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Chapel Lane Butchers Shop Totternhoe

Butcher's shop in Chapel Lane February 2010
Butcher's shop in Chapel Lane February 2010

F. Horton and Son, whose premises stands at the top of Chapel Lane, just behind the former Wesleyan Methodist chapel itself is [2010] a retail butcher's. The house, to a casual, external inspection, looks early to mid 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). At that date nothing stood on the site.

A similar survey was carried out in 1840 and by that date a bakehouse and premises stood on the site. It was owned by William Pratt senior and occupied by James Seabrook [BW1006]. The 1841 census reveals that Seabrook was about 30 and living with his wife Sarah, about 25 and their son John, aged 9 and Mary Hutchins, a straw plaiter.

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 the butcher's shop [DV1/C101/118] noted that it was owned and occupied Frederick Horton (Kelly's Directory notes he was, indeed, a butcher). The brick and slate dwelling had two reception rooms, a kitchen and pantry downstairs with four bedrooms above and a weather-boarded and tiled garage ("really barn") and slaughter house outside. Nearby stood a brick, weather-boarded and corrugated iron cow shed, a brick, weather-boarded and slate stable for three horses with a loft over, a brick, weather-boarded and slate loose box, a weather-boarded and corrugated iron four bay open shed, a weather-boarded and corrugated iron cart shed and a weather-boarded and slated loose box.