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Studham Vicarages

The Vicarage about 1920 [Z1306/117]
The Vicarage about 1920 [Z1306/117]

In a return he made for the episcopal visitation of 1717 the vicar, John Clerke, noted: "No Vicarage-House, neither has been for the time of two or three of my Predecessors, so I reside at my other Parish [Whipsnade] a little Mile distant. Clerke's assertion is backed up by the fact that there is no mention of a parsonage for Studham in any early 17th century terriers held by the Diocese of Lincoln which previous archivists from Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service have consulted.

It must, therefore, be assumed that the Old Vicarage in Valley Road was the first one in the parish since at least 1600. The parish archive for Studham has records of various sums to go towards the building of the Vicarage - a grant of £600 in 1881 [P86/2/1/6], a grant of £300 in 1884 [P86/2/1/7 and 10], a grant of £100 in 1892 [P86/2/1/8] and a grant of £250 in 1892 [P86/2/1/9]. Presumably, therefore, the house was built in the early 1890s.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every piece of land and building in the country was to be assessed to determine the rates to be paid on it. Studham was assessed at the end of 1926 and the valuer visiting The Vicarage [DV1/C21/104] noted that it stood in just under two acres and was built of brick and tile and comprised a small porch with a hall, with stairs up, measuring 7 feet by 12 feet leading from it. Also downstairs were a drawing room measuring 16 feet 6 inches by 15 feet with a bay window measuring 3 feet by 8 feet, a study measuring 11 feet 6 inches by 13 feet, a dining room measuring 15 feet by 19 feet, a kitchen measuring 11 feet 3 inches by 14 feet, a scullery, larder and pantry.

Upstairs were bedrooms measuring 17 feet by 15 feet and 15 feet by 19 feet, dressing rooms measuring 11 feet 6 inches by 13 feet and 9 feet 6 inches by 11 feet, a single servant's bedroom, a bathroom and W. C. Outside stood two earth closets and a coal shed. There was also a brick and tile range containing a two stall stable ("used for lumber"), a harness room and a garage for one car ("was coach house"). The grounds contained a tennis court and a kitchen garden.

The valuer noted: "Water pumped by hand. Drinking water has to be fetched from well by church; cesspool drainage". He commented: "An adequate and suitable Rectory [sic] but unattractive".

Diocesan Yearbooks show that when John William Shepherd succeeded Norman Abram in 1977 the Vicarage moved from Valley Road to 9 Common Road. It seems reasonable to assume that the Valley Road property was sold at around this date, as it is now a private house. Since 1982, when the incumbent of Kensworth has also been Vicar of Studham, the parsonage has been in Kensworth.

The Old Vicarage at Studham November 2009
The Old Vicarage at Studham November 2009