In this section I have provided as much information as I can regarding the older buildings of the village, including some which are no longer standing. 

In preparing this section I have used a combination of references to property deeds and other legal documents, written sources, census records from 1841 to 1939, and a variety of maps.

The 1803 enclosure map is one of the key sources as it predates the first OS map by nearly 40 years, shows every building in the village at that time, and lists the names of the property owners - though not tenants. It even differentiates between houses and barns, with occupied properties coloured red and the remainder being outbuildings, barns etc. For instance No. 38, the Mill, consisted of a house (red) where the miller lived and the mill (grey) itself which was unoccupied. Later on the millers house would be subdivided into separate cottages.

Two buildings, now demolished, are shown against the church wall. One is No. 6 and stands where the lane now leads to the Glebe Field and the other was not given a reference number in the enclosure map. 

Most of the properties in the village did not gain names until much later - often only within the last 50 years. The names of properties have also changed over the years, for instance what we know as The Long House had no name in 1803, but was later known as Vorleys Yard for a short period of time, and only gained its current name in the 20th century

On the enclosure map shown on this page I have given the known name of the marked properties at that time; the name, and where possible, occupation, of the person owning and living in the house in 1803; and also the modern name of the house. Properties occupied at the time by tenants are marked as such.

Enclosure Map with known occupants in 1803 and modern names

The census records from 1841 to 1939 barely mention any house names with buildings generally referred to as either "cottage" or "private house" and in a number of instances there is no  order in which the census was taken, making it almost impossible to identify families with specific properties. 

The only properties that have the same name in 1803 as today, are the Hare and Hounds, and Leopard House which was also a public house for many years, and was one of the oldest pubs in the county at the time it closed its doors for good in the early 20th century.

The other numbers on the map relate to the plots of land and in the inclosure section in the Georgian page I have provided a detailed breakdown of who owned not only the houses but also the land surrounding the village.

Great Addington Manor House

First thing to emphasise is that Great Addington Manor House, was never actually the manor house of the Manor of Great Addington, that building having been in a completely different area of the village and long since gone. The house we know as Great Addington Manor, was never part of the original de Vere manorial estate. The core of the building that we see today was built around 1609 as a superior farm house on land. It is also clear that the current name for the house is relatively recent. The earliest references in the 17th century are to The Mansion, in the 18th century it is named Addington Hall. Only in the early and to-mid 20th century was the word "manor" attached to the building when it started to be referred to as Addington Manor.

The land that the house stands on was not part of the original de Vere manorial estate. Great Addington, from Anglo-Saxon times until the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century, was split between two manorial estates; one owned by the de Vere family and the other owned by the Abbey of Croyland (also known as Crowland). The house was built on land that had once formed part of the Abbey of Croyland's holdings in this area.

Following the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII, in 1539, the Abbey of Croyland and its holdings became the property of the crown. As with much of the land from the monasteries, the dissolution resulted in the lands being sold to those connected to the royal court, either to enlarge their own estates, acquire palatial homes, or as an opportunity for property speculation.

On 25 March, 1544, the Abbey lands in Great Addington - including where Great Addington Manor now stands - were granted as part of a portfolio of lands to Sir William Parr (Lord Horton) and uncle to Catherine Parr (6th wife of Henry VIII). After the death of Lord Parr without a male heir in 1547, a fresh grant was made in 1558 by Queen Mary (Tudor) and King Philip of Spain, to Sir Robert (or Ralf) Lane of Horton who had married William Parr's daughter Maud (lady-in-waiting to Catherine Parr); and Anthony Throckmorton (connected to the Lane family via William Lane's wife Elizabeth Fitzhugh) of Charleston, Oxfordshire, together with grants of other monastic property. Throckmorton (who was close to Queen Mary) and Sir Robert Lane paid £1,000 pounds (about £250,000 today). The order from King Philip and Queen Mary, 4th February 1558: reads

"Grant by Letters Patent from Philip and Mary, to Robert Lane of Horton, Northants, and Anthony Throckmorton of Chesterton, Oxfordshire, of the manor of Great Addington, formerly belonging to the monastery of Crowland, Lincs: and the right of patronage to the parish of Addington; and the manor of Brinklow, the manor of Ludbroke, late the land of Lady Mary, late Duchess of Richmond; before that the property of the dissolved monastery of Combe, in Warwickshire; a messuage and lands in Upelmer, called Cotes-on-the-Hill, in the parish of Wolbeding in Sussex; lands in Montgomeryshire; 2 cottages in Aston Cantlow, Warwickshire; a messuage in Hatton, Warwicks., belonging once to the Prior of Studley, Warwicks; King's Field alias Showland in Edgbaston, Warwicks; late part of the land of Fulk Brimincham; and all rights and revenues, and the rights of the Dean and Chapter of the late College of the Blessed Mary in Warwick. (The grant given the yearly value of each manor and parcel of land). All advowsons except the aforesaid are reserved to the Queen. Enrolled before John Swifte, Auditor, and Robert Multon, Deputy Auditor. "

Robert Lane and Anthony Throckmorton quickly sold the manorial estate in 1562 to Henry Clarke of Stanwick, probably making a good profit in the process. The deed of sale also mentions a mill referred to as "Willywater mill"

"10th May 1562 - relating to the manor of Great Addington, Willywater mill in Woodford, and 15 selions (roughly 15 acres) of land in Woodford, with appurtenances, all lately belonging to the dissolved monastery of Crowland, Lincs., conveyed by Sir Robert Lane, of Horton, Northants., knight, and Anthony Throckmorton of Chesterton, Oxon., to Henry Clarke of Stanwick, Northants."

