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221 Castle Hill Road Totternhoe

221-223 Castle Hill Road February 2010
221 -223 Castle Hill Road February 2010

221 Castle Hill Road was listed by the former Department of Environment as Grade II, of special interest. The property was dated to the 17th century "with later alterations" (but see below). It is timber framed and covered with incised stucco and has two storeys under a thatched roof.


In 1829, following the death of the Earl of Bridgewater, his estate in Totternhoe was surveyed [BW1004]. The survey also included every building in the parish, whether owned by the estate or not (and at that date most were not). Neither 221 nor 223 Castle Hill Road appear on this map. This suggests, plainly, that the Department of Environment's source was misled by the outward appearance of the property into thinking it 17th century. A similar survey was carried out in 1840 and by that date a row of cottages is shown on the site of 221 and 223 Castle Hill Road. Thus they must have both been built between 1829 and 1840. In the reference book accompanying the 1840 survey the row is described as three cottages and gardens occupying 25 poles. It was owned by William Pratt senior and occupied by Thomas Holt "and others".

The 1841 census reveals that the occupiers were: Mary Cook, aged about 30 with, presumably, her children Sarah aged about 15; Daniel, 8 and Joseph, 3. David Darby, aged about 20, an agricultural labourer, lived with his wife Rebecca, of about the same age, and their children John, aged 2 and Sarah, 7 months. Thomas Holt was also about 20 and an agricultural labourer and lived with his wife Ruth, also about 20, and their two month old son James.

In 1916 both 221 and 223 Castle Hill Road were sold at auction by the estate of Samuel Yirrell deceased, with other property in Totternhoe as well as property and land in Tilsworth, Stanbridge, Eaton Bray and Soulbury in Buckinghamshire [BML10/72/5]. The cottages formed Lot 6 and were described as "A Block of THREE COTTAGES, situate at Middle End, Totternhoe, two are brick built and thatched, containing two rooms down and four over, being occupied as one tenant by Mr. C. V. Martin, a quarterly Tenant, at a rental of £11 14 shillings per annum; the remaining one, which is half timber and slated, contains Living Room and Pantry down and two Bedrooms over and is in the occupation of the representatives of the late Widow Pratt on a quarterly tenancy, at a rental of £5 per annum". The description concluded with the information that there were also outbuildings and gardens and that the area was about 1 rood, 10 poles. The particulars are annotated to show that the purchaser was Henry Yirrell for £125.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every piece of land and property in the country should be valued to determine its rateable value. Totternhoe, like much of Bedfordshire, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting 221 and 223 Castle Hill Road [DV1/C101/127-128] noted that both were owned by George Lewis. Number 221 was vacant and comprised a living room and combined kitchen and scullery downstairs with two bedrooms above. Two weather-boarded and corrugated iron sheds stood outside. Number 223 was occupied by George Lewis and contained a living room, kitchen and scullery downstairs with four bedrooms above. A weather-boarded and corrugated iron shed and shelters stood outside together with a weather-boarded and corrugated iron tea room (Kelly's Directory for 1928 has an entry for George Lewis reading "refreshment rooms"). The valuer commented: "Very nice".

221 Castle Hill Road August 2009
221 Castle Hill Road August 2009