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Rowes Cottages Little Barford

Rowe's Cottages in 1975 [Z128/7]
Rowe's Cottages in 1975 [Z128/7]

Rowe’s Cottages lay on the main road through the village between The New Manor House and the Rectory, on the same side of the road as the latter. The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] contains information on the county’s historic buildings and landscapes and summaries of each entry can now be found online as part of the Heritage Gateway website. The entry for Rowe’s Cottages [HER 1709] noted that thetimber framed, structure was probably built in the 16th century. It is a "Wealden" type structure and is discussed in depth in an article in Volume 12 of Bedfordshire Archaeological Journal. The house was associated with the dramatist and poet Nicholas Rowe, (1674-1718), but there is no evidence to link him with the house and the name was probably a corruption of the fact that it was originally part of a row.

The position of Rowe's Cottages in 1901
The position of Rowe's Cottages in 1901

By 1974 the building was in a very poor state as many of the structural elements had rotted [CA15/80]. Permission was, at one stage, given to demolish the house [BorB/TP/74/1182] but was instead dismantled and rebuilt in Glatton, [Cambridgeshire] in 1977. It is now called Poet’s House and lies at 14 High Haden Road. The house was listed by the former Department of Environment in July 1976 as Grade II, of special interest. The department dated the structure to the late 15th or early 16th century, noting that is was altered in the late 16th century. It has a timber-framed construction and, when moved to Glatton was reconstructed to its original Wealden form with plastered infill and standing on a brick plinth. It has a thatched roof with a ridge stack to the right of centre and comprises two storeys with an attic and a restored open hall. The late 16th century alterations made it a continuous jettied house by the insertion of a floor and a first floor wall to the hall and these features were discarded in the reconstruction around 1980.

Rowe's Cottages in 1975 [Z218/8]
Rowe's Cottages in 1975 [Z218/8]

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. Most of Bedfordshire was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting Rowe’s Cottages [DV1/C257/16-17] found them owned by Lord of the Manor Charles Edmund Argentine Alington. One of the semi-detached pair was occupied by G. C. Jordan who paid three shillings per week in rent for a living room, kitchen and three bedrooms. A barn stood outside. He shared a washhouse with A. Barnes who occupied the other property and whose accommodation comprised a living room, kitchen and one bedroom for which he paid no rent; he had a separate barn. The valuer commented: “1st floor overhangs” – in other words the continuous jettied appearance removed about 1980.

The rear of Rowe's Cottages in 1975 [Z128/13]
The rear of Rowe's Cottages in 1975 [Z128/13]