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Shillington Bury

Shillington Bury April 2015
Shillington Bury April 2015

Shillington Bury was listed by the former Department of Environment in June 1975 as Grade II, of special interest. It was described as a house, which was then divided into three dwellings, which had 16th century origins, though reworked in the 19th century. It is of timber-framed construction with roughcast rendering, though the ground floor, in common with a number of half-timbered buildings in the village, was rebuilt in brick. The house has clay tiled roofs and comprises two storeys in an H-plan with additions to the rear. There is a small 20th century flat-roofed addition to the left-hand gable end.

The house stands near the site of a medieval manor house. The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] contains information on the county's historic buildings and landscapes and summaries of each entry can now be found online as part of the Heritage Gateway website. Entry 2563 records earthworks and ponds to the south of the Bury which are thought to be the remains of the medieval manor house site for the Manor of Shillington.

Being the principal seat of the manor, the house was in the same ownership as the Manor of Shillington into the 20th century. 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 Bury [DV1/C63/65] found it owned by the Lady of the Manor, Mrs Hanscombe. The occupier was J C Tunnard whose rent of £100 per annum had been set in 1922.

The ground floor comprised:a lounge hall measuring 20 feet by 18 feet; a study measuring 12 feet 3 inches by 14 feet; a kitchen ("north") measuring 12 feet 3 inches by 20 feet; a scullery ("big"); a larder; a cloakroom and lavatory; a pantry; a dining room measuring 13 feet 6 inches by 23 feet 6 inches and a conservatory measuring 11 feet by 18 feet 6 inches. Upstairs were: a bathroom ("very small and poor"); a dressing room over part of the dining room and measuring 13 feet by 10 feet; a double bedroom over part of the dining room and measuring 14 feet by 14 feet 6 inches; a single bedroom over the hall 13 feet 6 inches by 13 feet; a housemaid's store room; a single bedroom over the study and measuring 17 feet by 12 feet; a single bedroom over the cloakroom measuring 14 feet by 12 feet 6 inches; a maids' room for two over the kitchen; a maids' bedroom over the scullery and "up to two more" bedrooms. There was also a cellar.

The valuer noted: "lighting by oil lamps, water pumped from well, drainage to cess-pit". Outside stood: an old brick and tiled washhouse used as stores; a weather-boarded and corrugated iron studio; a garage; a corn store ("locked"); another garage; a stock place ("locked"); a wood barn; three store places; a stoke house for the kitchen and bathroom only; a kitchen garden and grounds. The valuer remarked: "All rooms very small and only one double bedroom. Three reception, three single bedrooms, one dressing room. Very lettable however to a certain type of tenant. Rent £100 all up seems high". Another hand wrote  "One small bathroom, close to farm buildings, no light. Think rent very high. Few bedrooms, £75"; another comment: "was a farmhouse and was well built, there is no dampness. Not very well planned – lot of passage but would be very lettable" and finally: "Full repairing here ("good and substantial") including structural repairs"

There was also a farm, which had been sold to Bedfordshire County Council and was occupied by E Payne at an annual rent of £90/5/-. The valuer noted: "good house and buildings" and "Good house, buildings lot of thatch and expensive". The land comprised 52 acres. The farmhouse contained two living rooms, two kitchens, a washhouse, a pantry, four bedrooms and a barn. The homestead comprised: a wood and corrugated iron calf pen; a brick, wood and thatched barn and granary; a brick, wood and slate stable for five horses; a wood and corrugated iron barn; an open shed and two piggeries; two wood and tiled piggeries; a wood and corrugated iron six bay open shed; a wood and slate barn; a wood and corrugated iron cart shed and a wood and thatched barn.

Directories for Bedfordshire were published every few years from the mid 19th century until 1940. The following occupiers of the Bury are listed: 1920 Major Bernard Thornton; 1924-1940 Captain John Charles Tunnard. The following people are listed at Bury Farm: 1854 Joseph Pestell; 1862 Miss Pestell; 1864 Mary and Harriett Pestell; 1877-1890 William Simkins; 1894 Georgina Agnes Simkins; 1906 James Burckitt; 1920-1924 John Burckitt. In 1953 and 1956 the trustees of the late William Handscombe held auction sales of the contents of the Bury [HE256-257].