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Manor Farm, Knotting

Manor Farm April 2015
Manor Farm April 2015

Manor Farmhouse was listed by the former Ministry of Works in May 1952 as Grade II, of special interest. It dates from the 18th century, with 19th century additions. It comprises two storeys and forms an L-shape with the older part to the north-east, assumed to belong to 1774 when the Duke of Bedford bought the Manor of Knotting. Today’s main block is mid-19th century

In 1882 the Duke sold his estate at Knotting to Charles Magniac of Sharnbrook [X547/24], Knotting Manor Farm was then in occupation of Thomas Thorpe Hine and comprised 492 acres, 1 rood, 26 poles. Magniac went bankrupt in 1894 and it was purchased by Samuel Howard Whitbread of Southill Park [X547/41], acreage was then 494.712. Samuel Whitbread then sold the estate to Albert Edward Bowen of Colworth Park in 1917 [X547/49].

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 farm [DV1/H17/2] found that it was owned and occupied by Albert Job Campion, who had presumably bought it from the estate. The farm comprised 470 acres in Bedfordshire and included ten cottages in the village. Sporting rights (i.e. hunting, shooting and fishing) were let to T H Saxby of Irchester [Northamptonshire]. The valuer noted that the farm also had two hundred acres in Northamptonshire. He commented: “Water fairly good. Buildings fairly ample but in very bad repair. There is a new range of buildings in Field No. 15 which are good”. A colleague added: “Know it well. Part in Northamptonshire. Grass round home[stead] good. Some grass very bad. Bad shape, absence of roads. Nice house and homestead”.

The farmhouse contained two reception rooms, a kitchen and scullery with five bedrooms, a bathroom and WC above and three attics on the third floor. Outside was a detached washhouse; water was pumped to a cistern for the WC and bath.

The homestead included the following:

  • a range of brick and slate buildings adjoining the house including a harness room, two coachhouses, a nag stable for two, two loose boxes and a two-stall stable with a loft over;
  • a north-west range comprising: a brick and stone loose box and stable for ten horses; a wood and tiled chaffhouse and two loose boxes; wood and tiled shelter (“very old”); wooden three-bay open shed; wooden cowhouse for fourteen with a calf pen and mixing room (brick floor “good fittings”); brick and slate eight-bay implement shed opening onto the road;
  • a south-east range comprising: wood and felt barn and small implement shed; wood and tiled range and three loose boxes; brick and slate five-bay hovel; wood and tiled barn
  • a south-west range comprising a brick and slated cowhouse for five and a feeding box; two brick and tiled pigsties; two carpenters’ shops next to a garden and a range of wooden poultry houses;
  • new range in a field comprising: four wood and slate loose boxes; a ten-bay open shed.

In 1937 the farm was again for sale. The particulars [PK2/2/465] show that the farm now comprised 424.923 acres of arable and 248.082 acres of pasture which, with 6.324 acres of buildings added up to 679.329 acres spread over Knotting and the Northamptonshire parishes of Rushden and Higham Park. The farm included ten cottages, five them around the old school buildings which were still there, two more on an adjacent site and three of them near the Methodist chapel.

The farm was evidently bought by Halebros Farms and Factors Limited of Walsall [Staffordshire]. In 1939 this company applied for planning permission to erect farm buildings [RDBP3/182]. Despite being one of the least populated parts of the county Knotting received the attention of the Luftwaffe. On 29th June 1941 seven high explosive bombs, one of which failed to explode, were dropped at and near Manor Farm [WW2/AR/CO/2/3]. Presumably they were aiming at Rushden or Thurleigh or simply ditching their load before returning home.

In 1975 planning permission was sought to add bay windows to the farmhouse [BorBTP/75/81].