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36 Well Head Road Totternhoe

36 Wellhead Road August 2009
36 Well Head Road August 2009

36 Well Head Road was listed by the former Department of Environment in January 1993 as Grade II, of special interest. The listing dates the cottage to the mid 17th century "partly rebuilt and extended in 19th century". It is timber- framed with front and back walls of painted Flemish bond brick. It has a steeply pitched slate roof with gabled ends. It was originally a three room plan (i.e. three rooms downstairs) with a single room addition in the 19th century.

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). The building was then two cottages, owned by Leighton Buzzard solicitor David Lee Willis and occupied by William Cook and George Gates, standing in thirty poles of land.

A similar survey was carried out in 1840 and at that date Willis was still the owner, the occupiers being "John Roe and another". The 1841 census reveals that John Roe was about 40 and an agricultural labourer. He lived with his wife Susan, also about 40 and their children John, 13, a straw plaiter, James, 12, also a straw plaiter, Charles, 9, another straw plaiter, Thomas, 5 and Jesse, 1. Next door were Eliza Snoxell, aged about 30 and a char woman with her children Enoch, 10, a straw plaiter and Esther, 7, another straw plaiter. Living with the Snoxells was Ann North, 12, another straw plaiter.

The Totternhoe Estate was put up for sale by Lord of the Manor Earl Brownlow, successor in title to the Earls of Bridgewater, in 1916 [Z513/22]. At some point the Earl must have bought 36 Well Head Road from David Lee Willis, or one of his successors in title because Lot 29 was "A Pair of Useful Cottages" and was simply described as "each containing Four Rooms and Pantry, and having Barn and good Garden. They are brick built and thatched". One cottage was vacant and the other leased to James East for £3/8/- per annum.

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 36 Well Head Road [DV1/C101/40] found it was owned by J. Thorogood and occupied by J. E. East who paid £6/10/- per annum in rent. The brick and slate property comprised a living room, kitchen and two sculleries with three bedrooms above. The valuer commented: "2 houses made into one. Nice. Rent very low".