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The Old Forge - 3 Market Place Eaton Bray

3 Market Place about 1905 [Z50/39/23]
3 Market Place about 1905 [Z50/39/23]

The Old Forge was, of course, formerly a blacksmith’s premises. In 1915 it formed part of Pedley Settled Estates. Originally it was probably part of the Manor of Eaton Bray. When Pedley Settled Estates were auctioned by the executors of Arthur Macnamara in 1915 the sale particulars [Z214/2] described The Old Forge as follows:


In the Village of Eaton Bray, adjoining Lot 3 [Comp Farm], and including
A brick and Slated Two-Storied Dwelling House
Situate facing the Market Place, and containing Four Bed Rooms, Sitting Room, Kitchen and Scullery, with Showing Shop under one end, and
Brick and Tiled Forge
adjoining together with a
Good Garden and a Grass Orchard
Having Frontages to the Market Place and Comp Road, and comprising in all about
1a. 0r. 19p.
And being Part No. 133 on Plan.
Let to Mr. George Brown on a Yearly (Michaelmas) tenancy, at the rent of
£22 10s. per annum.

The particulars are annotated at the rear and note that George Brown bought the place for £315. Directories for Eaton Bray were not published every year but every few years until 1940. Kelly’s Directory for the county lists Brown as a blacksmith in Eaton Bray between 1898 and 1940. William Brown is listed in earlier directories, which are not Kelly's, of 1847, 1853, 1854, 1862, 1864, 1869 and 1871.

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. Eaton Bray, like much of the county, was assessed in 1927. The valuer visiting 3 Market Place [DV1/C202/68-69] recorded that it comprised a living room, two sculleries and three bedrooms above. He commented: “good house” as well as “bedroom over trap shed” and “Double front”. The smithy measured 12 feet by 16 feet and 4 feet 6 inches by 5 feet 6 inches; a shoeing shop was 16 feet by 17 feet 6 inches. There was also a brick and slate trap shed adjoining the house, a weather-boarded and tiled store shed (“used hens”), a weather-boarded and corrugated iron store shed in the orchard and a weather-boarded and tiled hen house. The valuer summed up: “Useful place in Eaton Bray”.

The Old Forge December 2008
The Old Forge December 2008