Warden Manor Farm
Warden Manor Farm March 2008
Old Warden may, at first sight, look like a closed village - that is to say, owned by one large estate - in the case of Old Warden the Ongley Estate and its successor the Shuttleworth Estate. This is not the case, however. Whilst the High Street and Church End were almost exclusively part of the Ongley/Shuttleworth Estate outlying parts of the parish such as the farms were just as likely to be owned by another big local landowner - the Whitbread Estate of Southill. Indeed, it was by exchanging all the Ongley land in Southill for some of the Whitbread land in Old Warden that Samuel Ongley consolidated his estate on Old Warden.
Warden Manor Farm was listed by the former Department of Environment in 1972 as Grade II, of special interest. It was built about 1800 of red brick with a clay tile roof. It has two storeys and attics with a single storey wing to the rear. It has been suggested that the chimney stacks come from the Gostwick mansion built on the site of Warden Abbey.
In 1927 the farms of Old Warden were valued under the Rating Valuation Act 1925; every piece of land and building in the country was assessed to determine the rates to be paid on it. The valuer visiting Manor Farm [DV1/H50/48] found it was owned by S.H.Whitbread and occupied by A.Cooper; it was rented for £223 and comprised 160 acres. The valuer commented: "Fair house and Buildings in fair repair. West of farm heavy waterlogged clay. Troubled by game and gets 20% rebate for damage by game. Water from well. Tenant pays a lot yearly in Caton's for repairs. Some v.good land - some poor. Woods a nuisance and gardens same. Fattens Herefords. Some grass bad. Homestead badly placed end of farm".
The house comprised two living rooms, a kitchen, scullery, dairy, pantry, coal place and earth closet with five bedrooms and a sixth, smaller one. The valuer commented: "In fair repair but old fashioned". The homestead comprised a brick and tile range of three pigsties, a cow shed for nine beasts with a loft over, three large barns, a two bay open shed, a granary, stabling for six beasts, a trap house and an eight bay cart shed.
Directories reveal the following tenants of the farm:
- 1876: Joshua Daniels;
- 1885: Samuel Peacock;
- 1931: Arthur Cooper;
- 1940: David and Frank Bryant