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.