Henry Clarke was the son of William Clarke of Potterspury, Northamptonshire who had been serjeant-arms to Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I, and appears to have prospered through this connection. When Henry Clarke died in 1574 he left a significant inheritance of lands across Northamptonshire. He lived on his farm at Stanwick where he lived with his wife Anne, his sons Gabriel, Christopher, and the eldest son and heir, William. 

Christopher & Dorothy Curtis & Margery Curtis - the Jacobean House

William Clarke lived in the families estate in Potterspury and died in 1604, leaving a widow Eleanor but no heir. His brother Gabriel then sold some of the inheritance, including one parcel of land in 1606-7 to Margery Curtis (spelt Curteys in the deed of sale) and her son Christopher, both of Great Addington. The land deeds include: 15 tofts of land (usually taken to mean a house and small area of land), 20 acres of meadow, and 40 acres of pasture in Great Addington, Little Addington, and Woodford. The spelling of "Curteys" given in the deeds is likely to be a misspelling as there are records of the surname "Curtes" and "Curtis" in the village in the 16th and 17th centuries. Margery Curtis and Christopher Curtis reappear in a number of other land transactions around the same time.

Gabriel Clarke sells another parcel of land in Great and Little Addington to William Bedell and William Ward in 1608. Although this sale was said to include "Willywatt" mill, Gabriel must either have retained or re-purchased the premises, for when he died in 1624 he not only still owned an estate at Potterspury but also the mill, which he left to his nephew Robert and charged with a payment of 40shillings a year to the poor of Potterspury. 

It is not known how the Curtis family came to be living in the village, nor how they had come to have sufficient wealth to buy such a large amount of land and build such an imposing house. At the time it was built the house was smaller than it is today and shaped like the letter "E" in plan, but would have still been a statement of wealth being by far the largest building in the village, and represented a superior and substantial farmhouse. Christopher Curtis's wife was Dorothy, so presumably the "C" and "CD" on the date stone of the house stands for Christopher & Dorothy Curteys, with a building date of 1610. 

Thomas Bletsoe (Bletso)

In 1618 Christopher and Dorothy sell for the enormous sum of £1,000 to Thomas Bletsoe a parcel of land that includes:

"that capital Great Addington now in tenure of Christopher Curtis...and late in the tenure or occupation of Margery Curtis, widow, mother of said and now or lately reputed to be the manor of Great Addington."

Thomas Bletsoe did not have the funds for the purchase, instead the money was advanced on his behalf by his father William Bletsoe of Wymington and Robert Sanderson of Rushden.

In 1644 Thomas Bletsoe gives the land to his son (also called Thomas) and his future wife, Anne, as part of a marriage settlement. This deed also mentions "reputedly the site of the manor house", which may be a reference to the old Medieval de Vere manor house.

Samuel Whitby

In deeds written between 1663-71 we get the first reference that brings together both the manorial estate and the Mansion House, when Thomas Bletsoe sells his land holdings to Samuel Whitby a merchant in London.

"the manor of Great Addington, the mansion house, 4¼ yardlands; Long Lane Close, Cooks Leyes Close, Widow Batson Close and Abbot's Tongue in Great Addington, Little Addington and Woodford; a messuage in Great Addington, 2 tenements, and a ¼ of a yardland in the same; conveyed by Thomas Bletso the younger of Coton alias Cotes, to Samuel Whitby of London, merchant."

Robert Lambe

Over the next few years Samuel Whitby acquired further properties and land in the area. They are then sold as a single large estate in 1700 by Samuel, who was living in Great Addington, to a David King of London, mercer (luxury fabric merchant); who in turn sells it to Robert Lambe of Newton Bromswold (Brumshold in the documents) - this may actually be some form of mortgage or money lending with David King advancing the monies for the purchase to Robert Lambe. Again, the manorial estate (manor) and the Mansion House are detailed as referenced in the deeds; along with other lands in quite some detail, including the names of the previous owners of the other properties that Samuel Whitby had acquired in the village:

"sold by Samuel Whitby of Great Addington gentleman, to David King, citizen and mercer of London, to the use of Robert Lambe the younger of Newton Brumshold; 6th May 1700: 

In 1701 a marriage settlement is drawn up between the son of Robert Lambe - also called Robert - and Ann Coates, again the manorial estate and the Mansion House are listed together on the one document. Also included are a number of other properties and lands, including a farmhouse:

