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Stagsden Well House

Fetching water during the drought of 1921 Z50-107-41
A man fetching water during the drought of 1921, he is passing Joel Cottage [Z50/107/41]

Well into the 20th century residents of Stagsden had to get their water from wells. The main source was the well house at the end of Church Row. This row of houses was demolished during the century and replaced with more substantial modern dwellings, 8-12 Church Lane.

Much of Stagsden was owned by the Crown at the beginning of the 20th century. This was because Stagsden Manor had been sold to the Crown by the executors of the Lord of the Manor George Rice Trevor, 4th Baron Dynevor, after his death in 1869. The Crown Estate was sold off by auction in 1921 in 37 lots at which time it comprised 14 farms and 3,360 acres of land. The last lot was the well house, which was described as a timber and tiled building with a deep well and a hand wheel pump; the description continued: "A License to draw water from this Wells is granted to Mr.Frank Harrison on payment of an annual acknowledgement of £1. Note - This Lot is sold subject to the continuance of the existing rights of the Crown tenants of drawing and fetching water therefrom". The postcard at the top of the page shows a man who had collected water from the well during the drought of 1921 as he walks past Church Row; the two children have been identified as Marjorie and Stanley Knott.

Frank Harrison obviously purchased the well at the auction as in 1926 he was described as owner. This part of Bedfordshire was valued in that year under the terms of the Rating Valuation Act of 1925; every building and piece of land was inspected to determine the rates to be paid on it. The valuer visiting the well house noted: "well used by cottages owned by [F] Harrison. Harrison sells the water in a dry Summer".

the site of the well house December 2007
The site of the well house December 2007

The old well house stood adjacent to the church tower. The site is set back from the road in what is now an area of trees west of Number.12 and in front of the white house, Number 14 in the photograph above.