The Croft Steppingley
The Croft December 2016
The Croft was listed by English Heritage in May 1985 as Grade II, of special interest. It dates from the 17th century, though it has a 19th century addition. It is a timber-framed structure with red brick infill, stands on a plinth of coursed ironstone rubble and has a thatched roof. The cottage comprises one storey with attics. The 19th century section is at the right-hand end and has two storeys; it is built of red brick and has a slate roof.
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 cottage [DV1/C81/64] gave the address as 44 Peakes End. The owner, as with most of Steppingley, was the Duke of Bedford’s London and Devon Estates Limited. The tenant, Thomas Brightman, paid rent of thirty nine shillings per quarter. The property had a ground floor shop along with a living room. There was also a cellar and there were three bedrooms in the attics. Outside was a timber and thatched barn, cart shed and stable.
Thomas Brightman was listed in late 19th century directories as a higgler - a pedlar who had the benefit of a horse and cart. Thomas Brightman junior, presumably his son, is first listed as a shopkeeper in 1894 and is last listed in 1928 - directories were only published every few years rather than annually. The next directory, 1931, lists Robert Brightman as shopkeeper in Steppingley and he is also listed in 1936 and 1940, the latter directory being the last one ever published for the county as a whole.