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West Farmhouse - 80 London Road Girtford

80 London Road - West Farmhouse - March 2010
80 London Road - West Farmhouse - March 2010

West Farmhouse is a handsome building which was listed by the former Department of Environment in December 1979 as Grade II, of special interest. The department dated the property to the 17th century. This was a timber framed building, refaced in yellow brick in the mid 19th century, perhaps about the same time that Manor Farmhouse, just down the road, was bring built. The edifice comprises two storeys beneath a concrete tile roof.

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. Sandy, like most of the county, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting West Farmhouse [DV1/C29/12] found it owned by the executors of Joseph N. Hall and occupied by market gardener James W. Hall rent-free.

The house comprised two living rooms, a kitchen, a scullery and a pantry. Upstairs lay three bedrooms, a bathroom, w. c. and a box room. A brick and slate washhouse and coal shed and a brick and tiled w. c. stood outside. The valuer commented: “Roof in bad condition”.

A group of farm buildings stood in just over a quarter of an acre adjoining. These comprised: two brick, timber and slated storage lofts measuring 24 feet by 12 feet 3 inches and 18 feet high with six tiers of shelves; a timber and slated open fronted cart shed for four carts with a loft over; a timber and tiled open shed with a loft over; a brick and tiled old pail closet; a range of timber and tiled buildings comprising a cow stall, an old pigsty and cart shed, a two stall stable, two mangers and a hay store, all with a loft over, a two stall stable with a loft over, three pigsties and a large storage shed with a loft over and a cow stall used as a pigsty; a timber and slated shed and loft (“small”); and old wood and thatched shed and a wood and tiled shed. The valuer characterised all these buildings as “very good”. 4.432 acres of arable land adjoined the premises.

In August 1928 the farmhouse was sold at auction. The sale particulars [PK1/4/58] have a newspaper cutting attached to the outside which describe how this came about. The cutting reads as follows:

“There was a large company of local market  gardeners and others present at the Red Lion Hotel, Sandy, on Friday evening in last week when several Sandy and Chalton properties were offered for sale by public auction”.

“The auctioneer was Mr. D. Grounds, of the firm of Messrs. F. Grounds & Son, auctioneers, estate agents, valuers, etc. of March and Chatteris. The solicitors concerned were Messrs. Ellison & Co., 5 Petty Cury, Cambridge, their representative at the sale being Mr. Coling”.

“The auctioneers were acting upon instructions received from the owners – Sir Frederick Hiam of Cambridge and Mr. F. W. Ruston of Chatteris, who acquired the property from the representatives of the late Mr. Joseph N. Hall, of Sandy”.

“Lot 1 was the residence, farm, buildings, and 4 acres 2 roods of market garden land situate in London Road, Sandy. The lot is in the occupation of Mr. James W. Hall, a son of the late Mr. J. N. Hall. Bidding for this lot was brisk. The purchaser was Mr. J. W. Hall, at £1,850, the market garden land being therefore bought at about £200 per acre”.