Village Farmhouse Milton Ernest
Village Farmhouse 1962 [Z53/82/9]
Village Farmhouse was listed by English heritage in August 1987 as Grade II, of special interest. It has a date stone on the central chimney stack - RTM 1670. The initials are the same as those on a date stone for 1669 on Stone Cottage. There is no indication who RTM may have been, the name initials do not coincide with the Rolt family, Lords of the Manor of Bassets or the Turnor family, lords of the Manor of Milton Ernest. The name of the Lord of the Manor of Balls at this date is not known.
The house is built of coursed limestone rubble and comprises two storeys and attics beneath a modern tiled roof. The building originally had three rooms downstairs, with a back-to-back hearth between two of them
The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 stated that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. The valuer visiting Village Farm [DV1/H19/10] found that it was owned and occupied by Frederick Cross. The farm comprised 127 acres. The valuer noted: “Meadow land floods … land compact. Part of Homestead is rented from Mrs Harrison at about £6 per annum”. Another hand, writing on 21st February 1927 wrote: “House thatched – also large barn . Useful land – but part of arable bad. Some grass floods. Farm spoilt by railway severance”.
The farmhouse contained two reception rooms, a kitchen, a scullery and a pantry on the ground floor. There were three bedrooms above and three attics above that. Outside stood a dairy and a garage. Water came from a pump (“good”).
The homestead comprised the following buildings:
- North range: stone and thatched barn with a loft over; cowhouse for eight;
- East range: two bay shelter shed; stone and tiled barn which was rented; timber and corrugated iron five stall stable and box, loose box and chaffhouse; three brick, stone and corrugated iron pigsties and a mealhouse;
- South range stone and thatched open shed, timber and corrugated iron cart shed
- By house three small calf boxes;
- Buildings rented for £18 along with an allotment which was let for £12 a stone and tiled barn, a timber and tiled open hovel, four timber and tiled (“bad”) inclosing a small cattle yard.
In 1991 planning permission was gained for the erection of 267 buildings and a garden centre on Village Farm land [BorBTP/91/0817]. Directories for Bedfordshire were produced from the mid 19th century until 1940. The following farmers at Village Farm are recorded:
- 1910, 1914, 1920: William Turner;
- 1924, 1928, 1931, 1936: Frederick Cross;
- 1940: Ibbott Brothers
Village Farmhouse February 2011