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Home Farm Wrest Park

Home Farm September 2011
Home Farm September 2011

Home Farmhouse lies in Wrest Park. It was listed by the former Department of Environment in January 1985 as Grade II, of special interest. The department dated the house to the 16th century; it was reworked in the 19th century.

It is built of colour-washed roughcast render over a partly timber-framed and partly brick structure. The house has clay tile roofs. The original building was in a T-plan, with a cross-wing to the east end added in the 19th century and later 19th century blocks to rear. The house comprises two storeys. The central block ground floor was built out in the 20th century in line with
the gables.

Two hundred metres north-west of the farmhouse is an ice house which is also listed. It dates to the early 19th century and is built in brick. The department considered it "a rather sophisticated example". The circular, domed ice chamber is approximately 8.5 metres high and 4.5 metres in diameter, with an ice chute at the top. The chamber is approached by a tunnel with three pairs of air-lock doorways and a rectangular storage room halfway along. "The air-lock doors have since been removed". The entrance, set into a bank, is approached by two flights of steps from the road above. The ice house did not serve Home Farm but the mansion of Wrest Park itself.

As part of the Wrest Park Estate, Home Farm was sold along with Wrest Park itself in 1917 [AD3237]. The 9th Baron Lucas of Crudwell had been killed in action with the Royal Flying Corps on the Western Front in december 1916 and his sister, the 10th Baroness, decided to break up and sell off the estate. The sale catalogue describes the farm as follows:


Known locally as HOME FARM, situate in the Parishes of Silsoe, Clophill and Gravenhurst, about a mile from the Main Road leading from Luton to Bedford, extending to about


comprising a red brick built and slate FARM-HOUSE (occupied by the Bailiff), containing Dining Room, Drawing Room, Office, and Kitchen with Range and Oven, three Bedrooms (two fitted with Fireplaces), W. C., Outside: back Kitchen and Wash-house, Coal Store, Fowl-house, and a row of four Store-houses, all in good repair. Two good Kitchen Gardens.

A Second Residence

built of brick with part-slate and part-tiled roof. The front walls being covered in rough cast. This House has been divided into two, the main portion has the following accommodation: ENTRANCE HALL with tiled Floor and Staircase; DINING ROOM (large) with Fireplace and Bay Window; DRAWING ROOM with Fireplace and two fitted Cupboards; GOOD KITCHEN, fitted with double Range and Oven, Sink (hot and cold), Pantry and Cellar; China Closet with Fireplace; four good Bedrooms, all having Fireplaces (one fitted with hot and cold water pipes ready to be connected up as a Bathroom); W. C. OUTSIDE: Back Kitchen across enclosed yard; Flower Garden and Kitchen Garden, Tool-house.

The other portion contains two living rooms with Fireplaces, Kitchen with Sink (hot and cold), range and Oven, Dresser, Cupboards and Plate rack; Cellars. Three nice-sized Bedrooms and one small Bedroom, all fitted with Fireplaces; W. C.; OUTSIDE Brick and tiled Wash-house, Office with room over, and Tool-house. GARDEN.


Situate between the above two Houses and arranged round three separate Yards, exceptionally well planned and constructed, all built substantially of brick and slate or tile, comprise Trap-house, LOOSE BOX, ONE-STALL STABLE, TWO-STALL STABLE, COACH-HOUSE, eleven-bay open CART SHED with lean-to slate roof to outer wall, HARNESS ROOM and CHAFF ROOM, ELEVEN-STALL HORSE STABLE with studded floor, TWO-STALL STABLE. Archway to Yard adjoining; two large closed-in IMPLEMENT-HOUSES with eight-division GRANARY over, and SLAUGHTER-HOUSE with half-loft.

Seven Pigsties, two Pig Meal-houses, row of four Pigsties which could be used as Cattle Boxes. TWO OPEN CATTLE-SHEDS and HAY STORE with Hay Loft over, TOOL-HOUSE, COW-HOUSE FOR SEVEN and TWO CALF PENS, three-division Cattle Yard with ELEVEN-BAY OPEN SHED, lean-to slate roofs; Manure Pit, COW-HOUSE FOR 34, excellently fitted with half white tiled walls and up-to-date Drainage system; HAY-HOUSE; Milk Room with half tiled walls and shelves and water hot and cold. Lavatory or Dressing Room attached with two Wash-hand Basins (water from spring). COW-HOUSE FOR FOUR, fitted with half white tiled walls. FOUR LOOSE BOXES and four walled-in open YARDS adjoining.

Large open yard cemented; New Buildings comprising Fodder Room with cemented floor, half tiled walls and cement Feeding Bins; water (hot and cold) supplied from underground Storage Tank having a capacity of 5,000 gallons; Boiler-house.

Newly built ModelBuilding with NINE CALF PENS each divided by brick and cement partitions, the front dwarf wall to Alley built of white glazed bricks, fitted Feeding Troughs and Hay Racks. This Building has been very elaborately fitted and could be used as Loose Boxes if required. Manure Pit in Yard. Cart-shed for two carts. Mixing Room. ENGINE-HOUSE. MILL-HOUSE with Loft over. MIXING ROOM. Water supply. Separating Room (detached).