"Settlement with counterpart, made on the marriage of Robert Lambe of Great Addington, gentleman, with Ann, daughter of Richard Coates of Earls Barton, Northants, of the manor of Great Addington, the mansion house, 6s. yearly rental of Paddock's dole in Little Addington, a farmhouse in Great Addington, with its home close, Long Lane Close, Cooks Leys Close, and Woodruff's Close, and 6 yardlands all in Great Addington; another farmhouse in Great Addington with 4 yardlands in Great Addington, Little Addington and Woodford, to the use of Robert and Ann their heirs. - 24th Mar. 1701"

Robert Lambe's (the elder) will shows that he held a considerable amount of land spread over Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, and Huntingdonshire; which he divides between his three sons - John, Robert (who had married Anne Coates and lives in Great Addington), and Henry. John doesn't fair well getting just £25.00 a year, whereas Robert gets all the houses and land in Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, and Huntingdonshire. Henry get houses and land in Newton Bromswold and Higham Ferrers.

"Will of Robert Lambe of Newton Brumshold, yeoman; bequeaths to John Lamb, his eldest son a £25 rent charge from his lands in Chelveston cum Caldecot, to be paid yearly; to his son Robert of all his messuages (houses) and lands in Bedfordshire and Great Addington, Irthlingborough, in Keystone, Hunts, and in Chelveston cum Caldecott provided he yields the aforesaid rent charge of John: to his son Henry all his premises and lands in Newton and Higham Ferrers. "

Through the period of time that the Lambe family lived in Great Addington the house is now often referred to as Addington Hall, clearly the Lambe family had aspirations above being just farmers.

Mary Lambe & William-Zouch Lucas Ward

Sons and daughters over the centuries tended to be given their parents forenames and Great Addington was no exception. There are three generations called Robert Lambe. The second generation Robert has three sons - Robert, Richard, and Woodford. Richard and his wife Anne had a daughter, Mary, born in 1762. She is the only child and heiress to the estate. She inherits from her uncle the Reverend Robert Lambe of Great Addington and also from a William Lambe of Stanwick. In 1783, Anne married William-Zouch Ward-Lucas (names were starting to become incredibly complex at this time to show inheritance and standing) of Guilsborough Hall (now demolished) in Northamptonshire. Through this marriage the estate at Great Addington moves into the posession of the Ward-Lucas family. William-Zouch and Mary never live in Great Addington, instead preferring to reside at the far grander Guilsborough Hall. Mary has another uncle, Woodford Lambe, who doesn't die until 1801, who also owns land in Great Addington. He is sadly referred to as a "lunatic" in a number of documents and Mary has control over his estate and combines it with her inheritance. Mary not only inherited the considerable Lambe estates in and around Great and Little Addington, but also in Woodford, and several estates at Upholland, Orrell and Billing in Lancashire and the rights to any mines found on the lands. The mines are worked for coal for many years before final closing.

In December 1784 William-Zouch and Mary decided to rent out the Great Addington as an advert appears in the Northampton Mercury:

"To be let and entered upon immediately, a handsome capital Mansion House at Great Addington, in this county; together with Stables, Coach-Houses, Brew-House, Dairy, Laundry, and other necessary Out-Houses; and a with good Garden walled in, and planted with the best Fruit trees, and seven acres and a half of rich Pasture-Ground or Orchard containing one acres and a half planted with Apple-Trees, with the Liberty of Sporting on the Manors of Great and Little Addington. Great Addington is within three miles of Thrapston, six miles of Wellingborough, and eight miles of Kettering, three remarkably good Market Towns for all kinds of provisions."

The house is advertised again in 1790,1791, and1792 the advert reading almost exactly the same.

At the time of the inclosure in Great Addington in 1803 the house is listed as Mansion House & Gardens and is shown as part of the estate of William-Zouch Ward Lucas. 

The land and house remain in the possession of William-Zouch and Mary, as game-keeper certificates on their behalf were issued every year for their lands in Great Addington up to 1837 when William-Zouch dies, Mary had preceeded him in 1835.  

William and Marys' son, John Lucas-Ward (b:1790 d:1868) inherited the estate. John married in 1811 to Theodosia de Malsburgh Leigh, daughter of Sir Egerton Leigh and Theodosia Anna Maria Boughton, at which point John then changes his name to John Ward-Boughton-Leigh (another long confusing name).

Edward Holdich

John Ward-Boughton-Leigh, lived in Brownsover Hall in Warwickshire, fashionably redesigned by Gilbert Scot, and sells a number of parcels of land, including as Lot 13 "Great Addington Manor House and Great Orchard and Manor House Close" to Edward Holdich.  We know Edward Holdich is living in Great Addington in 1831 as he is listed in the Electoral Register for that year as yeoman, owning and managing a small estate. 

