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. Top and Map

Written in about 1960 by the parish council

 

LANGFORD VILLAGE

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Walking from the Church towards the village, it will be noticed that there is an uneven field adjacent to the Church before the Bell Inn is reached.

 

Many years ago a large house is thought to have existed, together with some cottages, in this field. There are signs of sunken foundations under the grass • At the back of the field there is still a ditch, which may have been a simple moat, or even the remains of an earlier Saxon ditch.

 

From the earliest time the village has been the property of the Church, and some of the houses are still owned by the Church Commissioners. For this reason there was never a Manor House of the type that still remains in many country villages.

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The details given here have been provided by the occupants of the houses described and thanks are due to all who took the time and sometimes considerable trouble to dig Into title deeds etc. to provide the information.

THE BELL INN

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             This Inn was originally built by the Ecclesiastical Commission­ers as two farm workers’ cottages. These cottages were the two furthest from the road that now make up the Bell Inn and were built about 1650 A.D. The part of the building, which is now the kitchen, was used at some time as a Blacksmith’s shop, the doorway has been narrowed and there is a hitching ring by the door.

 

About 1700 the third cottage nearest to the road was added, the junction being seen in the change of the roofline and style. The whole building remained as three dwellings until the end of the 18th Century when the cottage nearest to the road became a~ butcher’s shop and the centre cottage became an Inn in about 1825. The butcher’s shop closed about 1910 but the Inn continued to trade under the aegis of Halls Brewery until Halls was taken over by Ind-Coope Ltd.

 

In 1961 the whole building and business was purchased from the brewery and became a Free-House, which it still remains today.

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STONECROFT

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The first of a short row of one time farm workers’ cottages, now considerably altered and in use as a private dwelling. This may have been at one time two cottages end on to the road and were probably built between 1675 and 1700. Earlier in this century it operated as the village cycle shop and the owner had one of the first motorcycles in the area.

 

A look at the outside wall facing onto the road shows one of the few remaining circular A.A. signs that were a common sight throughout the country between the wars. This one was removed at the start of the 39/45 war, and replaced sometime afterwards.

 

At present this house acts as the distribution centre for newspapers and periodicals for Langford and nearby villages.

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THE POST OFFICE

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Probably built at about the earns time~ as Stonecroft (1670) as one two roomed cottage, or two one roomed cottages. So much internal change has taken place that identification is difficult. Two stair­ways, both still in use, exist. Owned and built by the Church Commissioners they were later converted into one house.

 

The Post Office was opened on 20th April 1897 and has continued in time same family since that date. Alterations were made in 1930 and again in 1969. For many years there was a photographic studio attached to the house, in 1959 it was converted into a dining room. For many years a General Store was operated alongside the Post Office, but this function ceased in 1970. There are two wells in the garden, neither of them visible or in use. The extensive garden is somewhat remote from the house.

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VICARAGE

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Strangely not much seems to be known about this house. Pevsner quotes it as of interest without suggesting a possible date. It has seen considerable alterations, for instance the 15th Century gargoyles set high in the walls, just below the roof line, it is known were inserted early in this century. At one time there was a square porch opening into what is now the long sitting room. Considerable modernisation took place in 1961/62 to make it more habitable, but it still remains a rather rambling, cold house. It has been the Vicarage only in recent times, having been exchanged for Langford. Grange by the Church Commissioners.

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THE OLD SCHOOL HOUSE

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Built in 1840, the Old School was, until 1934 Langford Village School, serving a wide local area. In 1934 a new school was built at the South of the village and the Old School was then, until 1970, sporadically used as a dwelling, the school room being used as storage space by one of the local milkmen.

 

Having been built in 1840, it had a typical blue slate roof and consisted of two school rooms with a school mistresses house attached. In 1973 the building was purchased by the present owner and consider­able alterations were made, in keeping with the character of the older building and the village in general. Modern bathrooms, kitchens, and extra bedrooms were added at the rear.

 

Much of the internal work was carried out in Taynton stone by local craftsmen and the fine internal woodwork was made by a local very skilled craftsman who lives in the village.

 

The garden was rebuilt to the designs of the present owner, again using Taynton stone to build the summer house, old Stonesfield. slate being used for the roof. It will be noticed that the blue slate roof has been replaced with graded stone slates giving considerable dignity to the whole building.  

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LANGFORD GRANGE

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Probably the largest house in the 4village, but built in the mid 1800s. It was at one time the Vicarage and is shown as such on older Ordnance Survey maps. At some unknown date, probably in the late l800s, it was exchanged by the Church Commissioners for the present Vicarage. Early in the 1900s it operated as a Prep School, and afterwards had a number of other occupants.

 

There are known to be five wells in the garden, quite necessary for a large establishment as it is only recently that mains water has come to Langford. There are some houses that still rely on Church Commissioners’ water supply.

