Cooker Point, Sink (hot and cold) and Copper. At the rear are a Pantry, Dairy, Scullery and two Store Rooms. Outside there is a tool shed, coal store and W. C.

SERVICES: Main services of Electricity and Water are connected. Telephone (Sandy 55) at present connected. Drainage is to a septic tank.

GARDENS: The garden grounds are attractively laid out and comprise a front lawn and pleasure gardens with a protective walled kitchen at the side.

THE FARM BUILDINGS

Form a compact block situated just to the north of the Farm House and close to the road for ease of access. They are mostly grouped around three Yards, and comprise: -

A LARGE COVERED YARD about 90 feet by 42 feet, with water laid on, with stable, open shed and 2 loose boxes adjoining

TWO LARGE TIMBERED AND SLATED BARNS, with “L” shaped open fronted shed ideally suitable for the wintering of Beef cattle to produce the Farm Yard Manure so necessary in the running of the Holding.

AN “L” SHAPED TIMBERED AND SLATED RANGE forming the stables and now used as a Garage and for storage purposes.

TIMBER AND GALVANISED POTATO CHITTING HOUSE. At the back of the Farm House is a very useful

“L” SHAPED IMPLEMENT SHED AND TRACTOR HOUSE and other buildings include 5 Brick and tiled pig sties, Store Sheds and 2 further Implement Sheds.

The particulars are annotated with the fact that the farm, together with 2 to 4 Brook End, were sold for £31,600. Unfortunately the name of the buyer is not noted.