Grange Farm Houghton Conquest
Grange Farm January 2016
Grange Farmhouse is not an old building, dating from the late 19th century or early 20th century, but the farm to which it belongs is of long standing, part of the Manor of Houghton Grange. In 1543 the tenant was James Dane of Maulden. In making his will that year he devised his tenancy of the farm to his wife Alys [ABP/R6/202]. It is possible, too, that today's house stands on or near the site of the parsonage of Houghton Gildable.
By 1773 the farm was part of the Hawnes Estate of Robert, Earl Granville who mortgaged his estate in that year. The mortgage [X520/22] specifically mentions a rent of £13/16/7 issuing out of the farm.
In 1916 the farm was owned by Walter Armstrong George of Biddenham. In that year he leased it to Arthur Cox of Bromham Road, Bedford, farmer and cattle dealer, for £100 per annum [Z720/239/2].
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 94 acre farm [DV1/H45/34] found it was now owned and occupied by A J Payne. He commented: “Land very scattered”. Another hand wrote, on 24th April 1927: “A very nice Farm with Good House. Buildings not so good”.
The farmhouse comprised two reception rooms, a kitchen, scullery and pantry. Five bedrooms with a bathroom and WC lay upstairs. A coal house lay outside. Water came from a well in the fields and drainage was to a cesspool. The homestead comprised a timber and tiled cart hovel and barn, a brick and tiled open hovel, stable and pigsties and a timber and tiled open hovel and food store.
In 1956 the wheel came full circle when The Grange once again became the Rectory for Houghton Conquest on the sale of the existing rectory. In 1978 the parishes of Houghton Conquest and Wilshamstead were joined together and the parsonage for the new benefice became the one at Wilstead, The Grange once more becoming a private house.