Field Farm Houghton Conquest
Field Farm in 1961 [Z53/62/3]
Field Farmhouse used to be Grade III listed but this category has been abolished. It dates from the 17th century and is timber-framed with red brick nogging, that is, bricks between the timber posts. It comprises two storeys.
In 1874 the owner of the farm, the Morris Estate, did not approve of any of his labourers belonging to a trades union. They were made to give up their union membership in exchange for keeping their jobs as the following document [SFM3/147] makes clear: “Declaration signed by George Thompson, Thomas Sherwood and Thomas Woodland ...being labourers employed on the farms known as the Ampthill Park farm and Field Farm, Houghton Conquest, and also being Members of the National Agricultural Labourers Union do hereby declare and faithfully promise that in consideration of our be allowed to continue as Labourers in the said farms we will discontinue our payments to the said Union and will have no further connections with the same either by payment or otherwise”.
The farm was put up for sale by the estate in 1901. The sale particulars [Z648/1] state that the farm had 176 acres, 2 roods, 16 poles of arable in a total acreage of 195 acres, 15 poles. The tenant, named Seabrook, paid rent of £97/10/- per annum.
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 the 160-acre farm [DV1/H45/26] found it owned and occupied by John Cook, he may have bought it in 1901. The farmhouse contained a living room and kitchen with two bedrooms upstairs as well as two attics. The homestead was divided into six groups:
- a brick, timber and tiled stable for seven horses and a mixing room;
- a brick, timber and tiled cow shed for fifteen, an open hovel and another hovel;
- a brick, timber and tiled barn, two calf boxes and three pigsties;
- a brick, timber and tiled hen house and granary and a timber and tiled four-bay cart hovel;
- a timber and tiled open hovel for horses and one for calves;
- a timber, slate and corrugated iron cow shed.