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Swineshead Rectory

former Rectory May 2008
Former Rectory May 2008

Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service has a description of the various parsonages in the Archdeaconry of Bedford from about 1700, however, Swineshead was then in the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon and so no reference to a rectory before the late 19th century survives in our holdings. The one, tangential, exception to this is a note in pencil on the flyleaf of the first Swineshead parish register [P96/1/1] referring to a copy of the Solemn League and Covenant of 1644, signed by the rector and found "in chimney of old Rectory". Moat Farm was previously called both Rectory Farm and The Glebe House and it may, perhaps, be that this is the former Rectory but without documentary evidence this can only be idle speculation.

James Thomas Hayes
James Thomas Hayes [Z50/141/294]

In 1878 Rev.Hayes took out a mortgage with the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty to build a new rectory on the glebe [P96/2/4/1]. 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 the Rectory [DV1/C151/18] noted that it was vacant. It stood in 1.112 acres and was constructed of brick and slate.

The property comprised, downstairs: a porch; a small entrance hall; a study measuring 12 feet square; two pantries; a cellar; a kitchen measuring 16 feet 9 inches by 12 feet; a scullery; a dining room measuring 16 feet by 15 feet and a drawing room measuring 14 feet by 16 feet. Upstairs were the following: a bathroom ("no bath"); a wc; three single bedrooms measuring 16 feet 6 inches by 12 feet, 12 feet 9 inches by 10 feet 6 inches and 11 feet 9 inches by 12 feet; two double bedrooms measuring 16 feet by 15 feet and 16 feet by 14 feet. Outside stood a washhouse, two wcs, two barns, a garage, a stable, a store place and, in the grounds, a kitchen garden ("poor"). the valuer remarked: "Oil lamps, no proper bathroom, bad settlement cracks, grounds bad, not lettable, up for sale".

The Rectory was finally sold ten years later [P96/2/4/2] and the Rector moved into a new one built at Pertenhall. The Old Rectory still stands and is a private house.