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Brook Farm Hulcote

Brook Farmhouse in 1981 [Z50/64/2]
Brook Farmhouse in 1981 [Z50/64/2]

Brook Farmhouse stands on the south side of the road from the modern A421 to Salford. It was listed by the former Department of Environment in February 1987 as Grade II, of special interest. The department dated the property to the 17th century, with "later reworkings". The original building is mostly timber framed with an infill of red bricks and has clay tiled roofs. Parts of the ground floor have been rebuilt entirely in brick and the later additions are all in brick. The house comprises two storeys and two storeys and attics with a single storey with attics block projecting to the west and another from the north-west.

The farm was owned by the Lord of the Manor of Hulcote which, from 1541 to 1779 was the Chernock family. The Smith family owned a half share in the lordship of the manor from the early 19th century into the 20th century. In February 1919 the trustees under the will of Rev. Boteler Chernocke Smith together with Villiers Chernocke Smith sold the Hulcote Estate at auction. Brook Farm was Lot 5 and the sale particulars [X67/353] described it as follows:

THE EXCEPTIONALLY VALUABLE AND VERY COMPACT

GRAZING AND DAIRY FARM
KNOWN AS

"Brook Farm", Hulcote

Most conveniently situated within 1 mile of Ridgmont Station on the London & North-Western Railway

THE FARMHOUSE
which stands adjoining the road leading to Ridgmont Station is of Brick, Stud and Tile and contains Parlour, Living Room, Kitchen, Cellar, large Dairy and 4 Bedrooms

Outside is a Wood and Coal Barn of timber and iron, and a brick-built Mixing House covered with iron roof; Pump and Well of water; Orchard and Vegetable Garden

THE FARM BUILDINGS
Are conveniently arranged around two enclosed yards and comprise in the first yard Cowhouse for six; sn open Cow Hovel for six; large Threshing Barn and Four Pigstyes

These Buildings are all of timber on brick foundations and corrugated iron roofs

IN THE SECOND YARD IS A

FOWL HOUSE AND A COW HOUSE FOR EIGHT COWS

These Buildings are also of timber on brick foundations with iron roofs

There is another building adjoining the house, also timber on brick foundations and iron roof, containing small Coach House, a Stable for 3 horses and a loose box. There is likewise a Granary fitted with bins, built of timber and iron on brick piers, and a Rickyard well fenced

The above, with a well-watered and fine GrazingLand with Two Fertile Arable Fields embraces an

Area of 77 acres, 3 roods, 10 poles

The Holding is in the occupation of Mr. F. J. Negus
At an Annual rental of £130

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 Brook Farm in December 1926 [DV1/H6/2] found it owned by Bedfordshire County Council, which had presumably purchased it in 1919 and occupied by C. J. Barnwell who paid rent of £74/10/- per annum for the farmhouse and 32 acres, 28 poles of land. The valuer commented: "Highly rented".

The farmhouse comprised two reception rooms, a dairy and a kitchen downstairs with four bedrooms ("3 sloping") upstairs. A brick and corrugated iron barn and a brick and slate earth closet stood outside. Soft water came from a well. The valuer commented: "Very old house". He also noted: "No drinking water, this has to be fetched from Ridgmont Station 1 miles" and "House very old, rooms low, no light".

The homestead comprised a western timber and corrugated iron block with two pigsties, a henhouse, a stable for five horses, a coachhouse, loose box and stabling for two more houses. Other farm buildings included a timber and corrugated iron calf pen and a large fixed henhouse.

Directories for Bedfordshire, which were not published annually but every few years, give the names of the tenants of Brook Farm from 1910 to 1940 and the following names are taken from these directories. The dates are the dates the name first and last appears not the dates of residence:

1910: John Barker;
1914: Francis J. Negus;
1836-1940: Thomas William Fisher.