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Wood Farm Tilsworth

Wood Farm in 1804
Wood Farm in 1804 (note that the top of the map is north-east, not north)

Virtually all of Tilsworth was owned by Tilsworth Manor until well into the 19th century. In the Tilsworth Estate sale particulars of 1804 [AD534/4], Wood Farm was tenanted by John Cooper and comprised the farmhouse and a total of 137 acres 26 perches. The farmhouse is described thus: "FARM HOUSE, Brick Panel and Thatched, containing Parlour, Kitchen, dairy, back Kitchen, Cellar and Pantry, Hogsties, Three Barns, containing Thirteen Bays, Woodhouse, Cart Lodge, Cowhouse, and two Stables, Timber, Weather Boarded and Thatched &c.". The particulars show signs of being rushed, without good proof reading in parts and this is clear here, since no bed chambers are recorded.

The farm comprised the following land:

  • Nearer Black Roads; 32 acres 3 roods 16 perches;
  • Little Ridgeway; 26 acres 12 perches;
  • Black Grove; arable 16 acres 1 rood 24 perches; meadow 6 acres 2 roods 30 perches.
  • Great Hill Close; 10 acres 2 roods 11 perches;
  • Lawn Pond; acreage with 29;
  • Middle Pond; 6 acres 3 roods together with Lawn Pond;
  • West Meadow; 9 acres 7 perches;
  • 2 acres 3 roods 14 perches;
  • Great England; 16 acres 19 perches;
  • Shop Close; 2 acres 1 rood 1 perch;
  • a croft or rick yard; 2 roods 15 perches;
  • a farmhouse; 2 acres 2 roods 1 perch;
  • leys; 3 roods 23 perches;
  • Little Hill Close; 3 acres 2 roods 13 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. The valuer visiting Wood Farm [DV1/H28/62] noted that it was owned and occupied by E.C.Gurney, who also owned Green Farm. The farm was a little larger than in 1804 at 167 acres of "wet land". The farmhouse was new, with the old one retained as storage. The new house, of brick and tile construction, comprised two reception rooms, a kitchen, pantry and dairy downstairs with five bedrooms above and a wood barn outside. One room up and one down of the old house were used as stores.

The homestead contained the following structures:

  • In the yard by the house: a brick, weather boarded and corrugated iron mixing house and granary; a chaff store; two large loose boxes; two weather boarded and corrugated iron piggeries;  stables and a straw and implement store;
  • In the north-western block: a weather boarded and corrugated iron stable for seven; a three bay open cart shed; a brick, weather boarded and corrugated iron barn;
  • In the centre: a weather boarded and corrugated iron building divided down the centre to form a four bay open implement shed and a four bay open feeding hovel;
  • In the south-east yard a weather boarded and corrugated iron six bay open hovel ("poor") and a four bay open hovel ("poor").

Wood Farm December 2008
Wood Farm December 2008

In 1986 the farm buildings and land of Wood Farm formed part of the Kleinwort Benson Farmland Trust, which contained 2,568 acres in Tilsworth (also including Manor 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. The farm buildings did not include the farmhouse, but were described in the sale particulars [PY/E17/196] as: "A group of traditional buildings including an old Dutch barn (30 feet 2 inches by 120 feet), piggery and stables. Planning permission had recently been refused on this site but it is considered that by the purchase of additional frontage, this decision could be reversed".