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Guise House Aspley Guise

Guise House September 2007
Guise House in September 2007

Guise House is an impressive residence situated on Church Street. It was Grade II* listed in 1961 (the star designation meaning it is a particularly important building). The Department of Environment's architect termed Guise House a "small country house" and considered in to be early 18th century in date, "apparently on the site of an earlier structure"; it was extended in the 19th century and the "rather plain" interior was also reworked at that time. An early 18th century date is supported by the known facts about the Aspley Guise Classical Academy which was based at Guise House and the buildings of what is now The Powage Press next door - Guise House being the residence of the headmaster.

In 1927 this part od Bedfordshire was rated under the terms of the Rating Valuation Act 1925. This act required every property and piece of land in the country to be inspected to determine the rates to be paid on it. The valuer visiting Guise House [DV1/C/138] noted that it was owned and occupied by Mrs.Rashleigh and sat in 1.487 acres. Before noting the details of the rooms the valuer could not restrain himself, noting: "Appalling front 6 windows bricked in & blank walls Basement floor & Attic". Downstairs he listed a hall and reception room 21ft by 14.5ft, a "Steward's Hall", a kitchen 13ft by 11ft, another reception room 18.5ft by 13ft, a gents' cloak room and two more reception rooms measuring 17.5ft by 12.5ft and 29ft by 17.5ft. Upstairs were a bedroom measuring 13.5ft by 15.5ft with a dressing room, two maids' rooms, two bathrooms and a wc, a bedroom measuring 18ft by 23ft with a linen cupboard and four bedrooms measuring 12ft by 13.5ft, 12.5ft by 10ft, 18ft by 5.5ft and 16.5ft by 14ft respectively. There were also 5 attics. At this point the valuer also noted: "A barrack of a place - lovely garden other side of road".

Guise House January 2008
Guise House January 2008

When the valuer went outside he found a brick and tile washhouse, two loose boxes with two bedrooms over them, a coachhouse and harness room. There was also a timber and asbestos garage. The valuer also noted two glasshouses measuring 9ft bt 15.5ft and 9.5ft by 20ft. How house prices have changed is underlined by the valuer's final remark: "Would easily sell for £2,250".

The Mrs.Rashleigh noted as owner-occupier in 1927 was the wife of William Rashleigh, Vicar of Ridgmont from 1928 to 1934. Rashleigh had played cricket as an amateur for Kent from 1885 to 1901, during which time he scored 5,379 runs at an average of 25.13. He died in Balcombe [Sussex] in 1937. Directories reveal the following occupiers for the dates listed: 1885: Rev.William Jeudwine; 1890: Mrs.Jeudwine; 1898 George Augustus Simcox; 1903: Colonel Edward T.Browell; 1910: Rev.George Alfred Foyster; 1914: Mrs.Foyster; 1924: James C.Walker; 1928: Rev.William Rashleigh; 1936-1940: Thomas Baxter Tennant.