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Orchard House Totternhoe

Orchard House about 1900 [Z1130/127]
Orchard House about 1900 [Z1130/127]

Orchard House was listed by the former Department of Environment in June 1993 as Grade II, of special interest. It is surprisingly old. The listing dates it to the 16th or 17th centuries, partly rebuilt in 18th century and remodelled and extended in 19th. It is timber-framed and faced in Flemish bond brick and partly Flemish bond brick with burnt headers. It has Welsh slate roofs with gabled ends.

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). Orchard house was owned and occupied by a Mr. Stonnel and formed part of a farm, the house itself standing in one acre, twenty two poles of land.

A similar survey was carried out in 1840 and by that date. The farm was owned and occupied by John Olney. The 1841 census reveals that he was about 45 years old and living with his wife, Sarah, also about 45. The couple had seven servants living with them - Maria Ellingham, aged about 25, Richard Holland and George Linney, aged about 20, Benjamin Holt and John Gibbon and Thomas Pratt, aged about 15 and William Inwoods.

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 Orchard House [DV1/C101/84-87] discovered that the house was then owned by Mrs. L. Pratt and was no longer part of a farm, in fact it was now two semi-detached dwellings. One of these was occupied by Mrs. Pratt herself, the other by R. Burr, who paid ten shillings per week rent.

Mrs. Pratt's accommodation comprised a living room and combined kitchen and scullery downstairs with two bedrooms above. A small cellar lay beneath. The valuer commented: "Mrs. Pratt lets off a portion of the house. Was 1 House. Very nice. Old farm house. Occupiers of this and page 87 [Burr] have to use same staircase. Brick floors". Burr's accommodation comprised identical rooms to the owner's .

Outside buildings were shared and comprised: a weather-boarded and corrugated iron shed and tool shed, a washhouse ("very good"). An orchard of just under one and a half acres was also owned and occupied by Mrs. Pratt.

34 Church Green January 2010
34 Church Green January 2010