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Yew Tree House Oakley

Yew Tree House March 2011
Yew Tree House March 2011

Yew Tree House was listed by the former Department of Environment in August 1987 as Grade II, of special interest. The property is a Bedford Estate house dating from 1862. It is built of coursed limestone rubble with ashlar quoins and a clay tile roof with bracketed stone eaves. It comprises one storey and attics.

The Duke of Bedford purchased the Manor of Oakley Reynes in 1737 and with it much of the village. Later acquisitions meant that by 1900 the Dukes owned most of the parish. The Duke sold the most of the Oakley Estate at auction in October 1918 withdrawing three lots, including Oakley House and its immediate outbuildings, including Yew Tree House, as he sold them privately to his cousin the 2nd Baron Ampthill. Yew Tree House was included in the description of Oakley House in the sale particulars [AD1147/18]. It was then divided into two dwellings and was described simply as two cottages and gardens.

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. Oakley, like most of Bedfordshire was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting Yew Tree House [DV1/C107/74-75] found that it was still two separate dwellings, owned by Lord Ampthill. The western dwelling was occupied by E. Wildman who paid rent of £1/19/- per quarter, fixed in 1920, for a parlour and kitchen and two bedrooms upstairs. A barn and an earth closet stood outside and water came from a well. The valuer commented: “Very Nice” and “Very fine indeed, stone”.

Next door was in the occupation of William Britten. His rent was identical to Wildman’s and the valuer noted that he had paid 16/3 per quarter in 1898. The valuer commented that the accommodation was like Wildman’s “but vary as to rooms a little but on balance the same”.