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Chalton Farm

Chalton Farm August 2009
Chalton Farm August 2009

The village of Chalton, unlike the settlement around South Mills, is overwhelmingly made up of modern buildings. Chalton Farm is an exception to this. It was listed by English Heritage in March 1985 as Grade II, of special interest. They dated the building to the late 18th century with 19th century additions. The house is built of red brick and parts have a colourwashed roughcast render added; the roof is of clay tiles. The property is built in an L-shape, the main block of two storeys with attics, the later rear blocks of one and two storeys. At the same time the house was listed the granary was also listed. This was formerly a dovecote and is contemporary with the house. It, too, is built of red brick and has a clay tile roof. The nesting boxes were removed when  it was converted.

Chalton Farm was owned by the Lord of the Manor of Mogerhanger. The Mogerhanger Estate was sold by Robert Thornton in 1784 and the sale particulars [PM1868] describe the farm thus: "Chaulton Farm, containing Fifteen Statute Acres, and thirty Perch, of inclosed Land, and Two Hundred and Thirty-four computed Acres, and three Perch, of Open Field, Arable, and Meadow, making together Two Hundred and Forty-nine Acres, three Rood, and thirty Perch, with a Farm-House and proper Out-Buildings, and a tenement; in the Possession of Mr. William Tatman, on Lease, which expires at Michaelmas, 1788 at £121/10/-" the latter figure is, presumably, the annual rent.

The Mogerhanger Estate, including Chalton Farm, was again sold in 1857 under the will of Godfrey Thornton [X612/85] and the sale particulars describe the farmhouse as containing two parlours, a kitchen, a brew house, a pantry, a cellar, six bedrooms and an attic. The homestead contained the dove house, a cart shed, an open cattle shed, a hay barn, pigsties, a poultry house, a cart-horse stable with a granary over, a double barn, a cow house, a nag stable and a chaise house and granary. The land comprised 234 acres, 3 roods, 36 poles including 167 acres, 1 rood, 21 poles of "very productive" arable land.The tenant was then Mrs. Martha Dudley "at the very inadequate rent of £370 per annum".

The Rating and Valuation Act of 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine the rates to be paid on it. Mogerhanger and Chalton were valued in 1927 and the valuer visiting Chalton Farm [DV1/C209/126] discovered that it was owned by Bedfordshire County Council. The farmhouse itself was occupied by Charles Walter Hills, for which he paid £40 per annum rent, and was then called Chalton House. It stood in 1.262 acres and comprised a dining room, lounge, kitchen and scullery downstairs with three bedrooms and a bathroom (with hot and cold running water) on the first floor and two attics. A barn and an earth closet stood outside. There was a large garden and a garage ("used for Motor Cycle only") and three poultry runs and houses. The valuer noted that water was only laid on to the bathroom and scullery and that he considered the house badly arranged and in a bad position due to its proximity to the road.

There were also various farm buildings let out by the council as smallholdings. These were as follows:

  • E. Humphries paid £1/5/- per annum for a wood and tile two stall stable in the farmyard nearest the road;
  • W. Watts paid £1/15/- for a wood and tile three stall stable adjoining that of Humphries;
  • H. A. Hall paid £7/10/- per annum for buildings adjoining those of Humphries and Watts comprising a wood and tile three stall stable, a chaff place. a wood and thatch half barn to the south with an onion loft and store over which the valuer described as "good";
  • N. A. Hall paid £7 per annum for the other half of the barn with onion loft and store over and a wood and tile two bay hovel opening onto the second yard from the entrance;
  • A. Emery paid ten shillings per annum for a wood and corrugated iron lean-to implement shed;
  • P. W. Buckle paid £12/7/6 for buildings in the third yard from the entrance comprising: a wood and tile stable for seven horses with a loft over and a chaff box; three piggeries; two loose boxes; a stoew; two more loose boxes and a six bay implement shed opening onto the stock yard which the valuer described as a "useful lot";
  • W. Watts paid £5 per annum for a four bay open hovel and a wood, tile and corrugated iron range comprising two open hovel and three piggeries as well as a yard;
  • Patrick Page paid £3 per annum for a brick and tile granary in the stock yard;
  • H. Reid paid £2 for a wood and corrugated iron barn in the stock yard of the farm and an additional ten shillings per annum for a wood and tile loose box lean-to on the barn;
  • F. Lee paid £1/10/- per annum for a wood and tile store barn which was "IN field towards Willington Road".