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Holcotmoors Farm Hulcote

Holcotmoors Farmhouse and the Denton family about 1900 [Z50/64/8]
Holcotmoors Farmhouse and the Denton family about 1900 [Z50/64/8]

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 Holcotmoors Farmhouse (incorrectly called Halcotmoors Farmhouse on the site) describes it as a large brick built construction with a slate roof. "The building appears to be on an L-shaped plan but this is not certain. Within an internal angle a lean-to style porch is located. The rear of the building has two slightly projecting gables with bargeboards. The windows are a variety of sashes and casements".

The farm belonged to 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
GRAZING & CORN GROWING FARM
KNOWN AS THE

"Moors farm", Hulcote

Situated about 2½ miles from Woburn Sands and Ridgmont Stations, London and North-Western Railway

Held (with the exception of the enclosures Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4, Hulcote) by Mr. Samuel Charles Denton

At an Annual Rental of £330
On a yearly Michaelmas tenancy

The enclosures Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 before-mentioned are let to Mr. J. W. Lord on a yearly Michaelmas tenancy, at a rental of £9

THE FARMHOUSE

Which can be suitably described as a gentleman's residence, is double-fronted and most substantially built of Brick and Slated, and has nicely laid out Gardens and Shrubberies in front. It contains large Entrance Hall, Dining and Drawing Rooms, both 18 feet by 16 feet, with modern grates, Breakfast Room fitted with range; China Pantry; well-fitted Larder. Kitchen with hard and soft water and force pump, copper, ranger and sink with hot and cold water supply; Housemaid's or Butler's Pantry. Upstairs is a spacious landing approached by front and back staircases (with fitted Wardrobe on Landing), 2 Bedrooms of the same size as the Dining Room and Drawing Room respectively, and 5 other Rooms, W. C. &c. Hot and cold water is laid on to the First Floor. 3 excellent Cellars including Dairy, Coal and Wood Barn, and 2 outside Earth Closets. A Nag Stable containing a Loose Box and a Stall; a Roomy Coach-house fitted as Harness Room &c.

There is an excellent Vegetable Garden and Orchard adjoining the house.

It is situated about 300 or 400 yards from the high road between Cranfield and Salford, and is approached by capital Carriage Drive, at the entrance to which, and included in the letting to Mr. Denton, are

TWO MODERN COTTAGES

Built of brick and tiled, each containing 6 Rooms with necessary Outbuildings and good Gardens with supply of drinking water [see Holcotmoors Lodge below].

THE FARM HOMESTEAD

Is most substantially built of Brick and Slated, and is arranged round two large Stockyards. It contains the following: - Boiling House with 2 Coppers; 2 Mixing Cisterns and a Water Tank; 4 enclosed Pigstyes; a Cowshed for 6, with feeding troughs at heads.

In the first Stockyard there are 2 three-bay Open Sheds with Standings for 5 cows in each and 2 enclosed Calf Houses.

In the second Stockyard there are also 2 three-bay open Sheds with Standings for 5 cows each, 1 Calf House and a Fowl House.

Entered from the second Stockyard is also a Gear-house, a Cart-horse Stable with Standings for 9 horses and a Chaff House at the end. At the end of the two yards are two very large Barns open to the roof and a three-bay Open Cart Shed with a Granary over;

another Homestead and Rickyard, known as "Shroud's Farm"

comprises a two-bay Shed, a four-bay timber-and-iron Cow Shed and an enclosed Barn.

The farm is well watered. 

The land comprised 187 acres, 36 poles of land in Hulcote, 11 acres, 1 pole in Cranfield and 6 acres, 3 roods, 17 poles leased by J. W. Lord in Hulcote.

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 Holcotmoors Farm in December 1926 [DV1/H6/20] found it owned and occupied by Charles Ernest Throssell who had bought it in 1919 [BMl10/32/1]. Samuel Charles Denton paid rent of £320 per annum for it in 1919. Before the Great War the farm had comprised 315 acres but this was reduced to 308 by 1926.

The valuer noted: "House good, central heating" and Water natural gravitation from spring. The house was lit by lamps. The valuer further noted: "Water in yards from hard pump. Buildings substantial and in fair repair". Another hand has noted in the valuation book: "Useful farm but for the Buildings".

The brick and slate farmhouse comprised two reception rooms, two kitchens, a pantry and an underground dairy and cellar. Five bedrooms, a dressing room and a bathroom and W. C. lay on the first floor. A brick and slate wood barn, coal shed and earth closet stood outside. A later hand has annotated the entry to note a hall, a dining room measuring 16 feet by 18 feet, a reception room measuring 20 feet by 16 feet, two larders and two kitchens measuring 12 feet by 14 feet and 12 feet square respectively. The bedrooms were measured, respectively, at 17 feet square, 12 feet by 13 feet, 18 feet by 17 feet, 13 feet by 7 feet, 12 feet by 14 feet and 13 feet by 8 feet 6 inches, one of these had, presumably, replaced the dressing room. There were now two bathrooms and a linen cupboard.

The farm buildings stood in a number of groups as follows:

  • Shrouds farm buildings: a four bay timber and corrugated iron open hovel with a manger and a dilapidated timber and corrugated iron barn;
  • To the west: four large brick and timber calf pens;
  • West of the cattle yard: a brick and slate boiler house and a cow house for fifteen beasts;
  • North of the cattle yard: a brick and slate mixing barn with a chaff loft above with a four horsepower Lister engine and shafting for a mill, cake breaker and root pulper;
  • East of the cattle yard: a brick and slate cow house for sixteen and a cooling house;
  • West of the home yard: a brick and slate tool house; a three bay open hovel and a cow house for nine;
  • North of the home yard: a brick and slate barn with a granary above and a three bay implement shed;
  • East of the home yard: a brick and slate stable for seven; a chaff house and harness room; a two stall nag stable and coach house (this last annotated "garage" in a later hand);
  • North of the yards: a brick, timber and corrugated iron machine shop with double doors at each end.

Holcotmoors Lodge January 2011
Holcotmoors Lodge January 2011

The valuer visiting Holcotmoors Lodge found it, not surprisingly, owned by the owner of Holcotmoors Farm, Charles Ernest Throssell [DV1/A7/2 and 2a]. The building was divided into two separate dwellings. The dwelling to the west was occupied by A. Richardson whilst that to the east was in the occupation of W. Cox. Both had identical accommodation: a living room, kitchen and scullery and a pantry downstairs with three bedrooms above ("all sloping"). A brick and slated earth closet and barn stood outside each.

The valuer noted: "Water from spring filtered to tank". He also commented: "Cottages isolated" but overall he thought them: "very fair".

Directories for Bedfordshire, which were not published annually but every few years, give the names of the tenants of Holcotmoors Farm from 1869 to 1931and the following names are taken from these directories with some dates added from another source [BML10/32/1]. The dates are the dates the name first and last appears not the dates of residence:

1869: James Ashwell;
1877-1890: Charles Goosey;
1903-1906: Miss B. Chernock Smith;
1909: Charles Denton;
1909-1919: Samuel Charles Denton;
1919-1931: Charles Ernest Frossell.

Holcotmoors Farm January 2008
Holcotmoors Farm January 2008