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Park End Farm Thurleigh

Park End Farmhouse south elevation in 1988 [BorB/TP/88/154LB]
Park End Farmhouse south elevation in 1988 [BorB/TP/88/154LB]

Park End Farmhouse was listed by English Heritage in August 1983 as Grade II, of special interest. It dates from the 17th century, though modernised in the 20th century and is constructed from colour-washed roughcast a over timber frame, with a thatched roof. It had, originally, two rooms downstairs with a back-to-back fireplace in between them. A third room was later added to the east. The building comprises one storey and attics.

The earliest reference to the farm is in 1782 when the creditors of John Henton Tritton, a bankrupt conveyed it to Thomas Morrell for £572 5 shillings. It then comprised a farmhouse and 103 acres, 1 rood of land [STuncat 393]. In 1797 Morrell conveyed the farm to Thomas Jefferies [STuncat 393]. Jefferies acquired further land, Wood Close, in 1831 [STuncat 393] and in 1864 he bought a farmhouse and 14 acres, 2 roods, 20 poles from George Barnes for £800 [STuncat393]. In 1882 Thomas Jefferies conveyed the farm to his son of the same name [STuncat 393].

In June 1917 the executors of Thomas Jefferies, deceased, put the farm up for sale by auction. The particulars [X65/57] divided it into two lots: one contained the farmhouse and 109 acres, 1 rood, 30 poles and the other 26 acres, 1 rood, 22 poles to the south west at the junction of Newell Brook Road and Ravensden Road and divided from Lot 1.

Lot 1 included the "brick and plaster-built and thatched farmhouse" comprising three living rooms and three bedrooms with an "extensive range of farm buildings". These comprised: a brick, timber and thatched henhouse; a timber and tiled three-bay cart hovel; two brick, timber and corrugated iron three-bay cart hovels; stabling for four horses; a two-bay cowhouse and a range of brick, timber and thatched buildings forming a cattle barn, three pigsties and a granary. Arable land came to 66.339 acres, pasture to 28.242 acres of pasture and one field, Pitcherdine Field of 14.03 acres being arable and pasture. The tenant was Thomas Smith, though Pitcherdine Field was in occupation of William Wagstaff – the two rents came to £65 per annum.

The purchaser was Kempston dairyman Frederick George Harper, for £1,450 [STuncat 390]. In 1919, however, he sold the farm to Arthur Cave for £2,000 [STuncat 390]. 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 Park End Farm [DV1/H21/52] found that Cave was still owner and occupier of the 110 acre farm. He commented: "Water from ponds" and "Very poor cottage and homestead, poor farm badly farmed, grasses, bushes and banks, situation bad".

The farmhouse comprised a parlour, a living room and a kitchen, with three bedrooms above. The homestead comprised: a granary; a straw place; two loose boxes and an old barn (all weather-boarded and thatched); a straw store; a four-stall stable; two stall stables; a loose box used as a stable; a hay store; a cowhouse for twelve; a mixing house and store place and a three-bay cart hovel, all the latter buildings being chiefly weather-boarded and corrugated iron.

The Cave family still owned the farm in the 1950s [STuncat 350]. In 1988 planning permission was sought for a two-storey extension to the farmhouse [BorBTP/88/154/LB].