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Knotting Green Farm

Knotting Green Farmhouse April 2015
Knotting Green Farmhouse April 2015

Knotting Green Farm was listed by the former Ministry of Works in May 1952 as Grade II, of special interest. It is thought to date from the late 16th or early 17th century, though it as extended in the 19th century. It is built of red brick and has a modern clay-tiled roof. The original building formed a T-shape with the later extension in one of the angles, a later porch in the other. The building has two storeys and attics. The farm formed part of the Manor of Knotting.

In 1882 the Lord of the Manor, the Duke of Bedford, sold his estate at Knotting to Charles Magniac of Sharnbrook [X547/24], Knotting Green Farm was then in occupation of William Robinson and comprised 386 acres, 7 poles. Magniac went bankrupt in 1894 and it was purchased by Samuel Howard Whitbread of Southill Park [X547/41]. At this date the farm contained 380.737 acres. Samuel Whitbread then sold the estate to Albert Edward Bowen of Colworth Park in 1917 [X547/49].

In 1917 the tenant was Joseph Pike and he objected to having to plough up some of his pasture for use as arable [WW1/AC/OP2/102]. This action had been imposed on him, as on others in the county and country, as a response to the threat by German U-Boats which were starving the country into submission. Fortunately the introduction of the convoy system abated the U-Boat threat.

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 the farm [DV1/H17/8] found that it was now owned as well as occupied by Joseph Pike who had evidently bought it from the estate. It contained 382 acres and included ten cottages. Before he bought the farm Pike had paid rent of £40 per annum for 78 acres. The valuer commented: “Good water and buildings, fair road frontage. Farmed with 21 acres rented from Towler (rent not fixed) and 57 acres rented from Parsons, rent £28/10/- per year all adjoining farm”.

The farmhouse contained two reception rooms, a kitchen, scullery and pantry with four bedrooms above. Three attics occupied the second floor. There was a bath in one of the bedrooms and a WC, water for the bath being pumped from a reservoir. Outside was a detached brick and slate coachhouse and nag stable, a fuel house, a dairy with a copper for heating water and an earth closet.

The farm buildings comprised a main range and a number of smaller ranges. The main range, at the back of the house, comprised a mixing house with a copper, a cow house for ten beasts, a barn, a meal house, an engine house, a three-bay implement shed, a carthorse stable for ten and a harness room.

The smaller ranges were as follows:

  • Next to the road were four brick and slate ranges (all “very good”)enclosing three cattle yards and comprising: a loose box and a four-bay open shed; a fowl house and four loose boxes; two four-bay open sheds; four pigsties and two loose boxes;
  • In the rickyard was a wood and slate seven-bay implement shed;
  • In a field was an old wood and tiled sheep shed

In 1944 the farm was offered for sale by auction by the trustees of former owner, James Prince, who had died [BML10/40/2] . The farm now contained 500.784 acres as well as the farmhouse and ten cottages. The particulars detailed, for the farmhouse:

  • a stone-flagged entrance hall;
  • a dining room measuring 16 feet by 16 feet “fitted with modern tiled grate and hearth with cupboard in recess”;
  • a drawing room measuring 13 feet 3 inches by 16 feet “with modern tiled grate and hearth”;
  • a breakfast room measuring 19 feet 3 inches by 16 feet “with tiled floor and fitted modern tiled grate and hearth and oak mantel, two cupboards in recesses and dresser with cupboards under”;
  • a “commodious” kitchen “with tiled floor and fitted with Ideal Boiler, deep well sink with hot and cold supplies, also built-in airing cupboard”;
  • a “convenient” pantry and store, two dry cellars and a wine cellar;
  • four bedrooms measuring 16 feet by  17 feet, 18 feet by 16 feet 6 inches, 18 feet by 15 feet 3 inches and 13 feet 3 inches by 11 feet respectively;
  • “the well-appointed Bathroom with half-tiled walls, modern enclosed bath with chromium plated fittings and spray, heated towel rail, Airing Cupboard with heating coils”;
  • Separate WC and housemaid’s cupboard
  • Two “roomy” bedrooms and two store rooms on the second floor

“The house is illuminated by Calor Gas installation and gas points in all the Reception Rooms, Hall and Domestic Offices on the Ground Floor, and to all the Bedrooms, Bathroom, WC and Landing on the First Floor”.

In 1962 planning permission was sought to extend a Dutch barn [RDBP6/62/179A]. The farm was again offered for sale in 1985 [PY/E17/172]. By this time the farm’s acreage had risen to 1,300 as Knotting Green Farms now included not only the original Knotting Green farm but also Higham Park Farm in Northamptonshire (347.36 acres), Town Farm, Souldrop (249.08 acres) and Manor Farm, Thurleigh (184.12 acres).

The farmhouse was now rather different in terms of room sizes. It now comprised a hall, a drawing room measuring 18 feet 9 inches by 15 feet, a sitting room measuring 16 feet by 13 feet, a dining room measuring 22 feet by  16 feet, a kitchen measuring 17 feet 6 inches by 14 feet 8 inches and a separate WC with four bedrooms of similar size to 1944, a bathroom and four attic rooms. The cellar now contained a “new Potterton oil-fired central heating boiler”. Outside “to the rear and side of the house are two outbuildings of brick and tile providing garaging for three cars, two 600 gallon oil storage tanks, WC and several large store rooms”.

In 1989 planning permission was sought to extend the house [BorBTP/89/889/LB]. Other planning applications were for the erection of a garage and garden wall [BorBTP/90/0619/LB] and alterantions to dwelling and garden wall [BorBTP/90/1659/LB].