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The Owls Nest Kempston Rural

The Owl's Nest March 2012
The Owl's Nest March 2012

The Owl’s Nest, like adjoining Orchardside, was listed by English Heritage in August 1987 as Grade II, of special interest. The cottage is 18th or early 19th century and is timber-framed with a whitewashed brick façade. The south-west gable end is weatherboarded and the rear of the property is rendered in colourwashed roughcast. The cottage comorises a single storey beneath a steeply pitched thatched roof. It has a spectacular porch which English Heritage described as “heavily rusticated” – comprising a number of heavy wooden beams in a complex pattern.

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 the cottage [DV1/C2/147] found that it was owned by Alfred Anthony Chibnall, who also owned, and lived in, Orchardside next door. The tenant was Joseph Brookes whose rent was two shillings per week, a value set in 1916.

Accommodation in the cottage, described by the valuer as a bungalow, comprised a sitting room, a kitchen and three bedrooms. A barn and an earth closet both stood outside. The valuer commented: “Water from pump 20 yards away” and “Very old cottage indeed, part was a barn”. Another hand has commented: “Don’t like it”.

Owl’s Nest and Orchardside were both put up for sale by auction in 1929. The sale particulars [PK1/4/69] read as follows:

A PICTURESQUE BUNGALOW
Built of Brick, Timber and Thatch
AND CONTAINING
Entrance Porch, Living Room with register grate and cupboards, Scullery with sink, copper and range, Larder fitted with shelves, 3 Bedrooms, all with register grates, Outside Brick and Tile Barn and Brick and Slate Lavatory. There is a pretty Flower Garden, also A PADDOCK OF OLD PASTURE with fruit trees.