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Mossbury Manor Tempsford

Mossbury Manor is named after one of Tempsford’s ancient manors, first recorded, though not by that name, in the Domesday Book of 1086. It may stand on the site of or near the site of that manor’s principal mansion and, indeed, there are earthworks and the remains of a moat nearby, manor houses in the Middle Ages were frequently surrounded by a moat.

The house was listed by English heritage in November 1986 as Grade II, of special interest. It is thought to have 17th century origins, a period when the manor was owned by the Dale, Woolsacote, Saunderson, Hasleden and Wilshere families in succession. It was reworked in 18th and 19th centuries. The house is timber-framed with parts of the ground floor replaced by 20th century colour-washed roughcast render. The roofs are tiled. The building comprises two storeys and is built in an L-shape. The front block is the earliest the south-east wing being an 18th century addition and the porch a 20th century construction.

A survey of the Tempsford Estate in 1829 [X1/41 and WY1036/12] tells us that the farm was owned by the estate and occupied by Henry Tingay. The 1901 census tells us that George Payne was living there, he was a farmer from Cornwall and lived with his wife. Kelly’s Directory for 1910 lists the occupier as Samuel Henry Moyle, farmer, while in 1920 it was farmer Ernest King.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. The valuer visiting the farm found that it was owned by the Tempsford Estate and occupied by A King at a rent of £145 per annum for 143 acres, 1 rood, I pole as well as an additional cottage. The valuer noted: “Some good grass round house. Lots of very poor land over [railway] line. Rent very high”.

The farmhouse comprised two reception rooms, a kitchen, a scullery, a cellar, a dairy and a storeroom with four bedrooms upstairs and an attic above that. Water came from a pump. The house had the plaque “WA 1807”, presumably the date of alterations. The homestead was mostly wood and tile built and comprised: a coal barn, a granary and henhouse; a coachhouse, two loose boxes, a six-bay shed and loose box; a cowhouse for six beasts; a barn and cowhouse for three both with slate roofs; two loose boxes; a barn with a slate roof; a three-bay shed and a stable for four and chaffhouse both with slate roofs. Kelly’s Directory for 1931 gives the occupier as J & F C Bettles, as does that for 1940, the last Kelly’s for Bedfordshire.