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Dunstable Road Scout Farm

Until a recent redrawing of parish boundaries, Scout Farm lay in Harpenden parish, though it lays along Redbourn High Street/Dunstable Road. The earliest record dates from 1750 and it appears on the 1766 Hertfordshire map by Andrews and Drury. The same area of land appears also as Schute Farm (1804 Tithe Assessment). It appears that up to around 1830, it was part of the Rothamstead Manor of William Bennett, with William Harris as tenant (1790-1800) and Robert Harris (1800-1830).  John Bennet Lawes began his research into artificial fertilizer in 1836. In the 1851 census, the tenant of the farm was Thomas Farr, he had 220 acres and employed ten men and three boys. By the 1881 census the tenant was Edward Farr, he had 230 acres and employed five men and three boys, by this time it was Scout Farm. Exactly what the link was later between Scout Farm and the work at Rothamstead Manor is unclear.

Map showing Scout Farm in 1878
The remains of a barn at Scout Farm

There has been much fire damage to the barn recently. It is a listed building as it is late 18th century and originally it had weatherboard cladding to the end gables and part of the south wall. The rest of the walls, roof were re-clad with corrugated iron sheeting around 1980. Within the barn there were five bays, the centre one being wider to allow carts to enter. Some of the timbers were reused from the 15th and 16th centuries. The construction of the barn was classic, wall panels with mid-posts, mid-rails, vertical studs and long straight down braces. The  roof rested on raking queen post trusses, clasped purlins and original rafters (halved and pegged) with long straight wind braces and braces to tie beams. The timber frame was complete but for removal of south porch and lower part of one bay of south wall.  South cart entry was distinguished by short high braces to wall-plate; smaller North entry by inset jambs and lintel.
The special interest of this barn, lay in the survival of the timber frame, almost intact and of consistent good quality until the fire. The house itself was built in the 19th century.

 Scout Farm, Redbourn, c.1925.
Left to right: Albert Weston, Frank, John, Harold and Olive Dunckley with their father William Dunckley

The Dunckley children are resting on a gate just above their home at Scout Farm, Redbourn in 1926.
Left to right: Harold, Dorothy, Frank, Olive and John.

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