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Lower Woodside Farm

Lower Woodside Farm in 1915 [Z214/3]
Lower Woodside Farm in 1915 [Z214/3]

In 1883 Lower Woodside Farm was owned by Arthur Macnamara who owned a considerable amount of land in south-west Bedfordshire. Between 1883 and 1887 repairs totalling £389/10/4 were carried out at the farm [BML6/2/7xvii]. In 1886 part of the farm land was sold to the Rural Sanitary Authority and became Aley Green Cemetery [PULE6].

In 1910 the tenant was Richard Dudley. In that year he gave up the tenancy and assigned the remainder of his lease to Christopher Brigginshaw [BML10/11/12]. The Brigginshaws were still the tenants in 1920.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Arthur Macnamara exchanged considerable quantities of land with the Pedley family. One of these exchanges was obviously of part of Lower Woodside Farm because in December 1915 the second auction sale of Pedley Settled Estates land took place. It included 2,050 acres in Eaton Bray, Whipsnade, Totternhoe, Studham and Caddington as well as the Hertfordshire parishes of Markyate and Flamstead. Lot 34 in the sale particulars [Z214/3] was part of Lower Woodside Farm, occupied by Christopher and Frank Brigginshaw at a rent of £127/5/6 per annum.

The portion of the farm sold was 111 acres, 1 rood, 21 perches split between the parishes of Markyate [Hertfordshire] and Caddington. The land comprised 96 acres, 3 roods, 19 perches of arable, 13 acres, 15 perches of pasture, 1 rood, 4 perches of orchard, 38 perches of woodland and the farm and homestead itself which contained 3 roods, 25 perches.

The brick and slate farmhouse comprised four bedrooms, a sitting room, a kitchen, a washhouse and dairy with a basement cellar. There was a paved yard, garden and orchard. The farm buildings were: a large barn; a cart stable; a nag stable; a coachhouse; an implement shed; a cow house; a cart hovel with a granary over; fattening boxes; cattle sheds; pigsties; a fold and rickyards.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. The valuer visiting Lower Woodside Farm [DV1/H24/8] found that the owner was now T. Thorn and the occupier H. Rolt who paid rent of 30/- per acre for 53 acres. The valuer commented: “Meadow in Slip End too far away but good. Children a nuisance, trespassing. Buildings good”.

The brick, plaster and slate farmhouse comprised a reception room, a kitchen, scullery and washhouse combined, cellar, with three bedrooms and a sitting room upstairs. There was also a lumber room and a well house. The valuer noted: “Water from well 100 feet. Lamps. House fairly good”

The farm buildings were as follows:

  • West Block: a brick and slate wood place; a stable for four horses and a chaff store, all with loft over;
  • North Block: a large brick, weather-boarded, slate and corrugated iron barn and granary; a garage (“let”); a three bay open cart shed; a nag stable for one and a brick and tile five bay open hovel
  • East Block: four brick and tile piggeries and an open cart shed with a granary over
  • South Block: a brick and tile stable for three horses; a hen house and a grain store

The valuer commented: “Buildings good”.

Kelly’s Directory for Bedfordshire was published every few years. The last two ever published, 1936 and 1940 list the tenant of Lower Woodside Farm was Ezra James Fleckney.