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Shepherds Cottage Swineshead

Shepherd's Cottage in 1961
Shepherd's Cottage in 1961 [Z53/120/3]

Shepherd's Cottage was listed by the former Department of Environment in 1964 as Grade II, of special interest. The cottage dates from the late 16th century or early 17th century. The property is, like most of the older properties in the village, timber-framed; it has a colour-washed infill of brick and plaster and has an old clay tile roof. The house was built in a T-plan with the cross wing along the road. The house has two storeys.

In 1942 the deeds were deposited with Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service [X102]. The earlest reference is to a deed poll of 1615 from Simon Boon and Thomas Sperry to William Tillis. This is presumably a conveyance of the property though all the references up to 1771 are only known from a list of deeds covenanted to br produced by the man selling the cottage in 1771 [X102/3]. This list tells us that in 1671 the cottage was conveyed by William Pentlow of Swineshead to John Smith of Yielden, miller. Smith devised the cottage in his will of 1671 to another Yielden miller, John Marshal. In 1693 Christopher Horsford conveyed the property to Samuel Lay of Lower Dean and Samuel Brown of Keysoe. The cottage may have been divided into two at this point because in 1694 John Marshal made a conveyance to Thomas Mason of Upper Dean. Mason then made a conveyance later that year to John Humphreys. Samuel Lay and Thomas Brown also made a conveyance to John Humphreys in 1697, perhaps reuniting the property in one ownership.

Humphreys made his will in 1697, devising the cottage to his son John and, after his death, to his grandson, another John. In 1754 a John Humphreys, the grandson, of Saint Martin's-in-the-Fields in London, a staymaker, conveyed the cottage to his brother James, who was living in Hannover Square in London and was a victualler. By 1771 James Humphreys was dead and his eldest son, another John, a clock maker from KImbolton [Huntingdonshire] conveyed the cottage to Henry Boston of Hargrave [Northamptonshire], a shepherd, hence the modern name of the cottage, for £126 [X102/1-2]. The cottage is described as being occpuied by a John Edmunds.

Henry Boston sold part of the cottage in 1781 to another shepherd, Thomas Ginn of Islip [Northamptonshire] for £80 [X102/5-6]. It is then described as being a cottage in Swineshead and an adjoining close except for a hall and parlour, with two chambers above and a newly erected tenement. It looks as if Boston built on to the cottage, then divided it into two parts (tenements), keeping the newer part and four rooms of the older part adjoining and selling the rest of the old cottage to Ginn. This older part was described as fronting the common street to the north, a pond to the south, Boston's cottage to the east and a close owned by a man named Barker to the west.

In 1789 Boston sold the hall, parlour and two rooms above to Ginn for £40 [X102/7-8]. These four rooms are described as being the northern part of the tenement conveyed in 1781. By 1819 Thomas Ginn was dead, as was his eldest son Thomas and Thomas' brother Francis because their brother William, a private in the Royal Marines, along with Solomon Hawkins of Keysoe, Francis Ginn's executor and Jemima Ginn of Keysoe, William's widowed mother, sold the cottage to William Ekins of Swineshead and his trustee, William Peck of Kimbolton, surgeon, in that year for £187. The cottage is now described as now divided into two dwellings with a garden to the east, formerly in the occupation of Henry Boston, now William Green and Thomas Atkins [X102/11-12]. The property had been sold by an auction at the Three Horseshoes in the village.

By 1847 the cottage was in the hands of a James Lewin, presumably by descent from Ekins, though the deeds, unusually, do not recite how and he came to own it. In this year he and his wife, Elizabeth, conveyed the cottage to a trustee, Lewis James Ibbs [X102/14]. In his will left it to his three trustees in his will with instructions to sell the place after his death. Accordingly, in 1872 the cottage was conveyed by Thomas Eads of Yielden, Robert Crawley of Melchbourne and Robert Lovell of Swineshead, all farmers, to Richard Lewin of Wymington, farmer [X102/14]. It is then described as a cottage divided into two dwellings, afterwards converted into three tenements and now into four with a garden of three roods, nine poles extent. It was then occupied by Robert Brown, David Lewis, William Cole and Charles Smith.

In 1920 the cottage was sold for £135 by trustees of the will of Priscilla Lovell, presumably a daughter or other descendant of Richard Lewin, to Henry Barron of Rushden [Northamptonshire] [X102/20]. The particulars of sale describe the property thus: "All those two freehold cottages (formerly three tenenemts), one being Brick and Tiled, containing 4 rooms and Pantry together with Barn and capital Garden, occupied by Mr. William White, upon a Yearly (11th October) tenancy, at a Rental of £4 per annum, Landlord paying outgoings; the adjoining Cottage, Brick and Stone and Plaster Built and Tiled, containing 3 Rooms, as formerly occupied by Mr. James Crick, at a Rental  of £3-1-0 per annum,  but now in hand, with the adjoining similarly-built 2-roomed Cottage now uninhabitable; together with 4 Brick and Tiled Barns, Conveniences and capital Gardens, a portion of which is let separately to Mr. Edward Lewis for 12 months only, ending 6th April next, at a Rental of £1, Landlord paying outgoings. The Property is Compact, and bounded on the South and part of the East by Land of Mr. C. Ingle, on the remaining part of the East by Land of Mr. Manfield, on the West by Property of Messrs. Newbury and bateman, and on the North by the Village Street, having a considerable Frontage thereto".

In 1927 Swineshead was valued under the terms of the Rating and 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 Shepherd's Cottage [DV1/C151/2-3] discovered that the property, which was owned by W.Baron, was divided into two tenements. The part nearest the road was occupied by E.Lewis at £8 per annum rent and comprised a living room and kitchen downstairs with two bedrooms above; a barn stood outside. The valuer remarked: "bedrooms slight slope".

The other tenement was occupied by W.White at £6 per annum rent. It contained a living room and a pantry which, the valuer noted, was "over Lewis". Two bedrooms lay upstairs and outside was a "very small" barn. The valuer remarked: "large garden".

Shepherd's Cottage May 2008
Shepherd's Cottage May 2008