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Crowholt Woburn

Crowholt March 2012
Crowholt March 2012

Crowholt is a very large property on the east side of George Street. It was listed by the former Ministry of Works in October 1952 as Grade II, of special interest. The house was built in the 18th century and was reworked in the 19th and 20th centuries. The house is built of red brick, with some mottled yellow bricks, with slate roofs. The main block comprises two storeys and attics with a hipped roof. Adjoining the left hand side is an L-shaped block

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. Woburn, like much of the county was valued in 1927 and the valuer visiting Crowholt [DV1/C137/141] found that, like most of Woburn, it was owned by the Duke of Bedford’s London and Devon Estates Company.

The tenant was Charles P. Hall, the Duke of Bedford’s land steward, who is stated to have paid rent of £5 per annum, a ridiculously low level for a large house set in 2.642 acres. Ground floor accommodation comprised a hall; a lavatory (in the sense of somewhere to wash) and W. C.; a pantry and silver store; a scullery and food store; a kitchen measuring 16 feet by 16 feet 3 inches; a back stairs and telephone box; a dining room measuring 23 feet 9 inches by 15 feet with a bay measuring 13 feet 3 inches by 5 feet 6 inches; main stairs; a study measuring 18 feet 3 inches by 13 feet 6 inches; a reception room measuring 16 feet 9 inches by 25 feet with a round bay measuring 15 feet 6 inches by 5 feet 9 inches; a cloak room.

The first floor comprised: a bedroom measuring 17 feet by 14 feet; a dressing room measuring 9 feet 9 inches by 15 feet 3 inches; a landing verandah; a bedroom measuring 16 feet by 20 feet 6 inches with a bay measuring 15 feet 6 inches by 5 feet 9 inches; a bathroom measuring 7 feet by 11 feet; a lavatory and W. C.; a nursery with a lavatory together measuring 13 feet 6 inches by 11 feet 9 inches; stairs; a school room measuring 13 feet 3 inches by 16 feet with a bay measuring 4 feet 6 inches by 13 feet 3 inches; a dressing room measuring 7 feet 6 inches by 14 feet 6 inches. The second floor contained attics, a bedroom, three maids’ bedrooms, a bathroom and W. C. A cellar lay under the ground floor.

Outside (“loggia on garden side” stood: two larders; a W. C. and barn; a store shed; an electric light plant; a loose box for four horses and a harness room with a loft over and a W. C.; a garage; four loose boxes; a shed with a loft over. At the end of the garden was a brick and slate mixing shed, poultry shed and two loose boxes. There was also a wood and corrugated iron store shed, and a two bay open shed. In the garden was a sprouting house, a store shed and potato house, a tool shed and summer house and a heated greenhouse measuring 9 feet 9 inches by 37 feet. There was also a cold greenhouse measuring 12 feet by 20 feet. There was also a tennis lawn, ornamental trees and rose beds.

Thomas Evans’ survey of Woburn of 1822 [R1/240 and R2/68] gives the occupier as Henry Seymour. Directories for Bedfordshire were not published every year but every few years from the mid 19th century until 1940. Directories of 1847, 1853, 1854, 1862, 1869, 1877, 1885 and 1890 give the tenant of Crowholt as Lieutenant-Colonel Lord Charles James Fox Russell (1807-1894). He was the third son of John, 6th Duke of Bedford and was Member of Parliament for Bedfordshire from 1832 to 1841 and in 1847. He was Serjeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons until 1875. A good cricketer he played for MCC from 1833 to 1846, playing in eleven first-class matches. He died at Crowhurst on 29th June 1894. Later residents were Veterinary Lieutenant-Colonel George Albert Oliphant (directories of 1898, 1903, 1906 and 1910), Charles P. Hall (1914, 1920 and 1928) and Geoffrey Hubbard (1940).