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Mill Hill Cottage Keysoe

Mill Hill Cottage March 2016
Mill Hill Cottage March 2016

Mill Hill Cottage was listed by the former Department of Environment in August 1983 as Grade II, of special interest. It dates from the 18th century and is timber-framed, with colour-washed brick infill, and has a thatched roof. It comprises one storey and attics and has a one storey addition to the south-east gable end.

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/C213/24] found that it was an off-licence, owned by Charles Wells Limited of Bedford and tenanted by Arthur Stapleton, whose rent was £6 per annum.

The premises comprised parlour, two living rooms and a kitchen with three bedrooms upstairs, one over the shop, which was in one of the living rooms and measured 17 feet by 13 feet. A wood and corrugated iron store barn and loose box stood outside.

Trade was two dozen bottles of beer per week. There was also a “small tobacco trade”. Of the premises, the valuer commented: “Very small”.

Sharnbrook Petty Sessional Division licensing registers reveal that the off-licence never had a name or sign. Previous licensee was Frank Richard Gudgin between 1918 and 1920 [PSS3/3]. His predecessor was Joseph Cook who was licensee about 1903 [PSS3/1]. At that date the owner was James Stuart of Swineshead. Cook’s predecessor was Elijah Woolston, who is listed in the countywide licensing register for 1891. He is listed in directories as a shopkeeper in Mill Hill as early as 1885 and as late as 1898.