Edward Holdich had other properties, but lived at Addington Hall. He dies in December 1840 and is buried on boxing day. The estate is put up for sale in September 1841, with the details appearing in the Leicester Herald - Saturday 04 September 1841:

"The Addington Hall Estate. Comprising the Manors of Great and Little Addington, Woodford, and Burton Latimer; with Mansion called Addington Hall and sundry farms of excellent meadow, pasture and convertible arable land, containing nearly Eleven Hundred Acres with Public Houses, and sundry Cottages, let to most respectable yearly tenants.

At Great Addington. The Mansion; called Addington Hall (late the residence of Edward Holdich, esq, deceased) is spacious and, and adapted for a moderate sized family, and at small expence (sic), may be made one of the most complete residences in the neighbourhood; the detached offices consist of capital Stables, Coach-houses, and corresponding Offices of every description, the whole situate on a rising ground, ornamented with stately Elms of the most magnificent description. The Gardens. Are large, surrounded by Walls, and well stocked. The whole fed by a never failing Spring of the purest Water."

R. P. Ganell

There is an entry in the village directory of 1864 that gives the name of a R. P. Ganell as Lord of the Manor. Despite searching for more information, it has not been possible to identify who this person was, nor how long they were at the Manor. The surname is unusual, possibly Irish in origin.

Julius Alington (Thomas Walters is tenant)

In June 1867 the house is again advertised for sale, again called Addington Hall - no owners name is given. Also as part of the lot is an associated farm house - probably Manor Farm; a Thomas Walters is given as tenant.

The house is up for sale again in 1871, this time it names the owner as Julius Allington, who owned land and properties across a number of counties and lived in Little Barford in Bedfordshire. In the Bedfordshire Archives there is some connections between  the Alington family and a Robert Lambe (though which one is not clear) including a mortgage agreement with a lease term of 500 years! Thomas Walters is again named as the current tenant of Addington Hall.

"Addington Hall, with large kitchin (sic) and flower gardens and orchard adjoining; detached laundry, stabling, and carriage houses"

In 1874 there is a court case involving Thomas Walters who states that he resides as Great Addington Hall, presumably still as tenant.

Guilsborough Hall where Mary & William-Zouch Lucas Ward lived 1783-1835 rather than at Addington Hall

Julius Alington - Addington Hall owner in 1871 though he never lived there 

Image © National Portrait Gallery, London 

Sidney Leveson Lane & Mary Isabel Dawnay Dowager Vicountess Downe - The creation of the Victorian House

By 1878 the property is in the ownership of Sidney Leveson-Lane and his wife Mary Isabel Dawnay (nee Bagot), the Dowager Vicountess Downe. There is a possible connection - though probably coincedental - that Sidney was descended from the Robert Lane who purchased the estate from the crown in 1558.

Mary had first married William Henry Dawnay in 1843, who became the 7th Viscount Downe in 1846 following his fathers death. They lived at Baldersby Park in Yorkshire. Mary and William had ten children, but he died aged just 44 in 1857. 

Mary married Sidney Leveson Lane on 6 January 1863 at Easingwold. Born in 1831,he was the son of John Newton Lane and the Agnes Bagot and was related to Mary. He was the elder brother of the Reverend Ernald Lane, former tutor to Mary's second son, Lewis Dawnay. Sidney was educated at Christ Church ,Oxford where he gained a BA and in 1853 was called to the Bar though never actually worked as a lawyer. He was a Justice of the Peace and appointed Deputy Lieutenant for Yorkshire, North Riding. On 15 November 1863 Mary gave birth to her eleventh child, a son, Sidney Ernald Ralph Lane to be followed by a daughter Mary Beatrice Sidney Lane in 1866.

To give some idea of the size and wealth of the family, the census of 1871 for Baldersby Park list 29 members of staff who lived in the house, and there must have been more who lived nearby and worked in the house, gardens, and estate. Mary and Sidney also had a house in London at 8 Belgrave Square (now the Syrian Embassy) and possibly another home on the Isle of Wight, called Puckaster House; which may have been owned by one of Sidney's relatives. 

It is worth remembering that up until this point the house was relatively modest and very little had been done to change the building since it was first built in 1609. Sidney and Mary were therefore clearly seeing an opportunity to convert a, by then 250 year old Jacobean hall, into a contemporary, luxury, Victorian property worthy of their wealth and status. 

The scale of their undertaking should not be underestimated. Sidney and Mary commissioned a significant amount of alteration and extension works, at least doubling the size of the house, significantly altering the interiors, and introducing "modern" conveniences. Unusually for such works rather than employing local craftsmen an advert was placed in the Northamptonshire Mercury in 1878:

"Alterations and enlargements of the above named Mansion...persons desirous of contracting for the works must send in sealed tenders to Mr. George Redfern, clerk of the works, Great Addington Hall"

The works included the creation of the two large wings on either side of the central "E" shape of the Jacobean building, along with considerable extensions to the rear of the building, and a completely new roof. The remains of the original roof can be seen within the existing roof void. 

