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Aspley Hall Farm Hulcote

A map showing Aspley Hall Farmhouse in 1906 [BML10/1/13]
A map showing Aspley Hall Farmhouse in 1906 [BML10/1/13]

Aspley Hall Farm, as the name suggests, was previously in the parish of Aspley Guise. The boundary between Aspley Guise and Hulcote used to run along the middle of the stream on which Hulcote Mill stood. Aspley Hall Farmhouse and its land lay south and west of this and so were in Aspley Guise. In 1984 the boundary was moved to the middle of the M1 motorway and at that point the farmhouse and a considerable portion of the land was transferred into the civil parish of Hulcote and Salford [CDP82].

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 Aspley Hall Farmhouse [HER 14367] describes it as a large red brick construction with a slate roof on the left hand side, as seen from the front, and a tile roof on the right hand side. It has a date plaque of 1757. The plan of the building suggests it was constructed in two phases with the part covered by the slate roof being slightly the older as the tiled roof extension is set back slightly from it

In 1906 the farm was sold at auction by the executors of Francis Bassett, deceased. The sale particulars [BML10/1/13] note that the land comprised 126 acres, 1 rood, 14 poles of which 103 acres, 2 roods, 11 poles were pasture and 22 acres, 3 roods, 3 poles were arable. About three roods of land then lay in the parish of Hulcote.

The farmhouse and homestead was described as: "brick-built, tiled and slated, and contains Entrance Hall, two Reception Rooms, Kitchen, Scullery, Dairy, Cellar, Two Staircases, six Bedrooms, and Two Attics. The Farm Buildings (which, with the House, have lately been put in good repair) comprise a brick-built and tiled Coach-house, Nag Stable, Pigsty, and Mealhouse, and enclosing the Farmyard are two open Hovels, two Cowhouses, with space for 14 Cows, a timber-built and slated Barn with asphalt floor, and a brick-built and slated Stable for 4 horses with loft over. The timber-built Fowl-house with iron roof belongs to the tenant".

"There is also a timber and thatched open Shed in the Orchard, a timber-built 3-bay Cart Shed with iron roof in the Rickyard, and a timber-built 4-bay open Hovel and Box with iron roof in Hill Ground". The tenant was W. H. Lines who paid rent of £175 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 Aspley Hall Farm in November 1926 [DV1/H5/40] found it owned and occupied by W. H. Lines and Son, who had purchased it in June 1921. They had presumably continued as tenants after the sale of 1906. They had previously paid rent of £187 per annum for the buildings and 127 acres of land.

The valuer commented: "Water – good well. Lighting – lamps. Sanitation – Earth" so there was no electricity or water laid on to the premises and the toilet was an earth closet. He noted: "Saw Mr. Lines junior: he says that fields 319, 320, 327 and 340 [these are the Ordnance Survey map numbers] are wet. Number 303 always very wet throughout the year and can only be used to turn out horses". Another hand has written in the valuation book: "The old grass and arable is good. Land late Millard is poor".

The farmhouse comprised a hall, two reception rooms, a living room, a kitchen, a scullery, pantry, dairy and back hall downstairs with five bedrooms and a boxroom above. A coal barn and an earth closet stood outside. The homestead comprised the following blocks:

  • South: a brick and slate carthorse stable for three with a hayloft over; a timber and slated barn and a brick and tiled loose box;
  • West: a wood and tiled cow house for eight beasts; a three bay open cow shed; a calf house; a wood and corrugated iron four bay open cart shed and a straw box;
  • North: a wood, corrugated iron and tiled six bay open cow shed; a wood and corrugated iron fowl house; a brick and tiled coachhouse (annotated "garage"); a loose box and a tool house;

An outlying brick, wood and corrugated iron three bay hovel also lay in an outlying field.