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Manor Farm Tilsworth

Tilsworth Manor Farm land in 1804
Tilsworth Manor Farm land in 1804

Virtually all of Tilsworth was owned by Tilsworth Manor until the 19th century. The manor house seems to have become the farm house for Manor Farm by at least the 18th century. In the Tilsworth Estate sale particulars of 1804 [AD534/4], Manor Farm was tenanted by Thomas Harris and comprised the manor house and a total of 174 acres 3 roods 35 perches of land. These were made up as follows:

  • Wickham Hill; 19 acres 3 roods 9 perches;
  • Stainbridge Gate; 25 acres 19 perches;
  • Shorn Hook or Dovington; 27 acres 2 roods;
  • Oven Piece; 16 acres 2 roods 25 perches;
  • Little Hill Close; 5 acres 2 roods 38 perches;
  • Great Hill Close; 8 acres 2 roods 2 perches;
  • Breach; 12 acres 3 roods 23 perches;
  • Valentine's Meadow; 3 acres 1 rood 16 perches;
  • another meadow; 3 acres 2 roods 29 perches;
  • Howis' Meadow; 3 acres 3 roods 23 perches;
  • West Meadow; 3 acres 3 roods 30 perches;
  • Long Lawn; 5 acres 33 perches;
  • Poor Folks' Close; 5 acres 2 roods 36 perches;
  • Flag Pond; 1 acre 1 rood 17 perches;
  • Wood Lawn; 4 acres 3 roods;
  • West Meadow; 10 acres;
  • warren [including Warren Knoll]; 9 acres 1 perch;
  • Thomas Harris; Tilsworth Manor; 7 acres 3 roods 24 perches

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 ordered every piece of land and building in the country to be assessed to determine the rates to be paid on it. Tilsworth was assessed in 1927 when the valuer visiting Manor Farm [DV1/H28/50] noted that the owner occupier was James Price (who also owned and farmed Bury Farm) and the farm comprised 252 acres.

The valuer listed the farm buildings as follows:

  • North Block: a brick, wood and corrugated iron stable for six; a chaff store part with a loft over; a barn; a cow house for eight; a calf box; a brick and tile four bay open feeding hovel; a brick, wood and corrugated iron corn barn; a brick and tile lean-to implement shed; a brick, wood and tile cow house for sixteen; two loose boxes; a dairy, with, at the side, a wood, brick and corrugated iron six bay open cart shed
  • North Yard: six brick, wood and tile loose boxes; a wood, brick and corrugated iron feeding hovel; a granary; a coachhouse; two henhouses; three brick and corrugated iron loose boxes, one used as a wood store; two harness rooms and stone and tile drawbridge house

Tilsworth Manor Farm land in 1940
Tilsworth Manor Farm land in 1940 [BML10/72/7]

The Manor Farm was sold by auction in 1934 after the death of James Price. The sale particluars [BML10/72/7] show that it then comprised 260 acres 1 rood 27 perches divide into twenty eight fields; 50.40 acres were arable; 7.608 were woodland; 1.744 comprised the Manor House and buildings; 0.616 were the moat and the great bulk - 199.96 acres - were grass.

The farm was sold again in 1940 and was bought by Lady Dianah King. It was sold again in 1953 and bought by Henry Moran

In 1986 the farm buildings and land of Manor Farm formed part of the Kleinwort Benson Farmland Trust, which contained 2,568 acres in Tilsworth (also including Wood Farm and Trinity Hall Farm), Hockliffe and Toddington. The tenant was Hallsworth Limited. The estate was out up for sale in that year for a total of £3.5 million.

Clearly by this date Tilsworth Manor buildings had been divorced from the farm as the sale included [PY/E17/196] a grain store (30 feet by 114 feet 5 inches) with a 900 tonne capacity and "a traditional range of buildings including a concrete portal frame asbestos barn (75 feet 9 inches by 35 feet)". The particulars noted "The buildings at Manor Farm have not been used with the farm for some years and occupy a site of nearly one acre in the middle of Tilsworth Village. A planning application has recently been submitted to the South Bedfordshire District Council for outline permission for the erection of 3 dwellings".