Skip Navigation

Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Home > Community Histories > Shillington > Hanscombe End Farm Shillington

Hanscombe End Farm Shillington

Hanscombe End Farm April 2015
Hanscombe End Farm April 2015

Hanscombe End Farm was listed by the former Department of Environment in July 1975 as Grade II, of special interest. It dates from the 17th century, though altered in the 19th. It is timber-framed with colourwashed roughcast render and has clay tiled roofs. It has two storeys and attics and is built in a T-plan. A 19th century verandah extends along the whole ground floor

In 1729 Thomas Joyce of Hitchin [Hertfordshire] made his will in which he left his farm in Hanscombe End, which was occupied by Samuel Mead, to his cousin Edward Lacy's son of the same name, who lived in Pirton [Hertfordshire]. This may, or may not, be the same building and farm, without more evidence it is impossible to say.

In 1824 Elizabeth Whittingstall of Watford, Hertfordshire made her will and devised Hanscombe End Farm to her cousin William Bean. Elizabeth died the same year [X95/217]. William Bean died in 1867 leaving ten children of whom the eldest was John George Whittingstall Bean. In 1868 John George Whittingstall Bean married Louisa May Weatherstead and Hanscombe End Farm formed part of their pre-nuptial settlement. The farm had a mortgage on it for £250 and in 1870 Little Ion Field in Lower Gravenhurst was sold to Countess Cowper [X95/227]. Information supplied by Louisa May's g-g-granddaughter shows that the farm passed into the hands of Louisa May following John G W Bean's death in 1879. Louisa May remarried in 1880 and became Louisa May Verchild.  On her death in 1924 she left the farm equally to the remaining children of John G W Bean who were alive at her death.

The farm was generally occupied by tenants. In 1824 it was in the occupation of William King but by 1841 it was in the tenancy of John Francis. It would appear that John married a widow Mary Fossey who had a son called William and a daughter called Elizabeth as by 1861 John Francis has died and William Fossey is the tenant farmer living at Handscombe End with his widowed mother and sister. Also at the farm on census night 1861 were Ann Fossey, William's niece, and James W Bean, presumably one of the owner's sons. By 1871 only William and his sister occupy the farm. After William dies aged 63 in 1876 it is unclear who took over the farm until George Palmer takes over the tenancy sometime between 1903 and 1906, the latter being when his is first mentioned in a directory. George had been a butcher in Apsley End prior to taking on the tenancy. In the directory of 1910 Mrs George Palmer is listed as tenant and the next, 1914, lists Edwin Palmer. He was replaced in 1921 by Harry Pepworth [Z740/111/16]. He was still at the farm at the time of the last directory for the county in 1940.