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Lilburne House - 276 Bedford Road Cardington

276 Bedford Road Christmas Eve 2010
276 Bedford Road Christmas Eve 2010

Lilburne House was listed by the former Ministry of Public Buildings and Works in July 1964 as Grade II, of special interest. The department dated the property to the 18th century. It is built of red brick and has an old clay tiled roof and originally had tow rooms upstairs and down. Today a block at the rear is linked to the main house by a conservatory

We are fortunate that three surveys of the parish of Cardington from the late 18th century survive. The first of these was undertaken in 1782 by James Lilburne. He was the parish schoolmaster and later agent for Samuel Whitbread, who owned large estates in the parish and also the sole Enclosure Commissioner for the parish. He produced a list of all the inhabitants of the parish arranged by house and hamlet [P38/28/1]. This was published, with extensive analysis by County Archaeologist David Baker in 1973 as Bedfordshire Historical Record Society Volume 52.

Since publication a second list has been found [P38/28/2]. It carries revisions up to the year 1789. Sadly neither of these surveys includes a map. Finally, in 1794 Lilburne produced another survey [W2/6/1-3] and this one had a map with a key showing where each house was. One can use this to plot the houses of the previous surveys and this work was carried out by John Wood of Bedfordshire County Council’s Conservation Section in October 1982 [CRT130Cardington29].

The compiler of the survey, James Lilburne himself lived at 276 Bedford Road, hence the property’s modern name, Lilburne House. He was just 26 at the time and had been born in Silsoe. His wife was 30 year old Sarah, née Bull, who had been born at Henham in Essex. Their son Thomas was born on 29th August 1782 and baptized on 29th September that year. Their daughter Sarah was born on 3rd September and baptized on 26th December 1787. Lilburne described his residence as the school house. He had had smallpox before May 1787 as had his wife and was willing for his son to be inoculated against it [P38/28/1/2]. He was still in residence in 1794 [W2/6/1-3].

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. Cardington, like most of the county, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting Lilburne House [DV1/C116/106] found it owned by the Whitbread Estate and tenanted by C. C. Lancaster at a rent of £6/9/6 per annum.

Accommodation comprised a parlour, living room and kitchen downstairs with three bedrooms above. A barn and a small heated glasshouse stood outside. The valuer commented: “Good. Lettable”.

Rear of 276 Bedford Road Christmas Eve 2010
Rear of 276 Bedford Road Christmas Eve 2011