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The Shefford Vicarages

15 High Street February 20089 The Hollies February 2008
First and Last - 15 High Street and 9 The Hollies in February 2008

In less than a hundred years Shefford has had no less than five vicarages and now [2008] does not have one at all. On creation of the living in 1903 no vicarage came "with the job" and the first incumbent lived at 15 High Street. He left in 1909 and the next two incumbents (1909-1920) lived at 11 Northbridge Street.

 11 Northbridge Street from the front January 2008
11 Northbridge Street January 2008

In 1927 the town was surveyed as part of the Rating 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 Northbridge Street [DV1/C290/117] noted that the property used to be The Vicarage, the tenant now being Mrs.H.Tingey and the owner the Shefford Feoffees. He discovered that the building comprised four reception rooms and a kitchen downstairs with five bedrooms and a boxroom above. He specifically noted "no bath". Outside were a barn and wash-house. He then jotted down a few notes as follows: "Tenant does all inside repairs"; "Poor place"; "Large"; "Teas supplied"; "Taxi for hire"; "Garage" and, ominously, "Liable to Flood".

 Old Vicarage January 2008
The Old Vicarage January 2008

When the fourth vicar, George Harold Strange, moved to the parish in 1920 he lived in Clifton Road before, in 1924, 2 Ampthill Road was purchased as the new Vicarage for £2,332 of which £700 was raised locally. By an odd coincidence this house is near the old school (then the parish hall) and in 1904 it had been the intention to purchase ground here on which to build a vicarage - as noted in Samuel Whitbread's correspondence on the creation of the parish. This scheme had, however, come to nought.

The valuer visiting The Vicarage in 1927 [DV1/C290/70] described it as a brick and tile, detached house standing in 0.679 acres. The building comprised two reception rooms, a study, kitchen, scullery and wc with five bedrooms, a study and bathroom with wc upstairs. Outside stood a brick and tile garage ["good"], a garden shed and hovel, a conservatory measuring 19 feet by 8 feet, a "bay at side" presumably meaning a bay window at the side of the house, a "nice" garden and a wash-house. The valuer summed the property up: "v.nice"

The Ampthill Road Vicarage was sold in 1985 and the incumbent, Alan C.Taylor, moved to a new Vicarage at 9 the Hollies until 2002 when Rev.Denis R.Smith resigned and a vacancy of something like two years ensued. When the new vicar arrived in 2004 Shefford became a united benefice with Meppershall and the incumbent went to live in The Rectory in the latter parish.