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Lynch Farm Kensworth

Lynch Lodge in 1944 [BML10/38/11]
Lynch Lodge in 1944 [BML10/38/11]

Lynch Lodge was listed by the former Ministry of Public Buildings and Works in February 1967 as Grade II, of special interest. It dates from the early 18th century, although altered in the 19th century. The façade dates from this latter century and is constructed of colourwashed roughcast with detailing in stucco. The remainder of the house is built of colourwashed brick and comprises two storeys beneath an old clay tiled roof at the rear and Welsh slates at the front. Maps note that the grounds contain the source of the River Ver which runs through Saint Albans [Hertfordshire]. In the 19th and early 20th centuries it formed the farmhouse of Lynch Farm.

Lynch Farm Cottage was listed by the former Ministry of Public Buildings and Works in February 1967 as Grade II, of special interest. It dates from the 17th century and is built from brick, though on the first storey the brick is nogging (i.e. infill) between a timber frame. The house comprises two storeys beneath an old clay tiled roof. It was previously divided into two cottages for farm workers.

In 1896 the Kensworth Estate was put up for sale by the executors of Francis Hamilton, deceased. The sale particulars [P34/28/3] note that the Lynch Farm had been in Hamilton’s occupation. The farmhouse, that is, Lynch Lodge, was described thus: “The superior farmhouse stands back from the road, with large walled-in lawn with carriage drive and sweep in front, and is a well-built red-brick and tiled erection, with portico at entrance”. It contained: basement store, beer and wine cellars; an entrance hall and passages; an office measuring 20 feet by 11 feet 6 inches with a lavatory (in the sense of a place to wash); a breakfast room measuring 14 feet by 13 feet 6 inches; a dining room measuring 20 feet square; a drawing room measuring 19 feet by 17 feet; a kitchen with dresser and cupboards; a scullery with copper (for heating water), sink and cistern; a pantry; a larder; a dairy; a back hall; four bedrooms; a nursery and dressing room; a box room; a lavatory and W. C.; a housemaid’s sink and three bedrooms on the second floor.

A brick and slate coal house and carpenter’s shop stood outside. “The Extensive Lawns and Shrubberies in Front of the House are studded with Timber and are finely adapted for laying out in Flower Gardens and Pleasure Grounds, which would greatly enhance the beauty of the place, and could be done at a very small outlay. The Kitchen Garden is completely walled in, well kept, and well stocked with wall, standard and other fruit trees. There is a Brick and Tiled Tool shed and Storehouse adjoining the Lawn”.

The farm premises “are substantially built and approached and intersected by Good Hard Roadways from the public and private roads”. They comprised: a brick and tiled four stall nag stable; a harness room; a lock-up coachhouse with a loft over with a second coachhouse at the end; a range of brick and slate cart horse stabling with eleven standings, a large chaff house and forage store at the end; brick, timber and tiled stabling “now converted into Cow Houses, and comprising 4 stalls and 2 loose places with Lofts over. In front of the Stables are Two Walled-in Yards, with Timber and Slated 3-bay Cattle Shed and Fowl House in one, and 2-bay Open Shed in the other, with Enclosures to form a third small yard if desired. Also opening to the Yards is a range of modern brick and tiled Piggeries, forming 10 Styes, with feeding passage from Mixing House, and patent troughs. Adjoining the Piggeries is a slated Mixing and Boiling House, fitted with Cisterns and Copper, with Granary over. On the other side of the Cartway is a large timber and tiled Corn Barn on brick foundations, with plank Corn Floor, Asphalte ditto, 2 Corn Bays, and 2 Lofts. Adjoining is a brick, timber, slated and partly tiled Steam Corn Mill” this contained a mill house with two pairs of mill-stones with storage and hopper over, a dressing floor, a lean-to granary with three bins, an engine house with a horizontal fixed engine and an implement shed, well, pumps and well house.

“Adjoining the main Homestead is an enclosed well-sheltered Sheep Yard, with a 7-bay brick, timber and slated Shed, and a large brick, flint, timber and slated Corn Barn with Asphalte Dressing Floor and 6 Bays. At the end are 2 Cottage Barns, Privy &c. with Loft over. Adjacent to the Buildings is a convenient good-sized Rickyard. At the Entrance to the Homestead are two Brick, half-Timbered and Tiled Cottages (i.e. today’s Lynch Farm Cottage), one occupied by the Foreman (Thomas Lovett) and the other at present vacant. The Foreman’s house contains: Living Room, Pantry, bakehouse (with Oven and Sink), Kitchen (with Copper), and 5 Bedrooms. The 2nd Cottage contains: Living Room, Washhouse and 3 Bedrooms. They have Gardens in front, and each has a Barn and 1 Privy”.