The inclosure map of 1803 shows a number of houses and buildings on the west side of Main street opposite the Hare and Hounds, including Harris's Yard (presumably associated with Samuel Harris who ran the pub and the bakery); and the home of Thomas Chapman, a labourer. Two of the properties were part of manor estate holdings and leased to tenants, but one property was held by Robert Andrews and leased to a tenant. On the 1817 Ordnance Survey (OS) preliminary survey by William Hyett the buildings can still be seen, but by the first published OS map of 1884 the houses are gone, the land has become part of the Manor house arboretum, the wall that now runs down the length of Main street is in place and the entrance opposite Ringstead road is in place. This entrance was at some point blocked up in the early 20th century (see the village street scenes page), then re-opened in the later part of the 20th century though now little used.

It is difficult to know how much time Mary and Sidney spent in Great Addington - and it is doubtful that they would have been resident when the building work was ongoing. The census records of 1881 show them at Baldersby Park with 5 other members of the family and over 40 staff. In 1891 they are at Puckaster House on the Isle of Wight with 2 other members of the family and 15 servants. In  the 1901 census Sidney is at a house in Scotland, which may have been rented for a holiday as it does not seem to have any family connections.

There are very few newspaper articles about Mary and Sidney and they seemed to have been quite content to live a quiet life between their properties in Northamptonshire and London. In the Northampton Mercury of June 1910 there is one longer article about Sidney which describes him as "genial, popular, and scholarly", and also mentions that he has become "lame" and "restrained from the active life of his younger days"; it also describes him as an "old English country gentleman". 

Mary died on 14 April 1900 at her London home and was buried next to her first husband, William Dawnay, in the Churchyard of St James, Baldersby, Thirsk - a church that he had commissioned to be built. Sidney died on 29th December 1910 (aged 79) and is buried next to her, the wife and her two husbands buried side by side. Sidney and Marys' son, Sidney Ernald Ralph Lane, inherited the estate in Great Addington but did not seem to have spent much time there and let the property out, before eventually selling it.

Mary Isabel Dawnay Dowager Vicountess Downe - date & source unknown

Sidney Leveson Lane - circa 1910

Image from Northampton Mercury July 1910

Lionel Offley Micklem

In 1914 Lionel Offley Micklem (b:1873 d:1952) is recorded as "resident of The Manor, Great Addington", though the house and lands remains in the ownership of Sidney Ernald Ralph Lane. In 1898 he travelled to and from Australia, and again in 1901.He is listed as a registered elector in Australia in 1903. He had served in the Queensland Imperial Bushmen during the Boer War in South Africa; there is a photograph dated to 1900.

Lionel married Cynthia Constance Bevan (b:1879 d:1957) in  Kensington, London in 1903. In 1904 they travelled together to Australia and around that time Lionel purchased the Valley of Lagoons cattle station in Australia. They seemed to have stayed in Australia for a number of years, and had two children. 

In 1914 they are living in Great Addington at the Manor House and Lionel had  a temporary commission as Captain in the 6th Northamptonshire Regiment (November 19414), but relinquished commission on grounds of ill-health when battalion went overseas in July 1915. 

He then re-joined and served as Captain in 2nd Volunteers Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment from September 1917 until November 1919.

They seemed to have returned to Australia in 1922 and were still there in 1925. They sold the cattle station in 1929 and returned to England. He died in Kettering in 1952.

Lieutenant Colonel Malcolm Romer & Evelyn Romer

From 1919 to 1931 the house was occupied by Lieutenant Colonel Malcolm Romer, his wife Evelyn (nee Gipps) and their three children; Charles, Malcolm Nigel, and George. Malcolm was awarded the OBE in 1919. 

George is mentioned in the WW2 battle diary of the Irish Guards during the retreat to Dunkirk when No. 1 Company was ordered to hold back the German advance at Boulogne. 

"The Guards stoutly defended their area of responsibility from better equipped German forces, repulsing a number of German attacks on the 22nd, but on the morning of the 23rd, superior Germany forces attacked the battalion and the Guards suffered very heavily in the attack. Later that day the battalion was evacuated from Boulogne, they were the last to leave, and fought valiantly while waiting to be evacuated. They and the Germans were within fifty yards of each other. For two hours the Company beat off every attempt to outflank or rush them....The holding of this post by No. 1 Company, in spite of the very heavy losses it had suffered, reflects the very highest credit on Captain C. R. McCausland, 2/Lieutenant G. G. Romer and the other ranks who held the post."

George was sadly killed in 1940 shortly after returning to the UK, when he was involved in an accident whilst on duty, he was 21. 

Malcolm Nigel joined the Scots Guards and rose to the rank of Major and was awarded the MBE.

Evelyn Romer founded the Addingtons Womens Institute in 1924.

