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Yew Tree Farm Southill

Yew Tree Farmhouse about 1920
Yew Tree Farmhouse about 1920 [Z1306/106]

A plaque on the exterior of Yew Tree Farmhouse indicates that it was built by Samuel Whitbread II in 1801, being restored in 1885 and 1915. It is constructed of brick and has a pebble-dash rendering with a hipped clay tile roof. It consists of two storeys and has a single storey block projecting to the rear. It stands near the school and was listed by the former Department of Environment as Grade II, of special interest. The listing notes: "Included for group value".

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 Yew Tree Farm noted that it was owned by the Whitbread Estate, that it contained 18.056 acres, was rented for £60 per annum and was "by Village School". The valuer commented: "Small grass holding by school about 18 acres. Tenant [A.Brown] now bankrupt [June 1927]. To be farmed by Estate till Michaelmas 1927. Very dilapidated house, scarcely fit to live in". Another hand has added: "A little lettable holding". Kelly's Directory for 1928 lists Frederick Roberts at the farm.

 Yew Tree Farmhouse seen from the childrens playground March 2008
Yew Tree Farmhouse seen from the childrens playground March 2008

The house comprised three living rooms, a kitchen, pantry, two bedrooms, a box room and an attic. The homestead contained wood and tile barn and granary, onion shed, four cow sheds, a three bay open shed, a granary, a wash-house with a copper, stabling for two horses and a coal shed. In the field were open cow sheds and there were small pigsties in the rickyard "all very dilapidated and poor".