14 and 16 Rotten Row Riseley
14 and 16 Rotten Row April 2015
14 and 16 Rotten Row was listed by the former Ministry of Public Buildings and Works in June 1964 as Grade II, of special interest. The house dates from the 17th century and is built of colour-washed plaster and roughcast over a timber frame, with an old clay tile roof. It is built in a T-shape and comprises two storeys and attics.
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 property [DV1/C215/42-44] found that it was then divided into three dwellings, all owned by Lord Saint John. The south-west portion was inhabited by Joseph Hancock who paid rent of £4/5/- per annum for a living room, a kitchen and two bedrooms with a weather-boarded and thatched barn outside and a "good garden". The middle property was tenanted by A Partridge who was not at home. His rent was £3/15/- for a living room, a kitchen and two bedrooms; again a thatched barn stood outside. One of his bedrooms was "over end home", presumably the north-east portion of the property which was in occupation of G Neale. He worked for Lord Saint John and had a living room, a kitchen, a scullery and two bedrooms with a thatched barn outside.
On 31st March 1951 Lord Saint John's estate in Melchbourne, Bletsoe and Riseley, known as the Melchbourne Estate and totalling 1,889 acres was put up for sale by auction in 81 lots [AD1147/32]. 12, 14 and 16 Rotten Row, as the building was then known, formed Lot 53 and stood in 3 roods, 10 poles. Each dwelling had a living room and kitchen with two bedrooms. A barn and earth closet stood outside each. Only Number 14 had electricity connected and water for all three came from a standpipe in the road. Number 12 was occupied by K Rootham, whose rent was £6 per annum, 14 by G Harris who paid £15/12/- per annum and 16 was in occupation of Mrs Wagstaff who paid rent of £7/16/- per annum. Shortly after this, in 1957, plans for alterations were drawn up [Z1169/8/61/9-10]