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Manor Farm Chalgrave

Manor Farm in 1926 [DV2/E28B]
Manor Farm in 1926 [DV2/E28B]

This farm was, until recent years, part of the lesser Manor of Chalgrave. Maps showing ponds and a moat close to the house suggest that it may have been on or near the site of the medieval manor house. The property was listed by the Department of Environment in 1980 as Grade II, of special interest. It is believed to date from the 17th and 18th centuries and has three storeys beneath an old clay tiled roof. The northern part id the oldest, being 17th century half-timbered work, encased in 18th century brickwork.

About 1820 a painting of the farmhouse describes it as being “Mr. Redgrave’s” [Z102/18]. Then, in 1827 it was in the tenancy of Robert Cooper [QSR1827/73] when John Pateman of Toddington, labourer, “being a rogue and a vagabond” was found in the farm garden with a lock pick. He was sent to the New House of Correction in Bedford for three calendar months’ hard labour.

By 1831 Richard William Foll was the tenant [X52/62] and the farm stayed in the tenancy and then ownership of the family for over a century. By the 20th century the farm had passed into the ownership of the Mercers Company of London, acting as trustees of “certain very ancient charities known as the Chalgrave Estate Charities”, in fact they were Lords of the lesser Chalgrave Manor . In 1919 they sold off a number of their Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire estates including Manor Farm. The sale particulars [HN7/3/1] described the farm as “a charming old farm house”.

The house was described as containing: “two attics and a store room; approached by two staircases are two Servants’ Bedrooms, large Landing, five principal Bedrooms, dressing Room, Bathroom with fitted bath and lavatory basin, having hot and cold supplies, W. C.; spacious Entrance Hall with fireplace, Dining Room, lighted on two sides, Drawing Room and Library, each fitted with modern grates, Kitchen with range and cupboards, Scullery with brick floor, copper, sink and pump, dairy and Cellar. Outside are: - W. C. and Store, Water from pump, pretty Flower Garden and excellent Kitchen Garden, partly walled”. The tenant paid rent of £327 per annum.

In 1919 the “Wardens and Commonality of the Mystery of Mercers of London” conveyed Manor Farm, complete with 521 acres, 1 rood, 7 poles to the tenant Charles Anstee Foll [CCE5357/1]. 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. The valuer visiting Manor Farm, on 24th October 1926 [DV1/H29/12] found that Foll was still in possession. Most of his land was land in Chalgrave but 18 acres, 1 rood, 32 poles were in Toddington.

The valuer commented: "3½ miles Harlington Station. 2 miles from main road very isolated. Water from well. Cesspool drainage. House and buildings very large but good". The farm buildings were annotated on the valuation map, as shown above. The descriptions were as follows:

A – a weather-boarded and corrugated iron two-bay implement hovel;

B – a brick and slate eight-bay large hovel, a brick and slate granary, two brick and slate pigsties, a five-bay open hovel and a four-bay cart shed;

C – a brick and slate cow house for twenty two beasts;

D – a brick and slate three-bay open hovel, two pigsties, a two-bay open hovel, two loose boxes and a three-bay open hovel;

E – a brick and slate calf pen, six pigsties and a three-bay open hovel

F – a large brick and slate barn with a concrete floor, a large brick and slate barn with a loft over, a small brick and slate barn with a loft over and a loose box

G – two brick and slate pigsties, a mixing house, a loose box, a stable for twelve with a loft over, a harness place, a three-stall nag stable and a harness room;

H – two weather-boarded and corrugated iron henhouses, a brick and slate henhouse, two weather-boarded and slated henhouses and a wood barn, a brick and slate coachhouse, a brick, weather-boarded and slated mess house and an old scullery.

New farm buildings were noted as a weather-boarded and slated eight-bay sheep hovel, a weather-boarded and corrugated iron seven-bay sheep hovel, a large weather-boarded and corrugated iron barn and stone loft and a timber and corrugated iron three-bay implement shed.

In 1943 Charles Foll conveyed Manor Farm to Frank Chandler of Someries Farm, Luton for £20,500 [CCE5357/6]. He purchased a further 22 acres, 2 roods in Chalgrave and Toddington from butcher Horace Briden of Toddington in 1946 [CCE5357/8]. Frank Chandler died in 1963 and in 1970 the farm, now comprising 543.728 acres was conveyed by his personal representatives to various members of the Upchurch family [CCE5357/14]. In 1988 a proposal was made to convert a barn into a dwelling [PCChalgrave18/13].