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Conger House and Conger Villa Toddington

Conger Villa and Conger House [Z772-70]
Conger Villa and Conger House [Z772/70]

These 18th century houses were listed in 1980 by the former Department of the Environment as Grade II, of special interest. They are built of red and vitrified chequered brick with an old clay tile roof behind a parapet.

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. At this time Conger House, Conger Villa and Conger Cottage (itself formerly two cottages) had been combined into a single residence known as Conger House. The property was owned by A. W. Smith and occupied by Doctor Ralph Frankland Morris Fawcett at a rent of £55 per annum on a nine year lease of which six years had expired [DV1/C82/137]. The accommodation provided included:

  • Downstairs: Three reception rooms; surgery; kitchen; scullery; larder; pantry; lumber room
  • Upstairs: 6 bedrooms; dressing room; bathroom
  • Outside: Brick and slate coach house and stable; timber and thatch garage and harness room.

The house had a poor staircase, oil lamps, water from a pump, and central heating on the ground floor only; it had no garden. The valuer described it as a "rambling house in poor position … most inconvenient … lovely front, very poor at back."

Doctor Fawcett's wife was Canadian and, many years later, a passenger list and some receipts the couple had left behind were found in the roof space of the house. The passenger list was for S S Lake Ontario from July 1893 on its voyage from Montreal to Liverpool [Z913/11/1]. The invoices show  that Mrs Fawcett donated altar linen to the church in 1929 [Z913/11/2].

The last countywide directory – Kelly's for 1940 – lists Dr Fawcett as still living at Conger House. He had been a distinguished military man (probably in the Great War) as he had the Distinguished Service Order and had reached the rank of lieutenant-colonel. He was described as "physician and surgeon and medical officer and public vaccinator Toddington District, Ampthill Area and Hockliffe District, Luton Area Guardians Committees and certifying factory surgeon". He was a churchwarden at Toddington as late as 1950 [ABCV133/149/3].

Conger House and Villa June 2015
Conger House and Villa June 2015