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Bellwood - 21 Church Road Willington

You cannot see much of Bellwood from Church Road!
You cannot see much of Bellwood from Church Road!

Bellwood hides away behind trees and tall hedges and so it is not obvious that it is a historic building. In fact the property was listed by the former Department of Environment in May 1984 as Grade II, of special interest. The department dated Bellwood to the 16th century, with 17th and 18th century alterations. The cottage has a timber framed construction with a colour washed roughcast exterior and a 20th century tiled roof. It originally had an open hall, but now has one storey and attics since the insertion of a floor in the 17th century (just like 7, 33 and 39 Church Road). An 18th century single storey addition was made to the west gable end, also of timber framed construction with an old clay tile roof. A 20th century wing lies to the rear.

The cottage may have been built by a Lord of the Manor. From 1529 to 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 21 Church Road as Lot 38, describing it as two brick and thatched cottages (then numbered 25 and 26 The Village) standing in one rood, ten poles of land – clearly the cottage was divided into two at this stage.

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 21 Church Road [DV1/C154/68-69] found it still two properties, both owned by F. Moore.

The eastern half, 26 The Village, was occupied by C. Mathews who paid rent of £1/18/8 per quarter and occupied a living room, a kitchen and two bedrooms in the roof. The western section, 25 The Village,  was occupied by J. Ellis who paid rent of 5/6 per week for a living room, a parlour, a kitchen and two bedrooms in the roof. A washhouse and barn stood outside with a cart shed and garage. The valuer commented: “Nice”.