Lionel Offley Micklem in the uniform of the Queensland Imperial Bushmen during the Boer War - image circa 1900

Lieutenant Colonel Malcolm Romer OBE - 1917 

Evelyn Romer - 1920

Evelyn and Malcolm would have been living in Great Addington at this time

Evelyn Romer with her sons Charles, Malcolm, and George; and Bill the dog

1920 in the Manor House garden

Winifred Breitmeyer

The house, by now generally referred to as Addington Manor, was purchased in 1931 by Winifrid Breitmeyer (b:1890 d:1986). She had been living since March 1913 with her father, Ludwig Breitmeyer, at Rushton Hall which he had leased from the Clark-Thornhill family. Her mother had died in 1917. Her father was one of the founding Directors of De Beers, the diamond business. On her fathers death in 1931 - leaving an estate with a value today of £43million - the Clark-Thornhills put Rushton Hall up for sale and Winifred moved to Great Addington where she remained for the rest of her life. She did not marry.

In the 1939 Register for England & Wales there are six members of staff listed as living in the house with Winifred, including Edith Gorham, Sadie Dukes, Enid Thomas, Kate Mason (later Templeman), and Lotty Crow. 

Winifred gave land to the village for the creation of a tennis club soon after she arrived and it seemed to have been flourishing with 50 members reported in 1933.

Winifred was a keen sportswoman and reports of local fox hunts and social events through the 1930's often carried her name. It seems she got an early start in life, as an article in The Tatler in 1905 mentions:

"Nobody...could fail to have admired the way in which Mr. Breitmeyer's little daughter, Winifred, used to follow the hunt before she was eleven years old. Of course she was capitally mounted and coached, for Mr. Breitmeyer has done well in diamonds and keeps good cattle at Cuckfield Park" (which is where they were living before moving to Rushton Hall)

Winifred Breitmeyer (left of picture) & her two brothers. 

"The children of L. Breitmeyer, Esq"  by Thomas Cooper Gotch, 1898

Winifred Breitmeyer & the Manor House as featured in Northamptonshire & Bedfordshire Life July 1973

Winifrid Breitmeyer. c1980

Image source unknown

Hounds meet at the Manor House. Source unknown. Date c1930s

Fete & fancy dress parade at the Manor House 1942. Source unknown.

Simon Bond

After the death of Winifred Breitmeyer, the author and illustrator Simon Bond purchased the house and lived there until 1993, he then did a house swap with Geoffery & Carolyn Groome, moving to their house in Langar in Nottinghamshire and the Groomes paying the difference in price for the Manor House

Geoffery & Carolyn Groome 

Geoffery and Carolyn updated and renovated the house; and also added a stable block area - the original stables having been lost over time - and swimming pool to the property. They also spent a large amount of time on restoring and replanting the gardens, which were often open to visitors annually to help raise money for charity.

Manor Farm 2021. The dormer style windows in the attic were added in the 1990's when the property was extensively modernised.

Manor Farm circa 1985. Image from Brian Duncan collection.

Threshing at Manor Farm in 1911. The farm bailiff at this time was Richard Whincup. It would be reaonable to assume that members of the Whincup family are in the photograph. Image source unknown

Threshing at Manor Farm, circa 1958. Image source unknown.

Manor Farm yard and outbuildings, circa 1965. All the buildings shown have since been demolished. Image from the Brian Duncan collection.

Manor Farm, circa 1958. The roof is still thatched. The people in the image are not known but are presumably members of the Tyler family who worked the farm up until the 1970's, afterwhich it was the residential home of John Tyler. Image source unknown.

Manor Farm

The farm that was associated with Great Addington Manor House became known as Manor Farm, though it only seem to have gained this name in the 20th Century.

The building is shown on the oldest available map, the 1803 enclosure map, and is a Grade II listed building. Its presumed to have been built at some point between 1700-1800 though no early deeds have yet been discovered.

There is an earlier reference to a farm house in Great Addngton belonging to what we now know as Great Addington Manor; this was in the sale by Samuel Whitby in 1700 to David King, on behalf of Robert Lamb (see the entry regarding Great Addington Manor above for more information). However, there are two farm houses amongst a list of other properties that are mentioned and it is not known which one was to become known as Manor Farm. 

"sold by Samuel Whitby of Great Addington gentleman, to David King, citizen and mercer of London, to the use of Robert Lambe the younger of Newton Brumshold; 6th May 1700...the manor of Great Addington, the mansion-house, with close adjoining...a farmhouse in Great Addington with close adjoining...a farmhouse in Great Addington, with close adjoining, Woodruff's Close and 2¼ yardlands, all formerly held by Thomas Woodruff;"

Samuel Whitby had purchased a number of properties and lands in the village, adding gradually to the estate before selling it in 1700.

If it is one of the farmhouses mentioned in the 1700 sale then it is clear that the Manor Farm was built much earlier than 1700. It was probably extensively modified during the period 1700-1800 leading to its "Georgian" listing.

