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Highbarn House - 39 High Street Riseley

Highbarn House - 39 High Street April 2015
Highbarn House - 39 High Street April 2015

Highbarn House was listed by the former Department of Environment in June 1974 as Grade II, of special interest. It dates from the 17th century and is constructed from colour-washed roughcast on the ground floor and colour-washed plaster infill on the first floor, all over a timber frame; the roof is thatched. The house comprises two storeys and is built in a T-shape. There is a 20th century two-storey addition to the north-east elevation.

In 1912 the house and farm accompanying it was leased to William Brown by Lord Saint John at a rent of £100 per annum for 126 acres, 1 rood, 26 poles [PK7/2/9]. 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 this property [DV1/C215/78] found that it was the post office, still owned by Lord Saint John of Bletsoe and occupied by Frederick S King who was also a dairyman. His rent was £45 per annum for house, homestead and land.

The valuer commented: "Home rather large" and it comprised two reception rooms, a kitchen, a dairy and a pantry with five bedrooms above. The post office also contained a small stationary business and measured 10 feet by 12 feet 6 inches) – it was "very poor". There was also a brick and tiled washhouse, barn and tool shed and an orchard. The valuer commented: "Enormous place – far too big".

King also rented eighteen acres as well as a number of farm buildings. In a meadow were: weather-boarded and tiled stabling ("now three pigsties"), a loose box and a rough litter shelter. Behind the house were: a brick and tiled stable for two horses; a fowl shed; a two bay hovel; two cowhouses each for two beasts; a weather-boarded and tiled cowhouse for five; a chaff shed and mixing house and a brick and tiled harness room and garage.

Directories for Bedfordshire were not published every year but every few years from the early to mid-19th century until 1940. The names of those keeping the post office in Riseley are as follows:

  • 1853, 1854: Joseph Peasnell of the Five Bells;
  • 1864: George Tabron;
  • 1877, 1885, 1890, 1894, 1898: John Adams;
  • 1903: Thomas Adams;
  • 1906, 1910, 1914: Jane Adams;
  • 1920, 1924, 1928, 1931, 1936, 1940: Frederick King