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Studhamhall Farmhouse

Studhamhall Farmhouse January 2010
Studhamhall Farmhouse January 2010

Studhamhall Farmhouse was listed by the former Department of Environment in September 1980 as Grade II, of special interest. The department dated the structure to the 16th century "or possibly earlier" although it is "externally much modernised". The house comprises a long range of two storeys and attics with an old clay tile roof and modern casements. The ground floor is constructed of brick and the jettied (i.e. overhanging) first floor of brick infilling a timber frame. The interior is largely timber-framed with many moulded beams, a "complex roof structure" and panelled rooms.

Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service has a map of the land comprising Hall, or Studhamhall Farm in 1809, when it was owned by a Mrs. Bayley [X303/1]. The notebook accompanying the map is also held at Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service, as part of the Brownlow archive [BW978].

Studhamhall Farm in 1809 [X303-1] Part 1 
Studhamhall Farm in 1809 [X303/1] Part 1

Studhamhall Farm in 1809 [X303-1] Part 2
Studhamhall Farm in 1809 [X303/1] Part 2

Studhamhall Farm in 1809 [X303-1] Part 3
Studhamhall Farm in 1809 [X303/1] Part 3

The map shows that the bulk of the land lay immediately south of the farmhouse, between Common Road and Hemel Hempstead Road and including Ravensdell Wood. A significant spur of land ran south-west along Hemel Hempstead Road through Hudnall Corner about as far as Fourways Farm in the Hertfordshire parish of Little Gaddesden. The map is large and, in copying, has been done in three separate sections which appear above. To see a larger version of each map please click on the relevant image.The reference book shows that the farmland was divided amongst one major and eight minor tenants, as shown below:

Thomas How: 265 acres, 28 poles [shown in yellow on the maps]

  • 1. Studhamhall Farmhouse, gardens, fold, yards, outbuildings etc.: 1 acre, 1 rood, 30 poles ["As a Farm House for the occupation of the Lands not worth more than £3"]
  • 2. Cook's Orchard: 2 roods, 15 poles;
  • 3. House and garden held by William Jordan: 10 poles;
  • 4. House and garden held by Thomas Cooke: 18 poles;
  • 5. Wicks Meadow: 5 acres, 2 roods, 28 poles;
  • 6. Upper Cherry Orchard, Dovehouse Orchard and Walk Meadow: 4 acres, 3 roods, 5 poles of pasture;
  • 7. PetittGarden: 1 rood, 20 poles;
  • 8. Lower Cherry Orchard: 1 acre, 3 roods, 36 poles of pasture;
  • 9. Little Hoo Field: 8 acres, 2 roods, 30 poles of oats;
  • 10. Great Hoo Field: 12 acres, 2 roods, 20 poles of corn;
  • 11. Hans Croft: 11 acres, 18 poles of turnips;
  • 12. Man's Grove Meadow: 7 acres, 3 roods, 38 poles of meadow;
  • 15. Neal's Hill: 11 acres, 3 roods, 38 poles of corn;
  • 16. Rose Wicks: 6 acres, 1 rood, 20 poles of oats;
  • 17. Six Acres Field: 5 acres, 2 roods, 10 poles of leys;
  • 18. Apple Ground: 2 acres, 1 rood 12 poles of meadow and 2 roods, 20 poles of rough;
  • 19. Cockerhills: 4 acres, 3 roods, 27 poles of leys;
  • 20. Little Orchard: 2 roods, 25 poles of pasture;
  • 22. Home Reddings: 11 acres, 30 poles of corn;
  • 24. Toby's Orchard: 1 acre, 1 rood, 13 poles of pasture;
  • 26. Toby's Field: 3 acres, 1 rood, 28 poles of oats;
  • 29. Ten Acre Close: 10 acres, 3 roods, 36 poles of corn;
  • 31. Raven's Dell Field: 14 acres, 3 poles of beans;
  • 33. Patch open to road: 1 rood, 12 poles of pasture ["should be inclosed"];
  • 34. Two Acres Field below Wood: 2 acres, 5 poles ["Open to Road"];
  • 35. Seven Acres Hill: 6 acres, 3 roods, 5 poles of fallow;
  • 36. Chalk Dell Field: 12 acres, 1 rood, 3 poles of oats;
  • 38. Upper Happs Lane Field: 3 acres, 1 rood, 12 poles of barley;
  • 39. Lower Happs Lane Field: 3 acres, 3 roods, 7 poles of barley;
  • 40. Five Acres Hill: 6 acres, 1 rood, 4 poles of wheat;
  • 41. Piece in Spithandles Field: 2 roods, 10 poles of wheat;
  • 42. Piece in Spithandles Field: 1 acre, 8 poles;
  • 43. Black Acre: 7 acres, 1 rood, 37 poles of fallow;
  • 44. Black Acre: 3 acres, 1 rood, 23 poles of fallow;
  • 45. Piece in Ferny Lince Common Field: 1 acre, 2 roods, 12 poles;
  • 46. Piece in Ferny Lince Common Field: 2 roods, 4 poles;
  • 47. Piece in Ferny Lince Common Field: 1 acre, 2 roods, 6 poles of clover;
  • 48. Piece in Ferny Lince Common Field: 1 rood, 20 poles;
  • 49. Great Ferney Piece: 10 acres, 2 roods, 10 poles of oats;
  • 50. Mill Barn Foldyard: 1 rood, 33 poles;
  • 51. Croft Above Foldyard: 3 roods, 6 poles ["This should be inclosed to No. 53"];
  • 52. Eight Acres Field: 7 acres, 2 roods, 20 poles of oats;
  • 53. Cutbutts: 7 acres, 36 poles of oats;
  • 54. Part of Fourteen Acres Field: 13 acres, 2 roods, 6 poles;
  • 55. Remainder of Fourteen Acres Field: 3 roods, 2 poles;
  • 56. Nine Acres Field: 9 acres, 2 roods, 36 poles of turnips;
  • 64. Three Acres Field below Pedley: 2 acres, 2 roods, 18 poles of peas;
  • 65. Four Acres Piece below Pedley: 4 acres, 1 rood, 17 poles of peas;
  • 66. Piece under hedges in Pedley Common Field: 3 acres, 18 poles;
  • 67. White Piece: 1 acre, 3 roods, 27 poles of arable;
  • 68. Goose Acre: 3 roods, 20 poles;
  • 69. Seven Acres Hill: 6 acres, 1 rood, 34 poles of fallow;
  • 70. Carting Piece: 1 acre, 1 rood, 24 poles of oats;
  • 71. Two Acres Piece below Pedley: 2 acres, 1 rood of peas;
  • 72. Lower Meadow: 3 acres, 3 roods, 22 poles of meadow;
  • 75. Barn Piece in Pedley Common: 3 acres, 23 poles of corn;
  • 76. Imprey Acre: 1 acre, 32 poles of corn;
  • 77. Headland Acre: 1 acre, 12 poles of corn;
  • 78. Headland Rood: 1 rood, 9 acres of corn;
  • 79. Half Acre Piece in Pedley Common: 1 rood, 37 poles;
  • 80. Half Acre Piece in Pedley Common: 2 roods, 38 poles;
  • 81. Half Acre Piece in Pedley Common: 2 roods, 20 poles [with 79 and 80 "if inclosed these Lands would be worth more"]

