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Ryecote Farmhouse Eaton Bray

Gates to Rye Farm and Ryecote Farm March 2012
Gates to Rye Farm and Ryecote Farm March 2012

Ryecote Farmhouse is quite invisible from the road as the photograph above demonstrates! It was listed by the former Department of Environment in September 1980 as Grade II, of special interest. The house dates from the 17th century and is timber-framed with colour-washed brick infill. It has a 19th century extension at the right-hand side. The property comprises two storeys beneath an old clay tiled roof. The windows and porch are modern.

The farm was evidently part of the Manor of Eaton Bray. In the late 19th and early 20th century the Lord of the Manor was Arthur Macnamara. On his death the property formed part of Pedley Settled Estates which his executors sold by auction in October 1915,  Ryecote Farm was Lot 8. The sale particulars [Z214/2] read as follows:

Of about
3a. 2r. 27p.
Situate on the North side of the Billington and Leighton Buzzard Road, nearly opposite Lot 7, including

A Brick and half-timbered Two-storied Dwelling House
With tiled roof, containing Three Bed Rooms, Two Sitting Rooms and Kitchen, with small Garden.

Adjoining, timber-built and tiled and thatched, of Stable, cattle Shed, Two Loose Boxes, Pigstye and Timber and Corrugated Open Cart Shed, together with
Orchard and Meadow Land

The land comprised 3 acres, 2 roods, 27 poles. The smallholding was let to W. Gadsden for £24 per annum [Kelly's Directory for 1914 lists William Ellingham Gadsden as a hat and straw dealer in The Rye].

The particulars are annotated at the rear. The annotation states that the farm was bought by A. Roberts for £250.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 stated that every property in the country was to be assessed to determine the rates to be paid on it. Eaton Bray, like most of the county, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting Ryecote Farm [DV1/C202/4] found it owned by A. R. Roberts and occupied by A. Roberts “no relation” whose rent had been five shillings per week from 2nd June 1927. At that time the property was called Springfield. Kelly's Directory for 1928 lists Arthur Roberts as a wheelwright at The Rye and Arthur Richard Roberts as a farmer.

The house is listed as comprising two living rooms, and a scullery with two bedrooms and a landing upstairs, quite different to the sale particular of twelve years earlier. The valuer noted: "Was two cottages. Beds must be big". One valuer commented: "Quite habitable" but a different hand has written beneath "Very Poor"! It was, one of the valuer's noted: "Not farm".