A Brief Numerical Analysis of Turvey’s Residential Property

Turvey Abbey: 1603
Turvey House 1792-1794
Vine Cottage 1823
Church Terrace Mid 1800's
May Road 1919-1922
Tandy's Close 1948-1952
May Road 2018-2019

Turvey’s current residential stock consists of properties built between the 1600s and 2019. Data from the Hearth Tax shows that in 1671 there were 107 dwellings in the Parish of Turvey of which 53 had to pay tax meaning that the remaining 54 consisted of a home without a fire. In December 2019 there were 535 residential properties in the Parish and some of these are also without a fire, but they do have central heating!

This article seeks to provide an insight into how the current housing stock has developed since the 1600’s. But first, here is a table showing the number of houses in the village at various dates:

Year                    Residential Properties

1671                                        107
1831                                       206
1841                                       214
1851                                       237
1861                                       228
1871                                        221
1881                                        191
1891                                        211
1901                                        201
1921                                        201
1931                                        221
1951                                        252
1961                                        264
2011                                        525
2019                                       535

The most notable feature of this table is the near doubling of houses between 1671 and 1831 followed by a relatively consistent number until the second world war. There then came another doubling of numbers between the early sixties and 2018. How this came about is explained in the rest of this article.

Research Methodology

Residential properties in Turvey have either been built specifically for that purpose or properties have been converted into residential use such as The Pound in May Road or some of the properties in Grove Court which were originally barns belonging to Grove Farm. In such cases the date considered is not the date of the original building but the date it was first used for residential purposes. The 19 outlying residential properties have not been included in this research (but are included in the above table) and will be the subject of a separate article.

A further factor to be considered is that a number of properties have been built on existing foundations. For example, the deeds of Norfolk House in Bamford’s Lane indicate that the house was built in 1884. However, earlier plans show a property at that site. The current resident had a survey undertaken of the house and it was found that some of the foundations and walls were from a much earlier build. Similarly, The Three Cranes, (1847) is built on a beer house called The Chequers that was built in 1649. This is probably the case with a number of older properties. In such cases the date used is the latest build.

The data for this research has come from a variety of sources. Turvey is fortunate in having over 70 listed residential buildings and as such their listing contains valuable timeline data. Further residential properties appear in the Bedfordshire Historical Environmental Records. Census returns and Electoral Records also provide valuable information as to when new properties appear. More recent developments have been recorded in planning applications to the Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough Council. The remaining gaps in knowledge have been filled by interviews with residents of the village and by contact with the current owners of such properties. A database of residential properties in Turvey together with their date can be found in the History Society’s archive, there remain 7 properties to be dated.

17th Century

There are 8 properties in the village built in the 1600s. At this time most of the village was owned by the Mordaunts. The oldest residential property is Turvey Abbey, built by the Mordaunts in 1603. Other residential properties from this time are Ye Three Fyshes (1624), 8 High Street, Corner Stores, 1 and 2 Carlton Road and Bank Cottage in Newton Lane, the outer parts of which have been extensively developed.

18th Century

There are 33 properties in the village that were built between 1700 and 1800, notably Turvey House, Todsbrook in Jack’s Lane, Richmond House, The Penn, Badgers Holt and numbers 1-5 in Mill Green, Covington’s Yard, The Old King’s Arms and The Tinkers Cottage and Inn. The later underwent remodelling in 1861 and became The Old Tinkers Inn, Central Stores and Gable End on the High Street

19th Century

There are 38 properties built between 1800 and 1845, most notably, Vine Cottage in Norfolk Road (1825), Vine Row, Chantry House (originally 3 cottages), the Old Manse, Homelands, The Three Cranes, together with The Laws and Rectory, both of which were completed in 1839

The Mordaunts did not invest in the housing stock of the village, being absent landlords and giving greater attention to their main property of Drayton House in Northamptonshire. This lack of interest resulted in most of the village dwellings being in a very poor state, best described as “hovels”. The arrival of the Higgins, particularly Thomas Charles Higgins at Turvey House and Charles Longuet Higgins at Turvey Abbey brought about considerable improvements in the living conditions of many villagers. From 1840 to 1900 they set about removing many of the poor dwellings and built new houses and cottages. Of the current housing stock in the village, 88 were built in this period. Most notably Church Row, Ladybridge Terrace and Abbey Square by Charles Longuet Higgins. Altogether, he had 60 residential properties built at a cost of £300 a pair. Thomas Charles Higgins built properties in Carlton Street (now road) and on the northern strip of Bridge Road. Today, it is possible to identify those properties still part of the Turvey Estate by the cream colour of the outer woodwork.

The coming of the railway to Turvey in 1872 led to the building of the Railway Swan Inn (1881) and 8 Large houses were built at Station End in 1885.

20th Century

Between 1900 and 1945, 41 residential properties of the current housing stock were built, the most significant of these being the 12 “council houses” in May Road which were first occupied in 1921. Four of these dwellings are now in Hawthorn’s Close and each set of four houses shared a well.

After the Second World War and until 1960, 44 current residential properties are accounted for, the most significant being Tandy’s Close, a development of 28 houses built between 1948 and 1952, 5 houses in Elmwood and the 1950’s saw the 8 houses on the Green built, initially for senior engineers involved in building the M1 motorway.

The 1960’s saw a significant increase in the number of residential properties in the village, with 120 new addresses. The most significant of these developments being the 27 in the Pyghtle and May Road development (1963- 1964), the 10 houses in Mordaunt’s Close (1965), the 35 houses in Grove Road and Hawthorn Close (1966-1967) and the 27 houses at Barton Homes (1966/7) including No 1 Station End, Lydstep, the former Warden’s home.

The 1970’s saw 33 new addresses with significant developments being the sale of Vine cottage resulting in it being split into two properties and 7 houses in Barncroft and May Road built on the former gardens and tennis courts.

The 1980’s saw 34 new addresses with significant developments in the 13 conversions and developments at The Mill (1989) the 7-house development in Grove Court and the 7 houses built in Middleton Close (1988-90), now part of Norfolk Road.

The 1990’s saw 70 new addresses added to the Turvey property list, the most significant of these being 30 houses at Priory Close and The Copse at Station End (1993-5) and the 17 houses built between 1999-2000 at Baker’s Close.

21st Century

From the year 2000, 19 addresses have been added to the Turvey property list but none of these have been major developments.

Further Information.

The article “Turvey’s Listed Buildings” provides further information on specific buildings and the Turvey History Society Collection contains a database relating to individual properties. We should be glad to hear of any information you may be able to provide as to the missing dates on some properties and to any errors that you think may have been made in the database. Simply use the comment option found on each page.

Comments about this page

  • It is indeed in a dilapidated state, and it is Grade 2 listed so of importance historically. I’m afraid I don’t know who owns it.
    Kind regards,
    Sara Jenkins
    Secretary Turvey History Society

    By Sara Jenkins (25/07/2020)
  • A friend posted a photo of Great Oaks farm in a dilapidated state. Why is the building being left to rot? Do you know who owns it?

    By Angela Tattersall (24/07/2020)

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