The holding was worth £313/1/9 per annum in rent and the surveyor commented: "A great part of this Farm lies well together and the House and Buildings are well situate for the Occupation thereof".

Woodlands, in hand: 48 acres, 1 rood [shown in green on the maps]

  • 13. Mans Grove Wood: 9 acres, 3 roods, 30 poles ["About 6 Years' growth"];
  • 14. Neal's Hill Spring: 1 acre, 1 rood, 13 poles ["Fell 5 years ago"];
  • 21. Elder Grove Wood: 4 acres, 3 roods, 26 poles ["Fell in 1808"];
  • 30. Raven's Dell Wood: 29 acres, 2 roods, 30 poles ["Fell at various times"];
  • 32. Raven's Dell Spring: 2 roods, 16 poles ["Fell last Winter"];
  • 37. Chalk Dell Spring: 1 acre, 3 roods, 15 poles ["Fell 2 years ago"].

The woods were worth £50/13/3 per annum. The surveyor commented: "The Underwood has usually been fallin [sic] at twelve years' growth and would continue in regular succession about 4 Acres Annually producing the above sum at the least".

Henry How: 30 acres, 2 roods, 15 poles [shown in light blue on the maps]

  • 82. Piece in Pedley Common Field: 1 acre, 1 rood, 15 poles of oats;
  • 83. Two Acres in Pedley Common Field: 1 acre, 3 roods, 8 poles of oats;
  • 84. Beech Acre in Pedley Common Field: 2 roods, 20 poles of oats;
  • 85. Piece under Impley: 1 rood, 2 poles of oats;
  • 86. Headland Piece under Impley: 1 rood, 26 poles of corn;
  • 87. Piece in Impley Common Field: 3 roods, 9 poles of arable;
  • 88. Long Piece in Impley Common Field: 2 acres, 20 poles of arable;
  • 89. Dell Piece in Impley Common Field: 2 acres, 18 poles of arable; and rough in Impley Common Field: 32 poles;
  • 90. Piece adjoining Dell Piece: 1 acre, 3 roods, 18 poles of arable;
  • 91. Headland Piece: 1 rood, 33 poles of arable;
  • 92. Piece adjoining Headland Piece: 3 roods, 35 poles of arable;
  • 96. Further Long Croft: 4 acres, 1 rood, 16 poles of arable;
  • 97. Middle Long Croft: 7 acres, 23 poles of arable;
  • 98. Homeward Long Croft: 6 acres, 20 poles of arable.

The holding was valued at £32/5/10 per annum. The surveyor commented: "These Lands are much dispersed and lying chiefly in the Common Fields".

