Houses Cheyney Street, Land & Cottages Station Road, House & Land Ashwell Road and Land North Brook End: Sale by Executors of Thomas Swan deceased 12 November 1896

The two houses in Cheyney Street were Tithe Plots 84 and 85 and are today Nos 1 and 3, illustrated on the left of the 1930 postcard above, the land and cottages in Station Road were Tithe Plots 25, 26, 27, 30, 31 & 32; a large part of the west side of Station Road, the house and land in Ashwell Road are what gave birth to Wyndmere and the land at North Brook End is Tithe Plot 373, known as Mustard Close, which was a standalone field for many years.

Thomas Swan was grocer and postmaster in Steeple Morden from 1855 until his death in 1875 and like many successful tradesmen he invested in property. There appears to have been no particular strategy; he simply bought what became available. He would have been unaware, when he began that from 1870 there would be a deepening agricultural recession that would not finally end until the First World War. Rural populations much reduced over that period. He was buying at the height of the market and his Executors found themselves needing to realise the assets at exactly the wrong time. This may be why they postponed selling the houses and lands until 1896, not that it did a lot of good as most properties failed to sell at the auction and presumably sold more cheaply by private treaty thereafter. Surprising as all the properties combined generated an annual income of £65!

Another interesting feature is that all the lots were sold in their original form and none were amalgamated or split to make them potentially more saleable? The shape and form of the village was maintained.

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Last Updated on April 18, 2023