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Biggin Farm - 126 Station Road Tempsford

126 Station Road February 2016
126 Station Road February 2016

Biggin Farm is a pleasant old farmhouse listed by English Heritage in November 1986 as Grade II, of special interest. It is thought to date from the 17th century and partly from the 18th century, and was extended in the 19th century. The front block is timber-framed with colour-washed roughcast render. It was partly rebuilt later and partly encased in red brick. The block to the rear runs parallel, is also built of red brick and is later. The property has clay tiled roofs and comprises two storeys.

The property has a dovecote which was listed separately, also as Grade II. It, too, is thought to be 17th century and is timber-framed with red brick infill and a clay tiled roof.

In 1810 the Tempsford Estate was was valued [BS1486]. The farm was then in occupation of Charles Wood, who also owned property in Station Road (numbers 63 and 65). His rent was £264 per annum for 220 acres. The valuer noted that some of the land was “very good corn land. Some gets overflowed but the drain has been widened and is now inspected by a man. Biggin Field is a coarse, rough pasture of little use to the tenant at the present date, suggests permitting the tenant to plough it up, clean it and keep it in tillage for a few years to improve it”. When the estate was surveyed in 1829 [X1/41 and WY1036/12] Woods was till the tenant, but his name is crossed out and replaced by the name Selby, presumably his successor as tenant.

In 1889 the farmhouse was put up for sale by auction [Z1578/Blun/1/13-14] and described as: “Biggin Farm, Lampits or Langford End, Tempsford: a detached farmhouse of brick, plaster, stucco and tile with three living rooms and four bedrooms; small homestead  - timber and thatched stable with staircase and two upper rooms, brick and slate lean-to, timber and thatched cow hovel, pigsty, henhouse and closet, poultry yard, pump and well, paddock orchard and two enclosures of pasture – total 12 acres, 2 roods 36 poles; in occupation of Jacob Gosling at £45 per annum; bounded: E, W and part S by estate of Colonel Stuart, part S by property of W G C Mitchell; N by road”.

The 1901 census gives James Cope, farmer, as occupier. Kelly’s Directory of 1910, however, lists him as James Thomas Cope, market gardener. Kelly’s for 1920 lists James Partridge, farm bailiff to Mark Jeeves as the occupier of Biggin Farm. 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 farm [DV1/H9/56] states that Mark Jeeves leased the farm from the Tempsford Estate at £25 per annum rent, which included one cottage as well as 217 acres. Evidently the farmhouse did not sell in 1889. The valuer noted, cryptically, “low rent as foreman’s wages”. He also noted: “House has been added to. Useful land north of road. One very good grass field”.

The farmhouse comprised three reception rooms, a kitchen, a scullery and a dairy with four bedrooms upstairs and three attics above them. Four of the rooms were let to the clerk at Tempsford Station. The homestead comprised: a brick and slate brewhouse; a brick and tiled stable for two horses with a loft over; a brick and tiled granary with a loft over; a brick, wood and tiled henhouse and coachhouse; a brick and slate two-bay open hovel; a brick and slate three-bay cart shed; a brick and slate barn; a brick and slate mixing place and two-bay shed; a brick and slate loose box and one-bay shed; four brick, wood and corrugated iron pigsties and three-bay open shed; a brick and slate two-bay open shed; two brick and slate loose boxes; two brick and slate cowhouses each for eight beasts; a brick and slate chaffhouse; a brick and slate stable for six; a brick and slate two-bay shed; a wood and corrugated iron three-bay implement shed and a two-bay brick and slate implement shed. Kelly’s Directory for 1931 and 1940 lists the occupier as Frank Gosling.

Farm buildings and 126 Station Road February 2016
Farm buildings and 126 Station Road February 2016