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BAKERY COTTAGE

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Until 1965 this house consisted of 4 cottages in a cul-de-sac known as Bakery Lane. The village bakery was then in the present Langford Store. It was quite usual in earlier times for villages to have communal bakeries quite apart from the fact that some of the larger houses had their own bread ovens.

 

Each cottage consisted of one room up and one downstairs with no mains water or indoor sanitation. The cottages seem to have been built about 1840 for farm workers. The cottages had small gardens and two wells exist in the present garden, one opposite the front door and the second in the more remote part of the garden. At one time there were two other cottages where the present garden now is. The present garden was in separate ownership until 1965 when it was united with Bakery Cottage as one unit. The summer house in a corner of the garden was converted from an old stable.

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TREVOR HOUSE

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This house facing the War Memorial is thought to be the oldest in the village. When built it was double fronted with one room on each side of the front door. Much alteration has taken place over the years and additional kitchen facilities were added, probably in Victorian times. At some stage a small wing was added on the West side comprising a small room and a small stable on the ground floor with a hay loft above.

 

At one time a small girls school (one of the famous ‘Dames Schools’) is thought to have operated in the house. When this ceased, the condition of the house deteriorated until it was purchased by the present owners in 1966. There is a plaque in the Church on the East Wall that makes reference to ‘three Howse’s, a mother and two children’ who lived in Trevor House at one time. They died in 1691.

 

The name of the house is that of a farmer (Trevor) who at one time lived in the house. One of the fields in the area near the old railway station is known as Trevor Field, possibly it once belonged to Mr. Trevor

       There is one well under the floor at the back of the house but

this is now sealed. There is an outside stone stairway to the original hay loft and between the house and the main garden is a useful ‘barn’~

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THREEWAYS

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About the same age as Trevor House, Threeways was in fact at one time three separate houses. The walls are built in the earliest Cotswold manner in which small stones are merely piled on top of each other, no interlocking being used as is the practice in more modern times.

 

An old. map of the village shows the house as a Public House and two large brackets from which the sign hung are still visible in one of the gables on the front of the house.

 

It was at one time known as Shorts Farm, some of the local fields being shown on old maps as ‘Shorts Fields’.

 

As is usual in this type of house the stairways were spiral and in this case built into the gable ends. One set is still in use. The blue slated part of the house shows signs of having been burnt at one time, it is known to have been thatched probably the cause of the fire. At some time, for some unknown reason glass bottles were built into the upper walls. Part of the house was derelict until 1959 when modifications incorporated into it made it into its present form.

 

The remains of a large round well have been found iii the garden, this well at one time serving the surrounding houses, another well was found inside the house. A very. early fireplace still stands in the stable, this being the earliest part of the big barn which still stands in the garden. There are the remains of a email thatched cottage in the bottom corner of the garden.  

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  DUNFORD HOUSE

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       Built before 1570 as two cottages it formed part of what was known as ‘Shorts Farm’. In Queen Elizabeth I time a lease for 1000 years was granted to a yeoman named James Bushe and his father. This was terminated in recent times and a normal freehold took its place.

Some parts of the house are quite recent, the South wing being rebuilt about 30 years ago after a fire destroyed some of the rooms. r %In common with many old houses, alterations have been made to suit the various occupants, there were, for instance, two large open fireplaces both of open construction, one for each of the cottages, one having an internal bread oven, which still exists, the other having been fitted with a more convenient modern fireplace.

Other walls in the garden were at one time the side walls of farm buildings, one of which is known to have housed calves. One well is known to exist arid there is also a peculiar permanent pond on a raised site.

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  WELLBANK

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This house, also facing the War Memorial was built in about 1780, and is thus of a later date than those In its immediate vicinity and may well have been built on part of the farm land (or farm yard) of the house next door, Middle House.

 

Within living memory it was run as a sweet shop, the front window facing onto the  road being used as the shop front, When first built it is evident that the front door was at what is now the rear of the house • there were three upstairs rooms and two ground floor rooms.

 

Most of the houses in the village were built only one room thick, largely because of the difficulties of supporting the great weight of the split stone roofs. As first built these house’s. does not seem to have had any window on the road side (North side), the present windows and front door were inserted in Victorian times. There are two wells in the garden, one being close to the, wall of the next house ‘Greystone’s’

It seems that Wellbank and Greystones were at first built as one house but were divided into two in the late 19th Century In the title deeds ‘Wellbank’ is called ‘Slaughterer’s Yard’ showing its possible connection with the farming days of ‘Middle House’.

 

Before the 39/45 war as well as selling sweets, it is known that fruit, probably locally grown, was sold from the house. In 1950 modern plumbing was installed.

