Gracious Farm Southill
Gracious Farmhouse from the east March 2008
Gracious Farmhouse is a very old building; when the former Department of Environment listed it as Grade II in 1966, they considered that it had been built around 1600, though it also has later additions and alterations. It has a substantial timber-framed construction with colour-washed rough-cast render over the top and a clay tile roof. Most noticeable is the front which is jetted - in other words the first floor juts out over the ground floor.
In 1927 Southill was valued under the Rating Valuation Act 1925; every piece of land and building in the country was assessed to determine the rates to be paid on it. The valuer visiting Gracious Farm noted that it was owned by the Whitbread Estate and tenanted by J.D.King. The farm comprised 400 acres and rent was £800 per annum. The valuer commented: "Very useful farm handy to main roads. House and Homestead in Southill Village. Buildings good and suitably built, some old but being repaired. Foreman lives in House". Another hand commented: "Plenty of buildings - wood and tile mostly. Old fashioned house - standing up to road. Very good land…well roaded. House not good enough for 400 acres".
Gracious Farmhouse from the west March 2008
The house comprised two living rooms, a kitchen, dairy and scullery, four good bedrooms and three small; water was laid on. The homestead comprised a number of blocks; a wood and tile trap house and cow sheds for twenty beasts lay near the house. An eastern block comprised a loose box, large barn, cow sheds for eight beasts ("used for calves"), a four bay open shed, two loose boxes and a five bay open shed in the yard. A southern block contained a barn, bull house, three loose boxes and a two bay shed. A western block comprised a loose box, chaff house, stabling for thirteen horses, a granary. A cart shed and mixing house at the back of the yard. In the stack yard lay five loose boxes and pigsties.