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Shillington Vicarages

The Old Vicarage April 2015
The Old Vicarage  April 2015

The earliest reference to a vicarage in Shillington is in a terrier of church property of 1607 [ABE I]. This building comprised three bays, two of them with lofts over. There was an adjoining lean-to.

In 1708 [ABE II Volume 1 page 145] the paronage was reported to be made of clay with a tiled roof. There were three rooms downstairs (presumably referring to the three bays of 1607) – a kitchen with a boarded floor, a hall with a brick floor and a parlour with an oak floor. There were three rooms upstairs. Outside stood a little barn of one bay "or more" made of clay and thatched. In 1712 the vicar stated that he lived in Clifton because the parsonage was too small for his family. By 1720 he was living in London and his curate resided at Upper Stondon.

The property today known as the Old Vicarage was listed by the former Department of Environment in July 1975 as Grade II, of special interest. It dates from the early 19th century and there seems no reason to doubt that it was built on or near the site of the preceding parsonage. It is constructed of yellow brick with slate roofs and has a rough L-shape with two storeys. An inventory of furniture conducted in 1870 [P44/25/2] lists the following rooms: dining room; drawing room; hall; workroom; birch room; school room; south-east bedroom adjoining the school room; north dressing room; south-west bedroom and small dressing room; north-west bedroom ("Bell Room"); north-west room ("Violet Room"); large attic; south-east attic; south-west attic; kitchen and box room. The school room may indicate any of the following: it was a room where the vicar's own young children were educated; it served as a school room for paying private pupils taken by the vicar; it had served as a school room prior to building the National School in the village in 1856.

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 vicarage [DV1/C74/102] found that it stood in 1.576 acres. It comprised: a passage way measuring 38 feet by 7 feet; a drawing room measuring 17 feet by 14 feet; a dining room measuring 16 feet by 14 feet; a WC; a kitchen measuring 18 feet by 12 feet; a large scullery; a parish room measuring 15 feet by 20 feet (presumably the old school room); a larder; a pantry and a study measuring 16 feet by 12 feet. Upstairs were: a tank room; a servants' bedroom;  double bedroom over the parish room measuring 14 feet 6 inches by 19 feet ("very dark"); a passage way; a study over the study measuring 12 feet 6 inches by 10 feet 6 inches; a double bedroom over the drawing room measuring 14 feet 6 inches by 16 feet; a double bedroom over the dining room measuring 14 feet by 16 feet and a dressing room ("very small"). Outside stood a stable and coachhouse used as a store, a coal house, an earth closet, a store place ("was stable") and a kitchen garden. The valuer commented: "grounds poor".

In 1977 planning permission was sought for a new vicarage [PL/P/MB77/448a]. On completion of 22 Vicarage Close the vicar moved in and the old vicarage was sold as a private house.