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MIDDLE HOUSE

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In its earliest days was a farm, probably between 1650 and 1750. Records commence in 1874, but constructional details and maps indicate its earlier existence,

 

In recent times it became a carpenter’s shop and a coal merchant’s store. considerable alteration took place in 1937 when the roof was raised, a, dining room, cloak room, hall and other facilities were added together with extra accommodation on the first floor

 

 

              Known as Middle farm in 1937 a dairy also operated from the premises• Outbuildings occupied much of the present garden, relics of its time as a farm, but being in a poor state of repair most of them were demolished, only part of the central wall being retained.

 

There is one  well in the garden fitted with an Italian well head, and on the outside wa1l~ facing onto the main road a second pump exists, in use until 1945, on which the unusual. inscription can be seen “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again”. How this pump and well came to be erected is not known, but it appears to be a.Victorian construction.,

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LOCKEY HOUSE

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Again one of the older~ properties in the village and much altered during its life. There are indications that the central part of the house may have 15th Century connections. It may have been a small late mediaeval. hall.

 

In 1719 it was bought by John Lockey and. he made alterations which doubled the size of the house, arid raising the roof allowed the interior to be remodelled on Georgian lines with much taller rooms Mullioned windows were added to the rear, and the sash windows were inserted in the front in 1739. The house remained in the Lockey family until 1789.

 

From about 1880 to 1926 It was a public House, known as The Cotswold Arms. During this period the whole of the first floor could be  converted by the removal of partitions into a single club room. It was here that the Langford Whitsun Club met for dinner after a procession up the lane from the  Church. The strong village Silver Band. is still remembered locally, many of the bandsmen are still alive and many of the instruments still exist. The publican who renewed his lease with the brewery In 1922 signed his mark with an ‘X’. This was witnessed by a lady named Tryphena Duck.

 

Within living memory the attic floor was a pigeon loft and there are still pigeon doors below the top window on the east end of the house. There used. to be a small cottage on the site of the present fishpond and the low walls round the present little ‘white garden’ were the boundaries of the cottage garden.

 

In the days of the Cotswold Arms’ the garden was almost completely given over to vegetables for the Whitsun Feast. The present garden is entirely a creation of the past 20 years. The ‘gazebo’ was built in 1968 entirely by local craftsmen except for the ball on top, which came all the way from Burford.  

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PEMBER HOUSE

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In the late l750s or early 1800s this was two or more small cottages, probably built for farm workers. They fell into a sad. state of disrepair and were bought in 1932 by Mr. Clifford Pember, a well known stage designer. He converted the cottages into one house, added a modern kitchen and extended the building to provide a drawing room. Part of the local ground, known as ‘Homefield’, was also brought into the garden and the house was then known as Homefield. Prior to the 1932 conversions one of the cottages was used as a shop, probably some sort of meat vendor, for the salt used.to preserve the meat extensively contaminated the front wall, and its effects still present a problem to the present owner.

              In 1956, after the death of Mr. Pember, it was purchased by the present owner and the name changed to ‘Pember House’.

There are three wells in the garden, two of which have been preserved, well heads having been built over them. The present owner has over the years developed the present garden from the earlier layout.

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LANE HATCH

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Built at the same time as the Poet Office in about 1675, it was at first two one-room cottages with their front doors onto the lane. Some time later the roof of both was raised probably at the same time as the Post Office roof, to make them into two two roomed cottages, one down and one up. Spiral stone staircases ~were inserted at the side of the fireplaces, both of which were open grates. Both stair­cases remained until recent times, one being removed in the 1920s to provide additional cupboard space. The second staircase is still in use.

 

About 1825 the two cottages were converted into one four roomed house, and one of the front doors was blocked. It was necessary to pass through one upstairs room to get into the second one. In 1958 a kitchen was added, merely a 9ft by 8ft room with a sink. Mains water was laid on at the same time. Somewhere in the garden there is a well, its position is not known.

 

When the present owners purchased the property in 1967 the two up and two down still existed, it had only been vacant two weeks; the sanitary arrangements were still at the bottom of the garden in a little stone walled, corrugated roofed hut. Many alterations have been made including modern bathroom and kitchen facilities in 1967/68. In 1972 additions were made to Increase the accommodation and. opportunity was taken to include stone mullion windows and front door surrounds removed from the house at Filkin’s that Sir Stafford Cripps had lived in which was at that time also undergoing alteration.

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FAIRCROFT  

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Constructional evidence suggests that It is probably earlier in part than 17th Century. Whatever existed on the present site before this time was altered to make it into the present house. The first deeds of 1633 show that it was then one house, but probably before then was for a time two cottages. A baker’s oven was installed, but probably the most interesting detail is some evidence that Saxon Rubble was used in its construction.

 

In living memory it served as the village saddlers, and the garden was known, as the knackers’ yard. When the saddlery ceased to operate it became the village~ fish arid chip shop. A number of internal alterations have been made, notably in 1939 with the insertion of now stairs.  

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 Church

Sorry not much on the church at present, but hope to rectify this in the future

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Last modified: June 20, 2002

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