5 Church Road April 2010
The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] contains information on the county’s historic buildings and landscapes and summaries of each entry can now be found online as part of the Heritage Gateway website. The entry for 5 Church Road [HER 9689] ascribes the cottage to the17th or 18th century with modern extensions to both left and right. The structure is timber-framed, with roughcast render and a thatched, gabled roof. It comprises one storey and attics. The modern brick wing to the left is roughcast rendered with a gabled tile roof and is also one storey and attics. The modern cross-wing to the right has a gabled, thatched roof and comprises two storeys.
The cottage may have been built by a Lord of the Manor. Until 1731 the manor was owned by the Gostwick family, then the Dukes of Marlborough until 1779 when the manor was purchased by the Duke of Bedford. Alternatively the manorial estate may have bought the cottage at a later date.
In November 1903 then Lords of the Manor, George and James Keeble, put the Willington Manor Estate properties in the village up for sale by auction. The sale particulars [X403/3] included 5 Church Road in Lot 41, which also included 7 Church Road, and which was described thus:
Three Stud and Thatched Cottages
Numbers 29, 30 and 53, situate nearly opposite Willington Schools, with Gardens, being part of Number 29 on the Ordnance Survey Plan and containing
1 rood, 29 poles
The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every piece of land and building in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. Willington, like most of the county, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting 5 Church Road [DV1/C154/59] found it numbered as 53 The Village, owned, like much of Willington, by Mark Young, who had bought much of the former Willington Manor Estate, and occupied by E. A. Ball who paid 9/2 per month in rent. The cottage comprised a living room and kitchen with two bedrooms in the roof.
In May 1948 Mark Young’s executors sold a number of his houses in Willington at auction. 5 Church Road, then still numbered as 53, formed Lot 22 and the sale particulars [PK1/4/178] described it as follows:
BRICK AND THATCHED
Situate at 53 CHURCH ROAD, WILLINGTON
In the occupation of Mr. J. T. Freeston, containing Living Room, Kitchen and two Bedrooms, Timber and Pantile Barn and Earth Closet, producing a
Rental of £6 per annum
(the landlord paying the Rates)
The Water is obtained from a Well in the Garden
The particulars are annotated to show that J. T. Freeston himself bought the property. He paid £130, the reserve having been £50.