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Butt Close Husborne Crawley

Butt Close shown in green
Butt Close 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 Butt Close [CRT130HusborneCrawley2] revealed that in 1760 [R1/42] the ground was occupied by the greater part of thirty two strips known as Butt Furlong in Sand Field, all of Little Furlong, nine strips in Windmill Hill Furlong and two sections of common field, one of which contained the line of the old road to Ridgmont which only attained its current straight form at inclosure in 1799 [MA75].

Inclosure saw today's field awarded in nine strips to eight different owners: the Duke of Bedford; Robert Irons; William Ruteley; Sarah Turvey; John Pain; Thomas Bateman the younger; Thomas Bateman the elder and John Brotherton. However, before the award was written later that year the Duke had bought out all the other seven holders and the land became known as Furlong Close. This still left most of the eastern part as a sandpit for use of the Husborne Crawley Surveyors of the Highways. This pit had become disused by 1820 [R1/43] and had been amalgamated with the other field as Butt Furlong

Cropping books forming part of the estate archive of the Duke of Bedford [R4/209, 215, 223 and 229] show that Butt Furlong contained 14 acres, 3 roods, 15 poles and was cropped as follows:

  • 1866: clover;
  • 1867: wheat;
  • 1868: fallow;
  • 1869: barley;
  • 1870: clover;
  • 1871: wheat;
  • 1872: fallow.

In 1872 Butt Furlong had a portion detached as Furlong Close [R1/229] which was divided up into allotments. This reduced Butt Furlong to 7 acres, 1 rood, 9 poles. It was cropped as follows:

  • 1873: barley;
  • 1874: clover;
  • 1875: wheat;
  • 1876: fallow;
  • 1877: oats;
  • 1878: fallow;
  • 1879: half wheat and half barley;
  • 1880: peas;
  • 1881: barley;
  • 1882: tares and cabbage;
  • 1883: wheat;
  • 1884: fallow.

By 1885 the size of the field had changed to 8 acres, 2 roods, 37 poles. Cropping was then as follows:

  • 1885: barley;
  • 1886: clover;
  • 1887: experimental use and wheat;
  • 1888: experimental use and roots;
  • 1889: barley;
  • 1890: clover;
  • 1891: wheat;
  • 1892: roots;
  • 1893: oats;
  • 1894: roots;
  • 1895: oats;
  • 1896: wheat.

By 1897 the size of the field had changed to 8 acres, 2 roods, 19 poles. Cropping was now as follows:

  • 1897: wheat and barley in the ratio of 7:2;
  • 1898: clover;
  • 1899: oats;
  • 1900: roots;
  • 1901: barley;
  • 1902: beans, potatoes, clover and fallow in the ratio 3:2:4;
  • 1903: wheat and clover in the ratio 4:3;
  • 1904: experimental use and barley in the ratio 1:7;
  • 1905: experimental use;
  • 1906: experimental use, wheat and clover in the ratio 1:6½:2;
  • 1907: experimental use, roots and potatoes in the ratio 1:5:3½;
  • 1908: experimental use and wheat;
  • 1909: experimental use, wheat and roots in the ratio 1:5:3½ .