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Meadow Farm Kempston Rural

Meadow Farm on the Rating Valuation Map [DV2/D16]
Meadow Farm on the Rating Valuation Map [DV2/D16]

Meadow Farmhouse is some way off main roads in an area of Kempston Rural which extends south in a narrow peninsula between the parishes of Stagsden to the north-west and Wootton to the south-east. The house was listed by English Heritage in September 1986 as Grade II, of special interest. It dates from the 17th century and was remodelled and extended in the late 18th or early 19th century. The two storey building has colourwashed roughcast render applied to the exterior walls and has a an old clay tiled roof.

In 1877 Meadow Farm was put up for sale by auction following the deaths of the owners Ulysses and John Paine. Also included in the sale were Wyboston Farm and 22 acres at Little Staughton. The sale particulars [WG2570] described Meadow Farm as follows:

Tithe-Free (except about 1½ acres), situate at Kempston, in the County of Bedford and North Crawley, in the County of Buckingham, consisting of a

With Barns, Stables, Cart and Wagon Sheds, Hovels, and the customary Agricultural Buildings, the whole forming a convenient Homestead together with the Yard, Garden and Orchard and

In a good state of cultivation in the occupation of Mr. Barker, and let at the annual rent of £350. The Estate is Tithe-Free except that Honey Hill Pightle is subject to a rent charge of 14s. 9d. per annum in lieu of a modus). The Land Tax is £16 2s. 9d. per annum, £13 2s. 0d. being charged upon the Lands in Kempston and £3 0s. 9d. upon the Lands in North Crawley).

The Kempston lands comprised 115 acres, 36 poles of arable (Hovel Ground, Ten Acres, Horse Pastures, Twelve Acres, twenty Acres, Bottom Sheep Walks and the homestead) and 68 acres, 1 rood, 32 poles of pasture (Honey Hill, The Grove, Home Meadow, Coppice Close and Red Barn and Spring Pightle).

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. The valuer visiting Meadow Farm [DV1/H1/32] found that it was owned and occupied by J. Slater. The farm comprised 230 acres, 183 in Kempston Rural and the rest in the Buckinghamshire parish of Astwood. The valuer remarked: “Very isolated farm. Only water is by gravitation. Quite a good supply. Good road to farm. Farm has ½ mile of private road to keep up. Cottagers have to fetch water from Homestead”. The farm included four cottages for farm workers.

The farmhouse comprised three reception rooms, a kitchen, scullery and pantry with six bedrooms above as well as a W. C. and bathroom. A W. C. also stood outside along with a “milk place” and a coal shed. The valuer commented: “Very good house and good garden”; another hand has written: “Good Building cement faced and all done up – very good, no waste space”.

The homestead comprised seven separate areas as follows:

  • South Block: two loose boxes and five large loose boxes;
  • West Block: a loose box and a barn;
  • North Block: a cow house for twenty two beasts; a barn with a loft over; a carthorse stable for seven; a harness place; a chaff house; an engine house and an oil place;
  • Covered Yard in the Centre: a cow byre for sixteen and two yards;
  • East Block: a loose box and two piggeries;
  • Near the House: a garage and shed;
  • In the Garden: a dovehouse (“falling down”).

The valuer commented: “Most of the buildings are wood and tiled. The North Block is brick and slate and an excellent building, this is new”. During World War Two its isolated position did not save the farm from enemy action as on 9th November 1940 three high explosive bombs fell near the farmhouse [WW2/AR/CO/2/2].