The building is made of squared courses of limestone with a modern concrete tile roof. All the lintels over the windows and doors are wooden. The gable ends are finished with ashlar, and the chimney stacks are made of brick and stone stacks. The rear of the building (the Ringstead Road side) has two 19th century sash windows under wood lintels and a lean-to building with a pantile roof. The interior has the remains of two open fireplaces and the kitchen retains a stone sink. MANOR FARMHOUSE, Great Addington - 1040384 | Historic England  

In 1803 the farm and many other buildings in the village were owned by William Zouch Lucas Ward who through marriage had become one of the major land owners in the area. See the section regarding Great Addington Manor House for more information about William Zouch Lucas Ward and the Great Addington Manor estate.

Manor Farm was occupied by a series of tenant farmers or farm managers for the next 250 years as the farm and its lands remained with the estate. There are no records available before 1803 but in that year Thomas Checkley and his wife Frances were listed as tenants on the 1803 enclosure map. At that time the property is called Checkleys Home. Thereafter in the census records it is simply referred to as Farm House. Over the next 100 years the property has a succession of tenant farmers, often changing between one census and the next.

Many other properties in the village show generations of the same village families over the tears, but  Manor Farm is noticeable by the fact that often the tenants are from outside the village and rarely seems to be stay very long. 

In 1841 the tenant farmers name is given as William Curtis, who was then aged only 18. By 1851 another tenants is living in the farm house. In 1861 George & Martha Thurlow are the tenants. 

In the census of 1881, Thomas & Charlotte Parkin are listed as farm bailiffs manging 288 acres and employing 10 men and 3 boys. The couple and their family - who seem to have been brought down by Sidney Leveson Lane from Yorkshire in the 1870's when Sidney Leveson Lane brought Great Addington Manor house - are still managing the farm in 1891.

In 1901, Richard Whincup - also from Yorkshire - is the new farm bailiff. He is 65 years old, widowed, and lives in the house with his youngest son George, then aged 14, and two servants - also from Yorkshire. He is another that was brought down by Sidney Leveson Lane as his father and mother ran one of the farms on the estate in Yorkshire owned by Sidney Leveson Lane's wife, Mary Isabel Dawnay, the Dowager Vicountess Downe

Richard Whincup had moved to Great Addington to become farm bailiff around 1897. Eventually his other sons, John Hardwick, Richard Donald, and daughter Winefred also came to live the Addingtons.

The 1911 census shows Richard, then aged 75, still as the farm bailiff. John works as an agricultural labourer, his son, also named Richard, also works on the farm. George is a shepherd and Winifred is a dairy maid. At the time of the census all were shown as single. John Whincup dies in 1913 and Richard Whincup died in 1914 and the rest of the family moved away from the Addingtons.

After the death of Sidney Leveson Lane in 1910 his son, Sidney Ernald, had inherited the estate, but does not appear to have lived in Great Addington. The Manor House itself was occupied by wealthy tenants (see the section above regarding the Manor House), but little is known about Manor Farm during the this time. There is a photo from 1911 showing farm workers in the yard, probably including members of the Whincup family. But after Richard Whincup's death it is not known how lived in the farm house, or how the land was managed. 

The next available record is from 1939. Winifrid Breitmeyer had brought the Manor House in 1931 - but it is not known whether the estate had been sold off in whole or in sections by then. The 1939 census shows Winifred Broom, Little Addington Schoolmistress, as the sole occupant.

In 1940 Oscar Battle, the brewer from Cranford, is shown as running Manor Farm - although whether he lived in the house is unknown. At some point between 1911 and 1940 the farm must have been separated from the estate of Great Addington Manor House and the land and the farm(s) sold, thus ending its role as the working farm of the Manor House. 

In 1951 Oscar Battle put the farm up for sale as he was retiring. This included the Manor Farm house, Patch Lodge Farm and a number of plots of land totalling 255 acres, though it was all to be sold split into four parcels of land.

The Tyler family brought Manor Farm and lands and it was run as a working farm until 1970 when it became the residential home of John Tyler, with the lands being sold.

John Tyler of Manor Farm in 1982 Evening Telegraph report on how a spring which led from a well near the church to Manor Farm had dried up after at least 200 years of use. 

Gardeners Cottage 2020

Gardeners Cottage - Circa 1990

Brian Duncan collection

Gardeners Cottage - red lines showing original height of gable wall end and roof line.

Cranford Rd  circa 1955

Gardeners Cottage is the left hand side of this image. From Brian Duncan collection.

Gardeners Cottage

Little is known about the origins of Gardeners Cottage. The name is a modern introduction which only appears in the latter half of the 20th century. We can see on the 1803 inclosure map that it was an occupied building at that time, so we know it is at least 220 years old, though like many older properties in the village it is much changed. On the map it is listed simply as property No.4 and was one of a number that belonged to the owner of the large estate, William Zouch Lucas Ward, through his marriage to the heiress Mary Lambe who had inherited Addington Hall (now Great Addington Manor House) along with much of the parish.

Like many of the cottages in the village it is very likely that it would have originally had a thatched roof. Many properties in the village were later modified to be slate tiled and at the same time the roof height was often changed. Traces of an earlier lower gable end and roof height can be seen.

