Skip Navigation

Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Home > Community Histories > Kempston Rural > Old Farm Kempston Rural

Old Farm Kempston Rural

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

Old Farm used to be known as West End Farm, which must have led to confusion as there was another West End Farm a mile or so further north along West End Road and another nearby in the parish of Stagsden. The farmhouse was listed by English Heritage in August 1987 as Grade II, of special interest. It dates from the 17th century with 19th century extensions and alterations and is timber-framed with colourwashed roughcast render applied to the exterior walls. The house comprises one storey and attics beneath an old clay tiled roof. A rear wing was added later, built of brick which was then colourwashed. It also comprises one storey and attics beneath a tiled roof. There is also a one storey extension to the north-east, colourwashed brick and render beneath an old clay tiled 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. The valuer visiting West End Farm, as it was then known, [DV1/H1/34] found that it was owned and occupied by S. D. Handley and comprised 276 acres with five tied cottages. The valuer commented: “Heavy land. 5½ miles from Bedford, nearest station and market. Farm lies a long way about”.

The farmhouse comprised a sitting room, dining room, drawing room, kitchen, cellar, pantry and dairy with four bedrooms upstairs along with a dressing room, bathroom and W. C. A coal house and W. C. stood nearby outside. The valuer commented: “Water from well in garden. Not good supply for house”.

There was a large barn and a cow byre for eight beasts in a field. The homestead comprised the following:

  • South Block: a garage and hackney stable; a carthorse stable for five horses; two loose boxes with a chaff loft over; a three bay open hovel; a cow byre for six; three calf pens; a loose box; a mixing place and four pigsties;
  • North Block: a three bay open shed; a pigeon loft; a two bay open shed; a hen house and loose box;
  • West Block: a large barn; a smaller barn; a two bay open hovel and mixing place and a chaff barn;
  • Stockyard: a Dutch barn; a cart shed; a wood place and a smithy.

The valuer commented: “Buildings nearly all wood and tile except a barn which is brick and corrugated iron. Very cold set of Buildings. Water pumped from pond and well (Bad water)”.

Just to the north were West End Farm Cottages (today one dwelling). The valuer visiting these [DV1/C2/45-46] found the southern portion occupied by H. Langley and the northern by J. Darlow. Each comprised a living room, a front room and a scullery with three bedrooms upstairs. A barn and an earth closet both stood outside. Water was pumped from a well. The valuer commented: “Excellent Cottages”. Another hand has written: “Very good, but farm”.

In 1944 the farm buildings had to be rebuilt after a fire [RDBP3/374]. Calf pens were added in 1945 [RDBP3/450] and a cow shed in 1946 [RDBP3/635]. The farm was still called West End Farm in 1955 when it was put up for sale by auction. The sale particulars [CS/HWN1/2/21] noted under general remarks: “The farm, until recently has been the home of a well known pedigree Friesian herd and the buildings are conveniently arranged for dairy and mixed farming”. The particulars read as follows:

165.023 acres
(and about 5½ acres of Herbage to Verges appurtenant)
A T. T. Attested

Is of brick roughcast and tile construction, close to the road and containing the following accommodation: -

On the Ground Floor
LOBBY, with principal staircase.
DRAWING ROOM, 15 feet 3 inches by 11 feet 3 inches, bay window, fireplace, boarded door.
DINING ROOM, 12 feet by 11 feet 9 inches, bay window, fireplace, wood block floor.
MORNING ROOM, tiled fireplace, wood block floor.
KITCHEN, sink (hot and cold), ideal boiler, tiled floor, back staircase.

On the First Floor
FOUR BEDROOMS, measuring 15 feet 6 inches by 12 feet, 14 feet 6 inches by 7 feet 9 inches, 16 feet 9 inches by 11 feet and 15 feet 6 inches by 14 feet 9 inches respectively
BATHROOM, bath (hot and cold), lavatory basin (hot and cold)
Separate W. C.

Main Water, Main Electricity with power points in all principal rooms. Drainage to cesspit. At the front of the house is a small walled garden adjoined by a brick, timber and pantile LARGE GARAGE, brick and timber GARDEN STORE, brick and iron COAL SHED.


Adjoin the road, a short distance from the Homestead and comprise a well built pair of brick and slate dwellings each containing

Three Bedrooms, two Living Rooms, Kitchen with sink

Barn, Closet, garden

Main Water and Electricity are connected

are situated to the north of the house and form a very good Homestead, mainly of modern buildings with water and electricity and described as follows:

Recently erected brick, concrete block and asbestos

DOUBLE RANGE COWSHED FOR 44 COWS with double doors at either end, concrete granolithic floor, tubular yoke stalls, water bowls and feed passages.

Modern DAIRY, BOILER HOUSE and Milking machine Place.

Brick, timber and pantile MIXING PLACE.

Brick and asbestos FODDER STORE.

Two STOCK YARDS with main water and 2-bay and 4-bay OPEN HOVELS.

The Yards are enclosed by: -

Brick, timber and pantile RANGE of FOUR BOXES.

Brick and iron BOX.

Brick and asbestos RANGE of FIVE BOXES.

TWO LARGE MODERN BARNS, one of brick and iron and the other of brick and asbestos, the latter with large brick and asbestos Lean-to STORE, all with concrete floors.

Nearby brick, timber and iron 7-BAY IMPLEMENT SHED with OIL STORE

Steel framed 5-BAY DUTCH BARN (30 feet by 18 feet bays)

Timber, pantile and iron CARPENTER’S and BLACKSMITH’S SHOP

The land comprised 40.925 acres of arable and 121.306 acres of pasture, the remainder being buildings and orchard.

Old Farm Cottage March 2012
Old Farm Cottage March 2012