OLD CARPENTER'S SHOP with brick foundations, weather-boarded walls and slate roof, comprising two Shops. Newly built BLACKSMITH'S SHOP with two Forges and WHEELWRIGHT'S SHOP with lean-to roof Metal Store, all built of sandstone with tiled roof, two Cement Stores and two open dwarf wall Lumber Stores. TWO-SPAN TIMBER-SHED AND SAW PIT.

In PADDOCK … are two Loose Boxes, weather-boarded walls and thatch roof.

Also an ICE STORAGE PIT, a very spacious underground room about 30 feet below the earth surface, well ventilated.



is built of sandstone with thatch roof, and contains two Sitting Rooms, Kitchen and Wash-house, two Bedrooms up. Garden and Earth Closet.


are built of stone, with slate roofs, and each contain three rooms on the Ground Floor, Wash-house, garden and Earth Closet.

THE WATER SUPPLY to the House, Farm and Buildings is obtained from a spring and well and is good and plentiful.

The Stabling, Farmbuildings, Blacksmith's and Wheelwright's Shop are lighted by Electric Light generated on the Premises.

THE DRAINAGE to the Residences is upon the Cesspool system, and is believed to be efficient.

The FARMBUILDINGS and Yards are exceptionally well drained on a most modern system, and eminently suited for keeping a Herd of Pedigree Stock, which has been done here for many years past.

The farm land comprised deer park of 286.412 acres in Silsoe and 47.656 acres in Gravenhurst; pasture of 32.579 acres in Silsoe, 7.545 acres in Clophill and 0.468 acres in Gravenhurst; arable of 16.829 acres in Silsoe and 32.987 acres in Clophill; total area was 436.195 acres.

Home Farm, along with the mansion itself as well as other parts of the estate was bought by northern industrialist John George Murray. 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 Home Farm [DV1/H51/72] found that the farm was then in hand and without a tenant, though the farmhouse was occupied by the estate bailiff, whose name was Anstee. His accommodation comprised two reception rooms, a kitchen, two sculleries and a bathroom with four bedrooms above.

Farm buildings comprised: a barn partly used for estate stores; a hen and duck house; an eleven bay cart shed; a harness room; a chaff house; an eleven stall stable; a chaff place; a two stall stable; an implement house; a corn store with a granary over; seven piggeries; four calf pens; a further piggery; a pig hovel with lofts over; a gateway with a loft over; a cow house for six; two loose boxes with lofts over; two loose boxes with a single loft over; an eleven bay hovel; a cow house for thirty four beasts ("part tiled"); a mixing place; a cooling house ("part tiled"); four horse boxes with yards; eight piggeries ("part tiled"); a mixing house; a hay store; a cake house and root house; a mill house ("small"); an engine house; an accumulator house; another mixing house; a dairy; a two stall stable and coach house; two more loose boxes; another coach house. All these were built of brick and slate. The valuer commented: "Electric Light for Farm Buildings only".

In 1934 Murray tried to sell the Wrest Park Estate. He was unsuccessful but the sale catalogue [AD1147/23] gives us a snapshot of the estate at that date. Home Farm is described as:

The Important Agricultural Property


Extending to about
411 acres 0 roods 27 perches
Exceptionally well equipped for the maintenance of a pedigree herd.

COMFORTABLE FARMHOUSE containing: Hall, Office, Lobby, Dining Room, Drawing Room, Kitchen, Scullery, Pantry, Cellar. Four Bed Rooms, Bath Room. House Yard and Range of Offices.

Adjoining is a Cottage with Two downstair Rooms and Three Bed Rooms.

THE BAILIFF'S HOSE, placed nearby, contains: Two Sitting Rooms, Kitchen, Three Bed Rooms, together with outoffices.

Three Cottages.

Estate Yard and Buildings comprising: Large Timber Shed with triple-span roof, Stone and Tiled Blacksmith's Shop and Wheelwright's Shop.

THE EXTENSIVE MODEL SETOF FARM BUILDINGS include: Cowhouse with tyings for 34 cows, Cooling House and Wash Room, Two other Houses to tie 10 cows, extensive Piggeries, Loose Boxes, Barns, Stables, cart and Implement Sheds, Garage and other buildings.

Good Water Supply, Electric Light from private plant connected throughout the House and Buildings.

The Excellent Productive Land is principally Pasture, the Arable Land being of nice working texture.

The main portion is now in the occupation of Mr. B. J. Burton, with the Cainhill Field (Lot 3) on an Annual (Lady-day) Tenancy at the apportioned Rental of £451 7s. 6d. per annum. One of the Brabury Lodges is let to Mr. C. Dennis on a Monthly Tenancy at a Rental of £8 0s. 4d. per annum; the Estate Yard and Buildings and the Spinneys are In Hand.

The land included 95.219 acres of pasture in Silsoe, 8.72 acres of pasture in Clophill and 71.156 acres of pasture in Gravenhurst. Arable land included 20.541 acres in Silsoe, 32.987 acres in Clophill and 10.243 acres in Gravenhurst. Other land included 144.279 acres of parkland in Silsoe.