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33 and 35 Church Road Totternhoe

33 and 35 Church Road January 2010
33 and 35 Church Road January 2010

33 and 35 Church Road is a handsome double fronted building. It is not listed but it may be quite old. The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER 6053] describes it thus: "19th century two storey semi-detached houses. Hipped slate roof. Sash windows. Of plain brick construction with small chimney stacks. Located within Totternhoe Conservation area".

In 1829, following the death of the Earl of Bridgewater, his estate in Totternhoe was surveyed [BW1004]. The survey also included every building in the parish, whether owned by the estate or not (and at that date most were not). The footprint of the property on the site of 33 Church Road is not the same as that of today's building. The property was a baker's shop, two cottages, yard, buildings and garden, owned by John Purton and occupied by Jeffrey Brinklow, Mark Bligh and Thomas Kimpson. The property stood in 24 poles of land.

A similar survey was carried out in 1840 and by that date Geary Tompkins was owner and occupier with "others". The 1841 census reveals that George Tompkins was about 45 and a baker. His wife Zilpah was about 35 and a female servant, Mary Sanders, about 15 was living with them. Two other families seem to have occupied the premises. Mark Bligh was about 40, and an agricultural labourer. His wife Helen was about the same age and their children were Hannah aged, 10, James, 7, Sarah, 4 and George, 1. Michael East was about 30 and also an agricultural labourer. His wife Elizabeth was about the same age and their children were Mary, aged 13, William, 7, Sarah, 5, John, 3 and Elizabeth aged 1. Again the footprint is not consistent with that of today's property. Without the evidence of deeds or sale particulars from the time it is not possible to say whether the building of 1829 and 1840 was demolished and today's building erected on the site or whether today's 33 Church Road is, at least in part, the early 19th century building but altered; on balance the former seems more likely.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every piece of land and property in the country should be valued to determine its rateable value. Totternhoe, like much of Bedfordshire, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting 33 Church Road [DV1/C101/58-59] noted that it was then two properties, both owned by B. Heley - 58. The northern-most half was also occupied by Heley and comprised a shop, kitchen, scullery, three bedrooms with a large weather-boarded and corrugated iron shed. The valuer commented: "Better type" and "Post Office" (Winifred Heley is listed as post-mistress in Kelly's Directory for 1928). The southern part of the building was occupied by J. Siret at a rent of £5 per annum. This dwelling comprised a living room, combined kitchen and scullery, with two bedrooms above. The valuer commented: "Very small".