Charity Farm, Marston Moretaine
Charity Farm stands to the northwest of the village of Marston Moretaine on the south-west side of Beancroft Road. The farmhouse dates from the early 17th century. It is listed by Heritage England as Grade II, of special interest. The house has a substantial timber frame infilled with red brick and covered with colourwashed render. The roof is of clay tile. The bay of the main block nearest to the road stands on a substantial coursed limestone plinth. The main block has two storeys with three bays, with a gable end facing the road. It extends into an adjoining single storey block with attics, which was added later and forms and L-plan, bordering the road. The north-west elevations have a variety of casement windows, with three to each floor, some with glazing bars and others with 20th century leaded lights. Two blocked mullioned windows can be seen at first floor level. The central bay has a doorway to which a 20th century hipped porch has been added. A red brick multiple ridge chimney stack serves the two right-hand bays. The roof is half-hipped. The elevation facing the road has a two-light casement window to each floor of the main block gable, with a blocked mullioned window to the attic. The left-hand block has one 2-light casement to the ground floor and two gabled dormer windows with casements. There is a red brick external chimney stack to the left hand gable end. [Heritage Environment Record 5051]
A terrier (record of land held by an institution) dating from 1760 shows that a Charity Farm called Clapwell was situated at Marston Moretaine and belonged to the Taylor’s Charity of Bedford. The terrier gives details of the property and its acreage [reference P1/25/31]. As the charity is known to have held property in Lower Shelton, and Charity Farm in Beancroft Road belonged in the 19th century to the Revis Charity it seems likely that this refers to a different farm.
A series of records held at Bedfordshire Archives dated March-April 1882 show that in 1842 at the time of the tithe apportionment for the parish of Marston Moretaine the farm was owned by the Newport Charity and occupied by a Mr. Webb. By 1882 the owner was the Revis Charity [reference BMB4/1/8/17]. A later document, 23 October 1884, includes a valuation of the property of the Revis Charity [reference BMB4/1/9/140].
The farm subsequently came into the hands of the Sanders or Saunders family. When Thomas Sanders died in 1912 a probate valuation was made of his farming stock, household furniture and effects at both Charity Farm and at East End Farm in Cranfield [reference BMB4/1/16/58].
In March 1919 a sale catalogue describes the property as being 81 acres, 2 roods and 23 perches and in the occupation of John Saunders [reference X245/54]. It seems that the Saunders were originally tenant farmer who then bought the farm, probably at this time, as when the farm was valued under the Rating and Valuation Act of 1925 it was both owned and occupied by Emma Saunders [reference DV1/H47/6].
Another sale catalogue for Charity Farm dated 8 July 1939 states that the sale is being made under instructions from the executors of the late Mrs Emma Sanders. The property at this time comprised a farmhouse, farm buildings, arable and pasture land totalling 81 acres, 1 rood and 24 perches [reference PK2/2/528].
In the late 20th century a long-cross halfpenny of Henry IV (1399-14) was found at Charity Farm by a metal detector [Heritage Environment Record 15923].