Dropshort Farm December 2007
Much of Stagsden was owned by the Crown at the beginning of the 20th century. This was because Stagsden Manor had been sold to the Crown by the executors of the Lord of the Manor George Rice Trevor, 4th Baron Dynevor, after his death in 1869. The Crown Estate was sold off by auction in 1921 in 37 lots at which time it comprised 14 farms and 3,360 acres of land.
One of the farms sold was Dropshort Farm, which formed several lots, the main buildings being Lot 2. The sale catalogue description [X67/383] was as follows: "A COMPACT SMALL HOLDING including Two Cottages, Farm Buildings, Grass, Arable and Woodland, comprising an area of 72 acres 2 roods 38 perches. The COTTAGES, suitable for conversion as a Farm House, comprise a modern pair, built of brick and slate, each containing Entrance Lobby with tiled floor; Larder; tiled floor, front; Kitchen, front, with tiled floor and portable cooking range; Sitting Room, back, with wood-block floor, fireplace; cupboard under stairs; and 3 Bedrooms. Wash-house with tiled floor, copper, stone sink, and pump from soft-water tank; Closet. There is a well and pump in the Garden in front.
The FARM BUILDINGS, all stone, timber-built and slated or tiled, comprise: On the North - Loose Box, Nag Stable, 2 Piggeries, Root House, Barn with Asphalte floor, Fowl-house, and Passage. On the East - Open Shed, 3 bays, Chaff-house, Cart-horse Stable for 5, Harness Room with semi-rotary Pump from soft-water tank supplying 2 iron toughs in Yards. On the West - Open Cart Shed, 4 bays, Loose Box, and Open Cart Shed, 7 bays. These Buildings enclose 4 Open Yards".
The land included plots with the following names: Dropshort Close; Dropshort Hill; Dry Leys; Jackets Close; Little Hangers or Hangers Thorns; Lower Hangers and Upper Hangers. One cottage and part of the farm buildings were let to Mrs.F.Keep, the remaining cottage, buildings and land to Stephen Cooper at an annual rent of £70.
Interestingly, Lot 3 was a limestone quarry and meadow nearby, partly in Stagsden and partly in Kempston Rural, the quarry had been "worked until recently, producing an excellent quality of Lime, and there is still a valuable Bed of Limestone"; it was let to the representatives of Alfred Keep, deceased. A further part of Dropshort Farm was Lot 4 comprising 63 acres 3 roods and was let to Mrs.Keep, field names included Beck's Ash Close, Beck's Ash Mead, Great Hatfield and Hatfield Pightle. Alfred Keep's representatives also leased Lot 5, an arable field of 13 acres 3 roods 28 perches. To see the map of Lots 2 to 5 accompanying the sale particulars of 1921 please click on the thumbnail below
In 1926/7 Bedfordshire was valued under the Rating Valuation Act of 1925; the value visiting Dropshort Farm noted that it was then owned and occupied by Stephen Cooper, who had obviously purchased it at the auction in 1921, the acreage is given as 98 showing that he purchased Lots 2, 3 and 5 but not Lot 4, the valuer commented [DV1/H/1]: "Heavy land but not wet"; of the farmhouse (one of the pair of cottages) he commented: "Not a comfortable house, water pumped from well, very good supply. Very small rooms"; of the outbuildings he said: "Very good set of buildings…very suitable for farm & very compact. Water collected from roofs to tank".
Dropshort Farm is now very close to the roundabout on the A428 forming part of the Bromham Bypass and so only just within the parish of Stagsden. A public house, the Leather Bottle with 13 acres of land, used to stand somewhere near Dropshort Farm in the 19th century.