The farm comprised 347 acres, 2 roods, 15 poles. The main fields were as follows:

  • Cut Hedges – 35 acres, 37 poles of arable;
  • Bonners – 18 acres, 3 roods, 19 poles of arable;
  • Street Field – 22 acres, 3 roods, 22 poles of arable;
  • Beggars Path – 33 acres, 24 poles of arable;
  • Simon’s Field – 6 acres, 3 roods of arable;
  • Sainfoin Field – 6 acres, 4 poles of arable;
  • House Hill Common – 19 acres, 1 rood of arable;
  • Penham Dells – 30 acres, 3 roods, 2 poles of arable;
  • Lodge Field – 27 acres, 1 rood 29 poles of arable;
  • Home Meadow – 10 acres, 1 rood, 12 poles of pasture;
  • Birchmore Meadow – 8 acres, 3 roods, 12 poles of pasture;
  • The Common – 113 acres, 1 rood, 29 poles of arable.

The estate was bought by Dunstable brewer Benjamin Bennett. In 1913 E Lee gave up the tenancy of the farm and was replaced by Thomas George Barnard [BML10/38/4 i]. 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 Lynch Farm [DV1/H25/24] did so on the morning of 16th August 1926. He found that the farm was owned by the trustees of Benjamin Bennett, deceased and still tenanted by Thomas George Barnard whose rent had just gone up from £228 set in 1913 to £268 per annum, for 200 acres, a significant reduction from 1896. The valuer commented: “Water from well, drainage by septic tank”. Another hand commented: “Nice Farm, no waste. Good Grass, fair Arable”.

The farmhouse, Lynch Lodge, (brick, stucco, stud and tile) contained two reception rooms, a kitchen, a scullery, a pantry and a cellar. The floor above comprised four bedrooms, a bathroom, a W. C. and a boxroom. A brick and tiled barn and a brick and corrugated iron earth closet stood outside.

Lynch Farm in 1926 [DV2/F34]
Lynch Farm in 1926 [DV2/F34]

The homestead contained two brick, timber and tiled trap houses and two small loose boxes. The other buildings were grouped into five blocks as follows:

  • A: a timber and corrugated iron barn; a timber and slate hen house; a five bay open hovel; a brick, timber and tile four bay hovel and a timber, corrugated iron and thatched five bay hovel;
  • B: a large timber and corrugated iron feeding hovel; a coaling house; a brick, timber and corrugated iron cowhouse for twenty and a timber and corrugated iron eight bay open hovel;
  • C: a large brick, timber and tile barn, mixing house and chaffhouse with shafting and a mill; a brick and slate engine with a “National” Gas engine and a pump to a well;
  • D: a brick, timber and slate mixing house with a loft, nine brick and timber pigsties, a timber and corrugated iron five bay open feeding hovel and a three bay feeding hovel;
  • E: three brick, timber and corrugated iron loose boxes with a loft over; a brick and slate stable for eleven horses and a chaff barn.

The two workers’ cottages which today comprise Lynch Farm Cottage were then occupied by E. Bates and A. Batchelor [DV1/C114/56-57]. They each occupied a reception room and a scullery downstairs with two bedrooms above. Each had a brick and slate earth closet outside. The valuer remarked “Pretty”.

Lynch Farm Cottage about 1900 [Z883/5]
Lynch Farm Cottage about 1900 [Z883/5]

In November 1943 the Kensworth Estate, of which the lodge now formed part, was put up for sale by auction by the trustees of the late Benjamin Bennett. The sale catalogue [BML10/38/11] noted that Lynch Lodge itself contained a hall, two sitting rooms, four bedrooms, a box room, a bathroom with bath and wash basin, a W. C., a kitchen “with Triplex grate”, a scullery, a dairy, a pantry, a cellar and two attics. “The water supply is pumped from a Well to storage tanks in the roof of the Barn and thence to the House, buildings and cottages. There is a charming pleasure garden with large lawn, shrubberies and shady trees, and an excellent walled-in kitchen garden”.

A range of buildings adjacent to the house contained nag stables for two, two coachhouses, a workshop and a wood shed. The farm buildings comprised four and five bay implement sheds, a barn, a four bay hovel, a cattle shed for three beasts, a cart stable for twelve horses, two loose boxes, a small yard with a three bay hovel, three pigsties and a mixing house with a loft over. There were also “two warm cattle yards” with two calf pens, a mixing room, a cooling house, a modern cow house for twenty with galvanised iron tubular fittings and water bowls, a bull box, two hovels each of four bays and a large implement shed with another four bay hovel.

The farmland stretched to 213.175 acres and comprised 156.474 acres of arable, 50.611 acres of pasture, 2.83 acres of woodland, a paddock of 0.574 of an acre with the remainder taken up by buildings. The tenant was T. G. Barnard, whose rent was £170 per annum.

Lynch Farm Cottage March 2012
Lynch Farm Cottage March 2012