4 The Ride Totternhoe
Wishing Well Cottage February 2010
4 The Ride, Wishing Well Cottage, looks as if it may be quite an old building from casual inspection. 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 on the site of today's cottage was described as: "Two cottages, barn and garden; owned by Rev. Wroth [the Vicar of Totternhoe]; occupied by James Purton, William East and Rev. Wroth; 2 roods, 13 poles". It may be that this was, in fact, the same building as today's, though deeds or a sale catalogue of the period would be needed to carry this speculation further.
A similar survey was carried out in 1840 and by that date J. Purton and "Charlotte Harbon" were noted as Rev. Wroth's tenants. The 1841 census reveals that Charlotte Herbert was about 70. James Purton was about 35 and a farmer. He lived with his wife Rachael, who was about 30, and their children Caroline, aged 10, Emnma, 8, Mary, 4 and Elizabeth who was three months old.
At some point the cottage became the property of Earl Brownlow because when he put his Totternhoe Estate up for auction in 1916 [AD1147/92] 4 The Ride formed part of Church Farm. It was described as a: "detached brick-built and slated COTTAGE, with lean-to Barn and Garden, let to Benjamin Bliss".
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 4 The Ride [DV1/C101/63] noted that the owner was G. E. Pratt and that the cottage was vacant. It comprised a living room and combined kitchen scullery with two bedrooms above, a weather-boarded and slated barn stood outside. It was, in the valuer's opinion "Nice".