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The Elm Tree Little Barford

1 and 2 Little Barford February 2010
1 and 2 Little Barford February 2010

The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] contains information on the county’s historic buildings and landscapes and summaries of each entry can now be found online as part of the Heritage Gateway website. 1 and 2 The Village [HER 9898] are described thus: “Pair of late 19th century estate cottages. Yellow brick with red brick dressings. Banded tile roof. One storey and attics, four gabled dormer windows; the right hand pair with diamond leaded casement windows, two ground floor canted bays. Large open timber porches”.

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. Most of Bedfordshire was valued in 1927 and the valuer visiting 2 The Village [DV1/C256/3] found it owned by Lord of the Manor Charles Edmund Argentine Alington. It was occupied by Joseph Brace and was an off-licence called The Elm Tree. He paid £10/8/- in rent for a living room, kitchen and three bedrooms. A barn stood outside and a washhouse was shared with next door.

The valuer noted that nine gallons of beer per month were sold along with four dozen bottles of beer per week – a surprisingly decent trade for a village of around a hundred people. Directories for Bedfordshire reveal the following beer retailers in  Little Barford. It is certain that they were not all located at 2 The Village as it was not built, for example, in 1847. The dates are those for the directory/directories in which the individual is listed, directories were not published every year.

  • Edward Stratton, beer retailer and farm bailiff to the Lord of the Manor: 1847-1869;
  • James Baker: 1877-1898;
  • James Austin: 1903;
  • Joseph Brace: 1910-1936;
  • Herbert James Smith: 1940.