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The Den, 3 Bridgend, Chellington

This page was written by Pamela HIder

The Den

The Den, c.1978 (Courtesy of HER)

This Grade II listed buildng standing at No.3 Bridgend, Chellington, and semi-detached to Chellington House at Bridgend, is described by The Historic Environment Record for Bedfordshire as follows:

C18 house adjoining no. 1 Bridgend (Chellington House). Coursed limestone rubble. Concrete tile roof. 3-room plan. Two storeys. Off-centre ridge stack rebuilt in C20 bricks. Also S. gable end stack. First floor has three 2-light leaded casements. Ground floor has three 3-light leaded casements under timber lintels and blocked opening in line with ridge stack. To right of this is doorway with gabled timber porch.

In the 18th century, some of the out-buildings of Chellington House (17th century) were brought together to comprise what today we call The Den, but were in fact an extension to Chellington House. We are grateful to the current owner of Chellington House for telling us that "there is clear evidence that a servants' staircase descended from the rear of bedroom 3 behind the then kitchen chimney, and that this was removed when part of The Den was built as an extension leading off the then Kitchen of Chellington House". Thus the early history of The Den comes under that of Chellington House. By the early 20th century, William Fairey was the owner of Chellington House and thus The Den (1913-1950). The division into separate dwellings must then have occurred between 1913 and 1926 as our earliest record of The Den is 1926 when it was decribed as 'semi-detached'.

1926

Under the Rating and Valuation Act 1925 (DV1/218), every piece of land and building in the country had to be valued to determine the rates to be paid upon it. This was done in Chellington in 1926, and from it we learn that the owner was William Fairey and the occupant a Mr.Bennett. The house was described as follows: Stone & Tiled; Dining Room, Lounge, Hall, Bath & W.C., Kitchen, Scullery & Cellar. Upstairs were 4 bedrooms. The whole was described as "Very nice but no lighting". Outside were a garage, a barn and a wash house. Another hand had further commented  "No light. Not so good as [next door] (= Chellington House). Stands back from road".

Electoral Rolls tell us that The Den was tenanted by different families after 1926, but by the 1980s, the grand-daughter of William Fairey was in residence.

Post Office

The Ordnance Survey map of 1901 tells us that The Den was the site of the Post Office. The 1926 Bedfordshire Evaluation map tells us the same; and a sketch map within a planning document of 1934 (RDBP2/452) shows the Post Office to be still there. Given the ownership of Chellington House and the Den by the Faireys, it is tempting to believe that one Samuel Fairey, farmer, who lived in Bridgend at the 1871 census with his family and a servant and who was also an employer of farm labourers, might have lived at Chellington House before John Fairey in the 1880s. This is because he is referred to in Post Office Records (X378) from 1872 - 1875 as Receiver and who was also mentioned as such in Harrod's Directory of 1876. 

The Den 2

The Den, December 2019