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Coachman's Cottage and attached Stables, Coach Houses and Outbuildings

A Grade II Listed Building in Silsoe, Central Bedfordshire

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Latitude: 52.0067 / 52°0'24"N

Longitude: -0.416 / 0°24'57"W

OS Eastings: 508820

OS Northings: 235438

OS Grid: TL088354

Mapcode National: GBR G3S.3NM

Mapcode Global: VHFQV.QTXJ

Entry Name: Coachman's Cottage and attached Stables, Coach Houses and Outbuildings

Listing Date: 21 May 2012

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1402874

Location: Silsoe, Central Bedfordshire, MK45

County: Central Bedfordshire

Civil Parish: Silsoe

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bedfordshire

Church of England Parish: Silsoe

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans

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The Coachman's Cottage, stables, coach houses and other outhouses to the north and south of the coach yard, built c1838-39. Possibly designed by James Clephan for Earl de Grey.


MATERIALS: built of cream coloured brick with slate roofs.

PLAN: the cottage stands at the south-west corner of the yard, and projects to the west of and outside the line of the garden wall. The house is rectangular, of two storeys with a modern porch; the stables and outbuildings are single storey and line the north and south sides of the yard, the entrance to which is through wide full height gates immediately to the north of the cottage.

EXTERIOR: the most prominent feature of the cottage is the Dutch gable to the north elevation. Below the gable is a single window to the first floor; the other three elevations are plain and also contain only one window each, all with flat arches, and there are doors to the south and east elevations; all windows are late C20 replacements. A door in the wall to the south of the cottage gives access to the small service yard for the cottage, which contains domestic outbuildings and is also accessible from the cottage kitchen door. On the south side of the coach yard and attached to the cottage immediately south of the front door is a single storey range containing stables and three coach houses with double doors; the stable door and large window with wooden bars have flat arches of red brick. The range opposite on the north side of the yard has four windows and a door facing onto the yard, and has some alterations to the west end.

INTERIOR: inside the cottage retains its plan form of two rooms to each floor. The interior is very plain, and modernisation has replaced some original features. The living room fireplace is a C20 tile example, although the fireplace surround survives in the north first floor bedroom. The first floor rooms also retain their original plain four panelled doors. A narrow enclosed staircase rises from the kitchen to a tiny landing between the bedrooms.


Wrest Park belonged to the Grey family from the Middle Ages until the early C20. In 1833, Thomas Phillip Weddell, later Earl de Grey, inherited Wrest, having already spent much time there as a young man demonstrating his early abilities as an amateur architect in the design of the two lodges at Silsoe in 1826 (both Grade II). Although he had great respect for the gardens this did not extend to the house, which he demolished. The present house was constructed approximately 200m north of the old house in 1834-9 by the Earl with the assistance of James Clephan. The stable buildings to the east (Grade II) and the walled gardens (Grade II) to the west were also added between 1834 and 1839. The Coachman's cottage and coach yard are attached to the south end of the west wall of this garden, which forms the east wall to the yard; the cottage was originally included in the listing of the walled gardens. The cottage underwent renovation in the late C20, with the replacement of windows and some changes to interior detail.The site of the former house was laid out to include the present parterres and south lawns. The Earl's appreciation of the existing garden’s qualities meant that little else was done to diminish its former appearance. In 1856 'le Petit Trianon' was built for his children and in 1857 an 'American Garden' was laid out north of the bowling green.

Reasons for Listing

The Coachman's Cottage and attached stables, coach houses and outbuildings are designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: they are of historic interest for their association with Wrest Park, for their functional role in the life of the estate and as an eloquent representation of the social hierarchy of the estate workers, particularly in relation to the Garden House at the north end of the west wall of the garden, listed at Grade II;
* Group Value: they have particularly strong group value with the Grade II listed walled kitchen garden and associated service structures, and forms and important part of the Grade I Registered Park and Garden and its many other listed buildings and structures;
* Architectural interest: although the cottage is a modest building, it makes an aesthetic contribution to the design of the whole, and forms an integral part of the C19 garden.

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