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Cross End House Thurleigh

Cross End House in 1959 [Z53/122/7]
Cross End House in 1959 [Z53/122/7]

Cross End House was formerly a farmhouse. It was listed by English Heritage in August 1983 as Grade II, of special interest. The listing dates the building as 17th century with 19th century alterations. The structure is timber-framed, though this has been partly replaced by brick and mostly plastered and colour-washed. It has an old clay tiled roof and is built in a T-shape, the front block having two storeys and attics, the rear block having two storeys in part and one storey and attics in the other part.

The distinguished local historian and authority on vernacular architecture, N. W. Alcock, of Warwick University, wrote a piece on North Bedfordshire timber-framed buildings in Bedfordshire Archaeological Journal Volume IV of 1969. He wrote a section on Cross End House: "On the ground floor are two almost identical rooms … in the centre of the block is a double fireplace whose stud, wattle and daub chimney still survives. Beside the chimney is the newel stair leading all the way to the attic".

"There is access to the rear wing by one door on each floor, both original, as there are corresponding gaps in the peg-holes … The first room in the back wing had its roof raised in 1841 (date on the new tiebeam), but the other two are 1½ storeys high … this part of the house was built perhaps fifty years earlier than the front; the bend in the range suggests two periods of construction".

In 1783 a list was drawn up of repairs needed on the estates held by the Crawley family in Keysoe and Thurleigh, including to Cross End Farm [C1690]. Edward Peacock was then the tenant and the repairs highlighted were to the wheat barn (£19/5/-), the oat barn (£5), the stable (£2/10/-) and to fencing (£9). The house also needed £8/10/- of attention (Note the original spellings): "To New Board with Oak or lay with Brick the parlour floor – New plaister the Inside Walls – pit in 56 feet of Ground Sell [ground soil?] on Outside of House & make good the Underpining Make fit & hang a new Door & repair others as wanted".

In 1912 Francis Crawley put his estates in Thurleigh and Keysoe up for sale by auction. Lot 1 was Cross End Farm, other lots included Bury Farm, land around the windmill and Scald End Farm. The particulars [SH55/8] described Cross End Farm as a "picturesque house of stucco and tile, pleasantly situated facing south-west, set back from the road with goof garden in front, kitchen garden and orchard". The house contained six bedrooms, a dining room, a drawing room, a kitchen, scullery, dairy, cellar and coal barn.

The homestead comprised: an open cart shed; a blacksmith's shop; a nag stable; a coach house; a shelter hovel; stabling for six horses with a chaff place; a large barn; a shelter hovel; a cowshed for six beasts; a chaff barn; a granary; four pigsties; three loose boxes and a hen house. Farmland comprised 157 acres, 1 rood, 10 poles of which just over 112 acres were arable. The farm was let to William Hartop junior for £100/16/- per annum. Title to five thirty-sixths (!) of the property began with the will of 3rd June 1829 of Susanna Keet, who devised all her freehold land in Bedfordshire to use of her nephew Samuel Crawley, remainder to use trustees during the life of John Sambrook Crawley, eldest son of Samuel [X886/1/4/1]. Susanna died on 4th July 1830. Title to the rest of the property began with the will of John Sambrook Crawley who died in 1895.

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 Cross End Farm [DV1/H21/54] valued it together with Top Farm, both owned by the executors of T. L. Ross and occupied by W. Ross. Presumably T. L. Ross bought the farm in 1912. The farms together comprised 270 acres. The valuer remarked of Cross End Farm: "Water from pond to well and then pumped" and "A useful farm - farms well, some grass not very good". The house contained two parlours, a living room, a kitchen, a dairy, five bedrooms and two attics. In addition there was a homestead comprising: a store place; two hen houses; three loose boxes; three more loose boxes; one small loose box; a granary and chaff house; six cow stalls and a calf pen; a three bay hovel; a barn with a concrete floor; a six stall stable; a three bay hovel; a three stall stable; a mixing house; a four bay cart shed and a trap house - all weather-boarded and tiled or brick and tiled.

Kelly's Directory for Bedfordshire was not published every year, but every few years from the mid 19th century until 1940. It includes the following occupiers of Cross End Farm:

  • 1910: William Howkins Hartop;
  • 1914: Ross Brothers
  • 1920-1940: William Daniel Ross.

In 2009 the house was for sale. The sale particulars [Z449/4/47] declared: "The property has been much improved by the current owners with significant works including solid oak doors". The ground floor comprised: a living room measuring 15 feet 2 inches by 12 feet; a sitting room measuring 12 feet 9 inches by 11 feet 5 inches; a kitchen measuring 12 feet 9 inches by 10 feet 4 inches; a dining room measuring 17 feet 3 inches by 11 feet; a family room measuring 16 feet 2 inches by 15 feet 8 inches; a utility room and a workshop measuring 23 feet 2 inches by 11 feet 11 inches. The first floor contained: bedrooms measuring 15 feet 5 inches by 12 feet 6 inches; 15 feet 9 inches by 11 feet 8 inches; 13 feet 8 inches by 10 feet 1 inch; 14 feet 7 inches by 11 feet 9 inches and 15 feet 5 inches by 12 feet 3 inches. There was also a bathroom, a kitchen measuring 15 feet 10 inches by 8 feet 9 inches and a separate W. C. Outside were a garage measuring 18 feet 6 inches by 16 feet 4 inches and a garden containing 0.8 acres.

Cross End House January 2015
Cross End House January 2015