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West Farm Stagsden

Bakers Barn in December 2007
Bakers Barn in December 2007

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. Click on the thumbanil below to see a larger version of the map accompanying the 1921 auction sale particulars; West Farm land is coloured mauve.

 West Farm is Lot 11

One of the farms sold was West Farm, which comprised Lot 11. The sale catalogue described it as follows [X67/383]: "A COMPACT SMALL HOLDING of about 119 acres with House and Homestead…The HOUSE, brick, timber-framed, rough-cast and tiled, contains: Entrance Porch with tiled floor, Living Room, front, with cooking range and 2 cupboards, BACK PASSAGE, back door, with tiled floor, cupboards and shelving; Parlour with boarded floor, fireplace with tiled surround and hearth, and 2 cupboards; Kitchen with brick floor, copper, stone sink, and cupboard under stairs; Dairy with brick floor; and 5 Bedrooms. The HOMESTEAD consists of Buildings, principally stone and tiled, comprising: Brewhouse with brick floor, open fireplace, copper and baking oven, Meal House with cement floor, Open Cattle Shed, 3 bays, Barn with asphalte floor, Stable for 4 horses with Loft over, timber and tiled, Open Cattle Shed, 2 bays, and 2 Loose Boxes. These Buildings enclose 2 open Yards and are supplied with water from well and pump".

The land included fields with the following names: Bury Mead Close; Dane's Close; The Great Park (probably the site of Hugh de Beauchamp's animal park); Lambert's Close; Meadow Field; The Park and West End Field. The farm was let to Arthur Prickett at an annual rent of £135. In 1926 when this part of Bedfordshire was valued under the Rating Valuation Act of 1925 the owner of the farm was H.M. Office of Woods; the rent and acreage were the same as in 1921; the valuer noted that before the Great War the acreage had been only 48 acres. The valuer commented [DV1/H/1]: "Very wet farm" but of the dwelling he said: "Comfortable house", of the outbuildings: "The…buildings are old but in good condition. Done up last Spring. Buildings barely sufficient".

Laura Lilian Prickett kept an account book between 1943 and 1982 [X816/1]; they reveal that the farm seems to have been given up in 1946 as that is the last year in which money is received for crops and the latter part of 1946 has an entry labelled "Unemployment Book" and from November that year income is wages as opposed to farm sales. The accounts for 1943 show what the farm produced:

  • 439 dozen eggs: £67/9/1
  • 5 hundredweight 3½ quarters of barley: £146/17/6
  • 3 hundredweight 1 quarter of beans: £67/10/-
  • chaff: £14/12/-
  • 4 tons 7 hundredweight 3 quarters of hay: £35/2/-
  • 14 heifers: £245/5/1
  • 41 hens and fowls: £17
  • Ministry of Food acreage grant - 50 acres of wheat and half an acre of potatoes: £155
  • 7 tons 6 hundredweight 3 quarters of mixture: £56/17/3
  • 1 ton 4 hundredweight 2 quarters of oat chaff: £6/2/6
  • 1 hundredweight ½ quarter of seed oats: 11/3
  • 9½  bushels of potatoes: £1/7/9
  • 4 hundredweight of potatoes: £1/3/-
  • shooting rights (Dr.Bowers): £6
  • 11 tons 19 hundredweight ½ quarter of wheat - £685/4/1

 outbuildings at Bakers Barn December 2007
Outbuildings at Bakers Barn December 2007

West Farm is, at the time of writing, called Bakers Barn; it lies on a narrow road between Firs Farm and West End Farm.