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251 and 252 Old Harrowden Road

251 and 252 Old Harrowden Road in 1960 [Z53/38/5]
251 and 252 Old Harrowden Road in 1960 [Z53/38/5]

251 and 252 Old Harrowden Road were listed by the former Department of Environment in May 1984 as Grade II, of special interest. The department dated the properties, once a single property, subsequently divided into two, as 17th century. The building is timber framed with a red brick infill to the east elevation and pebble-dashed render elsewhere. The building has a clay tiled roof and forms an L-shape,.with two storeys and a projecting section to the rear.

We are fortunate that three surveys of the parish of Cardington from the late 18th century survive. The first of these was undertaken in 1782 by James Lilburne. He was the parish schoolmaster and later agent for Samuel Whitbread, who owned large estates in the parish and also the sole Enclosure Commissioner for the parish. He produced a list of all the inhabitants of the parish arranged by house and hamlet [P38/28/1]. This was published, with extensive analysis by County Archaeologist David Baker in 1973 as Bedfordshire Historical Record Society Volume 52.

Since publication a second list has been found [P38/28/2]. It carries revisions up to the year 1789. Sadly neither of these surveys includes a map. Finally, in 1794 Lilburne produced another survey [W2/6/1-3] and this one had a map with a key showing where each house was. One can use this to plot the houses of the previous surveys and this work was carried out by John Wood of Bedfordshire County Council’s Conservation Section in October 1982 [CRT130Cardington29].

The 1782 survey [P38/28/1/2] describes this building as a farm occupied by 35 year old William Brimley, who died on 3rd March 1789. His wife was 32 year old Jane. Their children were: Samuel, aged 3; William aged 1½; George, who was baptized on Christmas Day 1782; Frances who was born on 2nd April 1784; John who was born on 19th May 1786 and Joseph who was born on 2nd April 1788. The family moved to another cottage in Harrowden in 1783. By 1794 [W2/6/1-3] the building was imply noted as a homestall, “late Reys Farm”.

Tithes were, originally, a tenth of one’s household produce, usually an arable crop such as wheat or barley but possibly livestock or manufactured produce such as shoes, given to support the local priest. They were divided into great and little tithes. Great tithes consisted of grain or large animals such as cattle. Little tithes were fruit, vegetables or other small crops and smaller farm animals such as poultry. By the 19th century this archaic practice had long been replaced by monetary tithes. The Tithe Commutation Act of 1836 finally made it compulsory to replace these archaic tithes with monetary payments. The payment was calculated on the seven year average of prices for the particular commodity derived from the land in question and was worked out by the parties involved – parson, landowners or tenants if the land was not owner-occupied. The parish of Cardington, including Harrowden, was assessed for tithes in 1840 [AT9/1]. At that date 251 and 252 Old Harrowden Road was owned by the Whitbread Estate and occupied by F. Church and others, whose cottage and garden comprised 24 poles. They paid 1 shilling annually to the vicar and 6d. to the improprietor (the holder of the advowson).

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. Eastcotts, like most of the county, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting 251 and 252 Old Harrowden Lane [DV1/C280/69-70] found them owned by the Whitbread Estate. Number 251 was occupied by Miss E. Myers who paid £2/16/- per annum in rent, and the valuer annotated this with: “Pensioners – Sentimental”. The cottage comprised a kitchen, store, two bedrooms and a box room. He also noted that there was a barn in the house and that the property was “Very Bad”.

252 Old Harrowden Road was in the occupation of H. Hillyard who was “not at home”. He paid £5 per annum in rent for a living room, kitchen and two bedrooms. A weather-boarded and tiled washhouse and a brick and tiled barn stood outside.

251 and 252 Old Harrowden Road March 2011
251 and 252 Old Harrowden Road March 2011