5 to 11 Church Road March 2011
5 to 11 Church Road are an attractive row of cottages along the south side of the road. They were listed by the former Department of Environment in January 1985 as Grade II, of special interest. The department dated them to about 1800. They may have been designed by the 2nd Earl de Grey a little later than this; he was a talented amateur architect who built the present Wrest Park and various other estate buildings. A map made for the Duke of Kent in 1718 shows buildings on the site.
The cottages are built from colour-washed rough-cast render, probably over a
light timber frame. They have tiled roofs and an additional bay was added to the right hand side, i.e. Number 11, in the 20th century. The listing indicates that they were "Included for group value".
A map drawn up for the 2nd Earl de Grey in 1856 [L33/12/13] shows that the cottages were differently arranged, having five tenants with the rear part of today's Number 7, where it overlaps Number 5 being separately occupied by Samuel Peddar. Number 5 was in the occupation of Thomas Upton, Number 7 William Swannell, Number 9 Joseph Cooke and Number 11 William Goodhall.
5 to 11 Church Road formed part of the Wrest Park Estate sold by auction in 1919 [L23/1000/1]. The sale particulars include the houses with 15, 17 and 21 to 29 High Street and 1 and 3 Church Road as Lot 7. 5 to 11 Church Road were then numbered 39 to 42 The Village, respectively and the whole lot was described as follows:
A BLOCK OF
Thirteen Good Cottages & Gardens
Nos. 39 to 52 inclusive (except No. 50)
Having a total Area of about
1 acre, 2 roods, 22 poles
In the occupation of Tenants, at rents amounting to
Per £41 16s. 3d. Ann.
These Cottages which are situated in Silsoe, near the Church, are built partly of brick and partly of stud and plaster with tiled roofs, and contain
The following ACCOMMODATION
Nos. 39, 41, 47 and 49. Two Rooms down and Three up.
Nos. 40, 43, 44, 46 & 58. Two Rooms down and two up.
No. 41. Three Rooms Down and Four up.
Nos. 45 and 52. Three Rooms down and One up.
No. 51. Three Rooms down and One up.
Each cottage has a Barn and Earth Closet.
The water supply is from a Well with pump on this Lot, the joint use of which with the joint liability to repair, with the owner of Cottages Nos. 24, 25 and 50 is included with this Lot.
There is also a large soft Water Tank.
The Land Tax has been apportioned for the purposes of Sale at £2 6s. 6d.
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 row of cottages was owned by the owner of Wrest Park, John George Murray who, had bought a fair amount of the estate in 1918 and 1919. He had bought all thirteen cottages in July 1919 for a combined sum of £585 to ensure they remained part of the estate.
Number 5 was occupied by J. Gunter who paid £3/16/6 per annum ("rent actually paid by F. T. Browning" - Francis Timothy Browning of 20 High Street). Accommodation comprised a living room, kitchen and two bedrooms. A brick and tiled barn and an ash pit lay outside. Number 7 was in the occupation of Charles Upton, who paid £4/9/- per annum (pre-war rent had been £3/10/- per annum) for a living room, kitchen, scullery and one bedroom. A further two bedrooms lay in the attics.
Number 9 was tenanted by John Dennis who paid £3/11/- per annum for a living room, kitchen and one bedroom. Number 11 was in the occupation of Miss E. Pratt who paid £3/16/6 per annum for a living room, kitchen and two small bedrooms. A combined barn and washhouse stood outside.
In 1934 John George Murray tried, unsuccessfully, to sell the Wrest Park Estate. The sale particulars [AD1147/23] described 1 to 11 Church Road as follows.
Six Similar Cottages [to 21-29 High Street]
with varying accommodation, situate adjacent to the above being Nos. 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11, and having Outoffices and Gardens.
Now let to Messrs. F. Colyer, C. Upton, Mrs. Browning, Mr. C. Flint, Mr. J. Dennis and Miss Pratt on Monthly tenancies at rentals amounting to £39 16s. per annum.
Two Allotments in Cage Gardens are let to Messrs A. J. Lowings and A. White at rentals amounting to 12s. per annum.