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157 Bedford Road Wootton

157 Bedford Road undergoing rebuilding March 2012
157 Bedford Road undergoing rebuilding March 2012

157 Bedford Road was listed by English Heritage in April 1987 as Grade II, of special interest. It is an 18th century house which is timber-framed with a clay tiled roof. It comprises two storeys and at the time of writing [2012] was undergoing a complete restoration.

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. Like most of the county, Wootton was largely assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting the property [DV1/C51/15] found it owned by J. Blakeman and occupied by H. S. Brown who paid rent of £52 per annum, set in 1922. This included a small grass field with a wood and tiled cart shed for two, a loose, box, a two stall stable, a barn and a cowshed for eleven beasts as well as 5.771 acres of grassland divided into fields of 4.384 acres, 0.552 of an acre and 0.835 of an acre. Kelly’s Directory of 1928 notes that Harry Brown was a dairyman at Keeley. The rent before the First World War had been £30 per annum for the house, its land and an additional two acres.

Harry Brown’s accommodation comprised two living rooms, a parlour, a kitchen and scullery with four bedrooms and a boxroom above. An earth closet stood outside. The valuer commented: “Very good house”. He also noted, intriguingly: “The above rent of £52 is paid weekly (£1 a week). Local scandal has it that Blakeman is the Mortgagee but Brown denied this! Personally I think Brown is wrong”.