Bear House

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Bear House' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Bear House' page

77 High Street

by Lindsay Colquhoun

Bear House is a Grade II* listed building

Bear in this case is probably the Anglo-Saxon word ‘bear’, which meant ‘barley’.  As far as is known, the house has always had this name.

Bear House is an unusually large Hall House, probably built in or about 1385, thirty years or more before the Battle of Agincourt.  It is said to have been built by the Crown for the king’s man to keep an eye on the affairs of the Abbot and monks of Westminster Abbey, who were the lords and patrons of the village.

The house is timber-framed, in-filled with wattle and daub, and has been altered surprisingly little since it was built.  The main door frame is original.  Set in the wall above, to the left of the front door you will see three ‘ventilators’ to cool the room where food was originally kept – and still is!  This room is at the North-East corner of the house, the coldest part of the whole building.   

Up Bear Lane to the side you will see the timber framework of an ancient window – now blocked – through which milk was sold.   Go further up the lane and look at the roof.  The big tiles are all that are left of the original tiles.  They were made in France.

During the late 1940s and 1950s the house was lived in by Sir John Newsom, the Hertfordshire County Education Officer.

Bear House is reputed to be the home of two ghosts – so WATCH OUT!

This page was added on 07/01/2011.
Comments about this page

good statement grandpa!!! woo we are the Colquhoun clan and we are the best!!!

By jack colquhoun
On 08/01/2013

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