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EAST HADDON HISTORY SOCIETY Northamptonshire, England

WALCOTT HOUSE

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This most attractive dwelling is situated near the centre of the village, almost opposite the thatched pump. Click here to see picture.


Possibly one of the oldest buildings in East Haddon Walcott House is built of cob and stone with a straw thatched roof, and is most likely at least 400 years old.


The building would have originally been at least two separate dwellings, each one room deep, with low ceilings, small windows, and earth floors.


 In the 18th Century however, the right hand dwelling was rebuilt with a substantial gable end and extra rooms, making the whole building L shaped (a stone bearing the date 1748 is on the front of that part of the house). We know this as one of the internal walls  is comprised of cob with what would have been a small exterior window which was blocked up most likely at the time of the new building and which  has only recently been restored.  Thus the left hand side of the building has low ceilings and a small winding staircase and the right side higher ceilings with a more substantial flight of stairs.  The Northamptonshire stone to rebuild the house was probably brought from Holdenby House, which at that time was partly derelict. The houses were separated by a thick cob wall but share a central chimney.


Much of the structure of the house, including the beams, is obviously recycled material.  It was the custom to use oak from derelict ships as well as buildings, and this is apparent from the curve of several beams and indentations made for obscure purposes in the ‘new’ extension built in the 1700’s.  Between the floors is a thick layer of corn husks most likely used for insulation.


In approximately 1974 the two houses were finally made into one dwelling, several windows replaced with larger ones, and various outhouses demolished, though  many original features including the  two stair cases were retained.  Since then each occupant has put his stamp on the building but the original ancient walls and ‘footprint’ of the house remain intact.