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Newbury Manor Silsoe

Newbury Manor in 1981 [Z156/41]
Newbury Manor in 1981 [Z156/41]

Newbury Farm lies on the site of Newbury Manor House and the current name of the farmhouse reflects this. That this is the site of the ancient manor house is confirmed by two moats which usually mark the site of manor houses. Thus the ownership of the manor house, at least until the early 20th century is equivalent to the ownership of the manor itself.

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. The entry for the first moat [HER 217] states: "The site consists of the larger of two moats associated with Newbury Farm, plus fishponds and leats. The moated enclosure is square, with arms measuring approx 60 metres in length. The moat is 12 metres wide and has been backfilled on its south-west and part of its north-west side to allow for the construction of buildings. On the island are the remains of the post-medieval farmhouse and two ornamental outhouses. Three fishponds are associated with the moat and connected by a series of leats; one of the leats connects to the second moat".

The second moat [HER 218] is described as follows: "The smaller of two moated enclosures associated with Newbury Farm. Connected to the complex of fishponds by a leat. Rectangular in form, measuring 55 metres by 40 metres inclusive of the moat, which is 6 metres wide. The original entrance causeway survives, facing Newbury Farm, but there is also a modern bridge. There are no indications of buildings on the island, and it is possible that the moat was part of the fishpond complex rather than enclosing any structures.

The farmhouse, now Newbury Manor was listed by the former Department of Environment in January 1985 as Grade II, of special interest. The department dated the property to the late 16th century meaning that it was probably built by a member of the Daniel family. It was reworked in the 19th century. It is built of red brick with ashlar dressings, some of the ashlar having been rendered. The roofs are made of clay tiles. The plan is described as "complex" and as "apparently originally a hall block and cross-wings, with 19th century gables to the rear and side elevations". The building comprises two storeys and attics.

In 1845 specifications of the farm were drawn up for its owner, the 2nd Earl de Grey of Wrest Park [L26/457-458]. It then comprised 267 acres and 1 pole in both Silsoe and Flitton. It was let to William Peppercorn Squire for £400 per annum.

In 1908 the 9th Baron Lucas of Crudwell, owner of the Wrest Park Estate agreed to let Newbury Farm to Samuel Paterson for £286/10/- per annum [L23/259]. The 9th Baron was killed on active service with the Royal Flying Corps on the Western Front in December 1916. He was succeeded by his sister Nan Ino, 10th Baroness Lucas of Crudwell and she began breaking up the estate and selling it off. In August 1918 the farm was sold to its tenant Samuel Paterson for £8,000 [L23/251]. Paterson immediately borrowed £5,333 from the Baroness as mortgage [L23/255].

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 Newbury Farm [DV1/H51/42] found it still owned and occupied by Samuel Paterson who farmed 260 acres.

The valuer commented: "Sir T[rustram Eve] knows pre-war rent. Water pumped from well, well used for Buildings, does not fail". Another hand has written "Good Farm, know it by heart".

The farmhouse comprised two reception rooms, an office, a kitchen, a scullery, a dairy and a pantry. Five bedrooms and a boxroom lay above along with a bathroom and W. C. Another boxroom lay in the attic. Outside lay a cellar, a coal house, store place, a garage and a stable used as a chaff house.

The homestead comprised: a horse box; a cooling house; a loose box; a cow house for sixteen beasts; a cow house for thirteen and a cow house for nine; a cake house; a root house with a loft over; an engine house; a bull pen; a six bay hovel; an eight bay hovel;  three bay lean-to shed; a horse box and three bay hovel; a five bay cart shed; a chaff house with a loft over; a four bay implement shed; an implement house; a six stall stable; another chaff house and a four bay hovel. All buildings were constructed of brick and slate.

In 1981 Newbury Manor was for sale and the particulars [Z156/41] state that it had recently been modernised, re-wired, re-plumbed and redecorated. Accommodation comprised: a porch; a hall; an inner hall; a cloakroom; a drawing room, facing south-west, measuring 17 feet 3 inches by 14 feet 9 inches; a dining room, facing south-west, measuring 16 feet 1 inch by 16 feet 2 inches; a kitchen and breakfast room, facing north-east and west, with a breakfast area; a utility room; a family room facing north-east, measuring 16 feet 6 inches by 14 feet and a study measuring 9 feet 6 inches by 7 feet 3 inches. Upstairs were five bedrooms, two bathrooms and a separate W. C. A tank room measuring 15 feet by 16 feet lay in the attic along with five other rooms measuring, respectively, 11 feet 7 inches by 11 feet 9 inches, 11 feet 6 inches by 13 feet 6 inches, 13 feet by 11 feet 9 inches, 14 feet by 10 feet 9 inches and 10 feet 5 inches by 11 feet.

Three commercial sized greenhouses lay outside along with a garden store, two single garages, a dairy, a Victorian stable block measuring 40 feet by 18 feet and a four bay open barn. The grounds covered about five acres.

Directories for Bedfordshire, which were not published annually but every few years, give the names of the tenants and owners of Newbury Farm from 1845 until 1940 and the following names are taken from these directories. The dates are the dates the name first and last appears not the dates of residence:

1845-1871: William Peppercorn Squire;
1877: Edward Frederick Squire;
1885-1894: Edward Squire;
1898-1903: Samuel Taylor Maddams;
1906-1931: Samuel Paterson;
1936-1940: Hugh Charles Harris.