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198 High Street Odell

198 High Street May 2008
198 High Street May 2008

Like most of the parish 198 High Street, in Little Odell, formed part of the Odell Castle Estate until its sale in 1934. This means that evidence of the property's history from deeds before that date does not exist as there had been no need for them. It was listed by the former Department of Environment which described it as dating to the late 17th or early 18th century, though since altered. Like most of the older properties in the area it is constructed of coursed limestone rubble, though it has rendered front and east elevations. The house is thatched and has two storeys.

In 1927 Odell was valued under the terms of the Rating and Valuation Act 1925; every piece of land and building in the country was assessed to determine the rates to be paid on it. The valuer visiting 198 High Street [DV1/H18/2] noted that it was then part of a farm which he termed Little Odell Farm. The farm is described as Southlands Farm in the 1934 sale catalogue [see below]. The farm was occupied by Rhoda Saunders who paid £360 per annum rent, a sum fixed in 1913. The farm was estimated at 301 acres of "Mostly heavy land, gravel near the river, situated on main road".

The farmhouse was described as stone and thatch and comprising a dining room, drawing room, breakfast room and kitchen downstairs with three bedrooms above and three attics on the second floor. Outside stood an earth closet and barn. The valuer remarked: "fair house wants thatching water pumped from well, good supply".

The homestead buildings were listed thus:

  • east: a root house; a cow shed for eleven beasts;
  • north: a chaff barn; a three bay open shed; a corn barn; a stable for seven horses; a coal place; a nag stable for four horses; a hen house;
  • west: three pig sties; a four bay open hovel; two calf pens; a wood barn;
  • rickyard: a five bay open cart shed; an implement shed; a barn; two open sheds;
  • in fields: a zinc and wood barn and two calf places; a zinc and stone barn; a stone and thatch barn

The valuer remarked: "The buildings are in a disgraceful state, mostly stone and thatch, roofs and doors all falling down, water from same well as house"

AD1147-19 - Southlands Farm in pink and numbered 42 - 1934
Southlands Farm land shown in pink and numbered 42 inthe 1934 sale plan [AD1147/19] - to see a larger version click on the image

The Odell Castle Estate was put up for sale in 1934 and the sale catalogue [AD1147/19] described Southlands Farmhouse thus:  "…Stone Built and Thatched, is situated on the Main Road and contains the following accommodation, Hall, Dining Room, Drawing Room, Breakfast Room, Tiled Roofed Kitchen fitted with copper and bread oven, open hearth and sink, Cellar-Dairy and Store, Three Bedrooms on the First Floor and Three Attic Bedrooms. Adjoining is a Timber and Tiled Lean-to Cooling Place".

The catalogue also notes two cottages (one condemned) [that remaining now being 207 High Street] as part of the farm as well as two sets of farm buildings, arable and pasture land the whole extending to an area of about 279 acres. The farm was then let to Lawrence Sanders at a rent of £308/16/6 per annum.

Directories reveal the following occupiers of Southland or Little Odell Farm (dates being those in which they appear in directories, not necessarily indicative of either the date they began or ended their tenancy):

  • 1847: John Bonfield;
  • 1890-1894: Arthur William Sanders;
  • 1903-1928: Rhoda Sanders;
  • 1931-1940: Lawrence Sanders

The purchaser of Southlands Farm is not recorded on the sale particulars. In 1986 Higham Park Farms, owned by the Ibbett family and comprising 1,050 acres in ten lots in Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire was put up for sale by auction. Lot 4 was Southlands Farm which then consisted of 104 acres of arable land but no farmhouse, 198 High Street had evidently been split off from the rest of the farm by that date. The sale particulars note that the lot was withdrawn [PY/E17/195].