The Old Cottage

105 High Street

by Jane Moss

Why is the door so low?

This house is at least 500 years old.  Parts of it are probably between 600 and 700 years old.

When the house was built the roads were not as they are now but just rough tracks.

Over the years this road through the village has been built up.  A long time ago the floors in the cottage were above the road surface but now they are below street level.

How the cottage looked in 1600

Adrian Gibson, an expert on timber-framed houses, has drawn the sketch on the right to show how the cottage might have developed from about 1300 onwards.

In the sketch, the little window upstairs at the front of the house is no longer visible from the outside but inside we can see a gap in the timber where it would have been.

A fireplace was put in around 1600.  Before that there would have been a hole in the roof and a fire in a central hearth below.  The timbers in the roof are blackened with soot around where this hole would have been.

Who owned this house?

During the nineteenth century this house was owned by the vicarage at Litlington.  It was divided into two or three cottages.

In 1829 a Thomas Picking lived in what was described as a “cottage, stud plastered with part-thatch and part-tiled roof containing sitting room and two bedrooms.”

The occupants of the other cottages, which were built in the same way, were James Clement and John Westman.  They each had two rooms on the ground floor and two bedrooms above.  They shared a well.  In the garden behind the cottages there was a dovecote.

The bearded man

In about 1930 this cottage was still divided into three houses.  In this part of the house lived an old man.

The late Mrs Bray remembered visiting the cottages as a child with her mother.  She described a tall, thin old man with a very, very long beard who sat in the doorway here.

The floor was still bare earth and the walls were painted red.  He boiled hot water in an old copper pan built into a brick plinth.

 

 

 

 

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The Old Cottage' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The Old Cottage' page

This page was added on 18/04/2011.

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