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The Grange Pulloxhill

The Grange March 2011
The Grange March 2011

The Grange was listed by the former Department of Environment in January 1961 as Grade II, of special interest. The department dated the property to about 1700. It is built of red brick with a chequer-work pattern in flared headers and has a hipped clay tile roof. The original structure was of two storeys and one room deep but various 19th century additions were made to the rear.

The first record we have to mention The Grange is a valuation for sale made on 12th February 1894 [SF78/0]. The brief description is as follows: an entrance hall measuring 15 feet 9 inches by 15 feet; a dining room measuring 20 feet 6 inches by 15 feet 6 inches, with three windows and Venetian blinds; a drawing room measuring 15 feet 9 inches by 11 feet 6 inches with two windows; a breakfast room measuring 15 feet 6 inches by 11 feet with a French bay window opening onto the lawn; a back passage with a lavatory (in the sense of a place to wash), a larder and a butler's pantry; a front kitchen; a scullery with hard and soft water and a large cellar; a bedroom over the drawing room measuring 16 feet by 12 feet with a fire place, two windows and Venetian blinds; a bedroom over the breakfast room measuring 14 feet by 11 feet with a fireplace and one window with a Venetian blind; a bedroom over the hall measuring 13 feet 6 inches by 16 feet with two cupboards; a fire place and two windows with Venetian blinds; a W. C.; a bedroom over the dining room measuring 20 feet 9 inches by 15 feet 9 inches with three windows and a fire place; two servants' rooms and a back staircase. Outside stood: a coal house; a small washhouse fitted with a copper for heating water; a knife house and an earth closet. There was a tennis lawn and large kitchen and pleasure gardens. Further from the house stood a granary, a harness room and a stable with a loose box and one standing, a large wood barn, an open shed, two more loose boxes, a large coachhouse, a stable with four loose boxes and a loft over and a small courtyard.

There is no record as to the name of the buyer or of the seller of The Grange in 1894. Directories for Bedfordshire, which were not published annually but every few years, give the names of the tenants of The Grange from 1898 until 1940 and the following names are taken from these directories. The dates are the dates the name first and last appears not the dates of residence:

1898: Mrs. Seabrook;
1903: Hamlin Gardner;
1906: William Browning;
1910-1914: Kenneth Gay;
1924-1940: George William Cooke 

In 1900 the secretary of the local Benevolent Society, which gave out money to the poor of the district, noted that a family named Gardner, from Maulden (obviously the Hamlin Gardner noted by Kelly's Directory in 1903) had just moved into The Grange and that he would approach them for contributions towards the fund [P54/28/8/42].

The Grange was for sale again in 1908. A report was made on 7th November for the solicitor of the prospective purchasers (unnamed) who were prepared to pay £1,800. Again the name of the seller is not given. The sale duly went through in the following month. The report reads as follows [Z740/99/8]:

"The house which is built of brick and tiled contains Entrance Hall 16 feet by 15 feet, Double Drawing Room 16 feet by 14½ feet and 14 feet by 11 feet Excluding Bay containing French window to garden (the height is 8 feet 1 inch by 7 feet 10 inches), Dining Room 20 feet by 15 feet 9 inches, with serving hatch, Larder, Pantry, Kitchen 15 feet by 12 feet 8 inches, Scullery with Copper, Sink and fireplace – in the basement are extensive cellars and on the first floor which is approached by a handsome staircase are 4 Bedrooms fitted with grates measuring respectively 20 feet 9 inches by 15 feet 10 inches, 16 feet by 13 feet 6 inches with 2 hanging cupboards; 12 feet 3 inches by 16 feet excluding alcove with cupboard and shelves; 14 feet 2 inches by 11 feet 2 inches, W. C., Bath Room with hot and cold supply, Lavatory Basin, Hot Cupboard and Housemaid Taps (all these fittings are new) and Servants Bed room".

"At the back of the house is a Brick and Tiled range containing Coal Place, Lamp Room, Boot Room and Closet. The brick and Tiled Stabling is good and comprises 2 Loose Boxes, open shed and Store Barn; 2 Loose Boxes, man's Room (floor here let down by rats) Covered Washing Place, Staffordshire brick paved Harness Room with grate, 4 Excellent Loose Boxes with Staffordshire bricked floors and double Coach House – Enclosing a stable yard".

"The flower Gardens are well laid out, are planted with rose trees of all descriptions. There are lawns for tennis and croquet and the walks are crossed at intervals with rustic arches".

"The fruit and vegetable gardens have been well kept and a number of young fruit trees have been recently planted".

"The total area of the House and grounds is 1 acres, 3 roods, 2 poles".

"The property also includes the pasture land which adjoins the gardens and has a frontage to two roads. It contains nearly 20 acres (to be exact we believe 19 part of which has been occupied with the house and part let off)".

"This close has the reputation of being one of the best Enclosures of pasture in the parish and would always let – we could let it for 40/- an acre easily and perhaps could get more".

"We understand that the rent of the House has varied from £40 to £45 and from what we can gather it has always been occupied by a tenant who did not keep more than one horse and to whom consequently the very excellent stabling was of no value. Such a one would look at the house only and would pay rent for it only. £45 in our opinion does not represent the annual rental of the House, stabling and gardens to a man who keeps sufficient horses to use the stables".

"The House is in a fair state of decorative repair having apparently been painted and papered from top to bottom by the present owner on entry – there are some places where the paper has faded and some damage was done when the furniture was removed".

"The property is not an easy one to value for the reason that it would not be everyone's choice: - for instance the House is rather too near the road and the windows overlook the churchyard".

"If the property were offered in the market we are of opinion that a man who did not want it for occupation would buy it as a speculation at £1,600 and if a man did want a comfortable house in the country with excellent stabling, a good garden and 20 acres of valuable pasture land he would not hesitate to go up to £2,000. The mean between these two amounts is £1,800 and it seems to us that such a sum is not an excessive one provided the stabling is to be used".

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 Grange in September 1926 [DV1/H38/10] found that the owner and occupier was George William Cook who farmed twenty acres. The valuer commented: "Saw Mr. Cook said ground very wet and not drained". Another hand has written: "all Pulloxhill Farm Houses haven't the land to justify more than the prices put on them".

The Grange itself comprised two reception rooms, a kitchen, a scullery, four bedrooms and a bathroom. Outside stood an earth closet, a coal house, a wood barn and a store barn. Water came from a pump in the yard.

The farm buildings comprised:

  • South Block: a wood and corrugated iron food store; a brick and tiled cow house for eight;
  • West Block: a brick and tiled cow house for five; a store barn; a one bay open cart shed; a food store and wood and corrugated iron cooling house;
  • North Block: four brick and tiled loose boxes and a garage.

In 1961 the owner, Marion Sheppard received planning permission for alterations [PL/P/AR61/218]. She was later to be a leader of Bedfordshire County Council. In 1968 the Vicar, Rev. Burman made a drawing for a proposed communion rail in the church [P13/2/2/7]. This was based on the balusters on the staircase at The Grange and would be made by the vicar himself at the vicarage.