41 to 45 Hall End Road Wootton
41 to 45 Hall End in 1979 [Z50/136/11]
41 to 45 Hall End Road is an old property, previously four separate dwellings. When it was listed by the Department of Environment in 1979 it was in poor condition as the photograph shows. The architect considered it to be 17th century and noted that it was timber-framed, though rendered over. It formed a T-plan with a projecting two storey porch to the main wing and had an old clay tile roof, the cross wing being pantiles. The casement windows were 20th century.
In 1978 a person in Australia sent a letter to the archives service who had visited 41 Hall End Road and wrote: “I walked into one of the downstairs rooms, and a strange thing occurred, there were no children in there, and I was completely alone. Everything was quiet, but I, and only I heard what seemed to be monks chanting and the voices of many children. There was no radio switched on, because at that time my mother did not possess one” [CRT130Wootton9].
Senior Records Officer Alan Cirket replied: “We have records of the house going back to the early 17th century. In 1623 it belonged to Catherine Rudd who left it to her son Thomas. John Babington purchased it from him in 1654. Richard Allen and his wife Elizabeth (the daughter of John Babington) sold it to John Hill in 1710 and it passed to his son, also John, who, getting in financial difficulties, sold it to Sir Humphrey Monoux in 1732. It would appear it remained the property of the descendents of the Monoux family until it was sold to your mother in 1951”.
“Throughout the deeds it is of course always described as a cottage. A later member of the Hill family, Samuel, is described as a schoolmaster in the Wootton parish register. His daughter Sarah was baptised in June 1774 and buried the following January. The Hills could have continued living in the house as tenants of the Monoux family, but there is no evidence for this. Another coincidence is that Newnham Priory, Bedford, did own a cottage and land in Hall End, formerly property of Thomas de Stodley, to whom it was granted before 1342”.
“The historical information is almost as elusive as the voices but you may perhaps fond some peace of mind from the flimsy evidence I have been able to gather together”.
In 1927 Bedfordshire was valued under the Rating Valuation Act of 1925; every property and piece of land was inspected to determine the rates to be paid on it. The Wootton valuer noted that these four houses in Hall End were owned by J. Blakeman and were tenanted by W. Fuller, W. Gilbert, A. Rawlings and A. W. Webb respectively. The four dwellings were clearly for the poorest of tenants and were described thus:
- W. Fuller's dwelling: living and kitchen downstairs, one bedroom above, barn and earth closet outside: "water from pump ¼ mile away. Very poor places. Measure no guide. Awful".
- W. Gilbert's dwelling: living room downstairs, two bedrooms above, barn and earth closet outside. "Very poor places. Good garden. No water. Very Poor".
- A. Rawlings' dwelling: living room and kitchen downstairs, one bedroom above, barn and earth closet outside. "Awful Place. Good Garden. No Water. V. Poor"
- A. W. Webb's dwelling: living room downstairs, two bedrooms above, barn and earth closet outside. "No Water. Awful Place. Good Garden. Block Back to Back
The rents on the varied considerably being respectively 6 shillings and 8 pence, 6 shillings and 8 pence, 10 shillings and 6 pence and 3 shillings and 6 pence, no doubt depending on the amount of ground with the dwelling.
41 to 45 Hall End December 2007