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Broad Mead Husborne Crawley

Broad Mead shown in green
Broad Mead shown in green

In 1970 Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service staff carried out research on a number of fields belonging to Woburn Experimental Farm in Husborne Crawley. This seems to have been prompted by an enquiry from The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Plant Pathology Laboratory about Workhouse Field.

Research on Broad Mead [CRT130HusborneCrawley2] revealed that in 1760 [R1/42] the ground was occupied by the greater part of eighteen strips known as Midsummer Land, twelve strips known as Dry Mead Bushes and thirteen strips known as Blakelands Furlongs. When Husborne Crawley was inclosed in 1799 [MA75] the land formed part of the seventh allotment to the Duke of Bedford and by 1820 [R1/43] it had become a fully inclosed field in the form that it has today.

Cropping books forming part of the estate archive of the Duke of Bedford [R4/209, 215, 223 and 229] show that in 1866 the field comprised 16 acres, 1 rood, 20 poles. Between 1866 and 1909 it was either used for grazing or mown for hay as shown below:

  • 1866-1883: grazing;
  • 1884: hay;
  • 1885: grazing;
  • 1886-1887: hay;
  • 1888: grazing;
  • 1889: hay;
  • 1890-1891: grazing;
  • 1892: hay;
  • 1893: grazing;
  • 1894: hay;
  • 1895: grazing;
  • 1896-1901: hay;
  • 1902: grazing;
  • 1903: hay;
  • 1904: grazing;
  • 1905: hay;
  • 1906: grazing;
  • 1907-1908: hay;
  • 1909: grazing.