John Garrett: 8 acres, 2 roods, 32 poles [shown in light grey on the maps]

  • 57. Piece in Scrivnal's Corn Field: 1 acre, 39 poles of corn;
  • 58. Piece in Scrivnal's Corn Field: 3 roods, 18 poles of corn;
  • 59. Piece in Hayden Common Field: 3 roods, 4 poles;
  • 60. Piece in Hayden Common Field: 2 roods, 16 poles;
  • 61. Piece in Hayden Common Field: 2 roods, 26 poles
  • 62. Piece in Hayden Common Field: 2 roods, 17 poles;
  • 63. Piece in Mason's White Croft: 3 roods, 35 poles;
  • 73. One third of a Meadow below Barn Piece: 1 rood, 12 poles;
  • 74. Croft: 1 rood, 13 poles;
  • 93. Near Meadow below Impey: 2 roods, 12 poles;
  • 94: One swathe and half in another Meadow below Impey: 7 poles;
  • 95. Further Meadow below Impey: 1 acre, 2 roods, 33 poles of meadow

The holding was valued at £12/10/7 per annum. The surveyor commented: "These Lands are dispersed and chiefly Common Field".

John Evans [shown in pink on the maps]

  • 23. House, Garden etc. 1 rood, 2 poles - valued at £3/3/- per annum ["brick and thatched in moderate order"]

Thomas Toby [shown in orange on the maps]

  • 25. House and Garden: 12 poles - valued at £2/10/- per annum ["Half timber and thatched"]

Mary Austin [shown in white on the maps]

  • 27. House, Garden etc.: 33 poles - valued at £2/10/- per annum;
  • 28. Orchard: 2 roods, 31 poles valued at £1/7/9 per annum

William Ambrose [shown in dark blue on the maps]

  • 99. House, Garden etc.: 20 poles - valued at £3/10/- per annum ["Half Timber and Thatched"]

Robert Glannester [shown in dark brown on the maps]

  • 100. Meadow: 3 roods, 8 poles - valued at £1/13/6 per annum

William Ing [not shown on the maps]

  • 101. House, Garden, Orchard etc.: 1 rood, 13 poles - valued at £3/5/- per annum ["Ordinary thatched House"].

In the 18th and 19th centuries many Bedfordshire parishes were inclosed. Studham was inclosed in 1846. However, as can be seen from the survey of Studhamhall Farm, the majority of the land had already been inclosed in handy sized fields by 1809, albeit with a fair number of small strips in larger common fields remaining.

Bedfordshire Historical Records Society published a series of surveys of ancient buildings in the 1930s, Volume II of which (1933) was of wells by J. Steele Elliott. He wrote the following of the well at Studhamhall Farm: "A donkey-wheel well at Hall Farm was dismantled about 1890; the brick-built well-house (probably of the XVIIIth century) is still standing, and within are oak bearings for the axle. Formerly a donkey but latterly two men together, worked it. The well is 284 feet deep; the bucket used to hold 8-10 gallons. One of the oldest inhabitants remembered the well being used, and had shared the labour of raising the water".

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 Studhamhall Farm [DV1/H23/44] noted that it was owned and occupied, like Manor, Hill and Clementsend Farm, by the trustees of the Ashridge Estate as "Last tenant bankrupt". Kelly's Directory for 1924 lists the farmer as Frederick Thomas; interestingly he is also listed in the directory for 1928. The rent since 1902 had been £155 per annum, then, in 1919 it was fixed at 27 shillings per acre, falling to 25 shillings an acre in about 1923. The farm had comprised 119 acres in 1914 and had gained an acre since then. Thus the rent in 1926 was £150 per annum. Sporting rights were let to a W. F. Tuke.

The valuer commented: "Water from deep well (plenty). House too big. Bad buildings. Agents want to let for £1 an acre, offered 15/- 1st April 1927". Another hand has written: "Poor Farm. Will serve more Acres Say 200. Rent of last Tenant very dear".

The farmhouse comprised two reception rooms, a kitchen, scullery, pantry, dairy and cellar downstairs with five bedrooms above and five attics above them. A brick and slate wash house and earth closet and a brick and tile barn and well house stood outside. The homestead comprised: a brick and tile  range comprising three loose boxes ("bad") and a cart shed used as a lumber shed; a brick and tile range comprising a shed, fowl house, four bay open fronted shed and storeroom; a brick and tile food store and stable for seven horses; a weather-boarded and tiled range comprising two loose boxes ("bad") and a cow shed for eight beasts ("bad"); a weather-boarded ten bay open fronted shed and a weather-boarded and slated granary.

In Bedfordshire Archaeological Journal Volume 14 of 1980 (page 76) J. M. Bailey noted that Studhamhall Farmhouse is a "Wealden hall house" and compared it to Charity Farmhouse, Edlesborough [Buckinghamshire]. Such houses were timber framed and have one or two bays (two in the case of Studhamhall) either side of a central hall, open to the roof with a hearth in the middle.

Directories reveal the following people living at the farm (directories were not annual, and so the dates should not be regarded as beginning and end dates): 

1890-1894: Henry Taylor;
1906-1914: William Noah [a sale of stock [BMl10/70/2] indicate that he gave up the farm in 1918];
1920-1928: Frederick Thomas;
1931: Reginald Frank Mason;
1940: Alan S. Butler