The external walls of the house are made of stone and from the front it is clear that when the roof height was raised – and possibly a second story added to what may have been a single story building – different building material was used. A large iron bar would have been added going from front to back of the cottage and the “X” shaped end can be seen on the outside of the house, effectively pinning the front and back walls in place. This was probably added at the time the walls were raised to give stability to the higher front wall. There is also a distinct "ledge" along the front wall marking the top of the original front wall, the second storey is built up from this ledge.  The chimneys on the house are made of brick and are of a more modern construction.

The doorway on the side of the property in the photograph from 1990 is not shown on a photograph from 1960.

The name of the tenant in 1803 is not given. The name of other occupants in the same section of the village are given though – Samuel Vorley at Rush Glen Cottage and Thomas Colson at a house named simply as “Colson’s Homestead” which is most likely the property now known as Huxloe House.

By 1841 what we know as Cranford Road is named simply as “Back Street”. There are 5 properties listed in the street. Two of the houses that were built up to the churchyard wall and shown on the 1803 map were demolished around 1834.

Based on the census data from 1841 it appears that the occupants of Gardeners Cottage were James & Sarah Panther. At that time there were no other houses beyond Gardeners cottage apart from Rectory farm – which we know at that time to be occupied by William Wadsworth and his family.

James Panther and Sarah (nee Roe) were married in 1811 in Great Addington. James was from Cranford and Sarah from Woodford. James and Sarah were both born in 1785. They had a son, William, but he died aged 14 in 1834. They were still living in the village in the 1871 census, now in their mid-80’s and both listed as “paupers”. James died in June of that year. Sarah’s death cannot be traced.

The census records between 1851 and 1921 shed little further light on occupants as the census records show nearly every house as “cottage” without a street name, and with few names or numbers to any of the properties. A few records and cross references from other sources has been found however.

When researching the house I came across additional information relating to Harvey John Scull who was born in at Gardenders Cottage in 1923, the eldest son of Herbert and Elizabeth.

Flight Lt John Willoughby-Moore (Pilot).

Flight Lt Brian Peacock (Co-pilot).

Squadron Leader Harvey J. Scull (Navigator).

Flight Lt James D.Watson (Navigator).

Flying Officer Anthony D. Baker. (AEO - Air Electronics Officer),

Chief Technician Edward C. Evison (Crew Chief).

Headline from Detroit newpaper 1958 reporting the Vulcan air crash in which Harvey John Scull was killed.

Site of the Vulcan Bomber crash, Detroit, USA, 1958. Source unknown.

The Spinneys

In 1803 the enclosure map shows the land that the Spinneys was later built on as a previously enclosed field - fenced in many years before 1803 - called Short Lane Close, and was owned by William-Zouch Lucas Ward as part of the Addington Hall estate. 

On the 1884 OS map the building is not shown, but field has now been subdivided and is shown to be wooded. The house must have then been built at some point between 1884 and 1899 as it appears on the 1899 OS Map. It and Spinney Cottage must have been built around the same time.

It is unknown who built the house, but in 1901 the occupant is Elizabeth Ann Scott (b:1837 Finedon) who list her occupation as Surgical Nurse. Also in the house on the same day is her nephew, Herbert (b:1893 Wimbledon) - his surname seems to be Honsge, but this may be a misreading as the handwriting is poor. Elizabeth writes that she is "living on own means", 10 years earlier she had been living in London. 

In 1911 Alfred Grey (b:1845 Oundle), the school master is living in the house with his daughter Laura Gray(b:1881 Warmington), who is also the school teacher. 

By 1939, Spinney House is occupied by Mary Lucy Pendred (b:1858 d:1940) who describes herself as Novelist and Dramatist. She was the daughter of John Pendered, auctioneer of Wellingborough. Also living there is the housekeeper, Annie Cotton (b:1883). 

When Mary Pendered died in 1940, she left her books and "all profits and royalities" to the League of Nations. She also left money in trust for her "companion, Marta Davies, for life" and a small bequest for Annie Cotton.

Spinney Cottage. C. May, 2021

Spinney Cottage - B. Duncan collection c1990

Spinney Cottage

In 1803 the enclosure map shows the land that Spinney Cottage was built on as a previously enclosed field - enclosed many years before 1803 - called Short Lane Close, and was owned by William-Zouch Lucas Ward as part of the Addington Hall estate. 

On the 1884 OS map the building is not shown, but field has now been subdivided and is shown to be wooded. The house must have then been built at some point between 1884 and 1899 as it appears on the 1899 OS Map. 

As it shares part of its name with The Spinneys and the land ownership was originally with the Manor House estate, the two houses were presumably built at the same time.

The first reference occurs in the 1901 census, but the house is shown as being empty at that time. 

By 1911 Spinney Cottage is occupied, with Emma Betts (b:1873 Hendon) and her two children, Henry (b:1903 Cranford) and Phylis (b:1909 Cranford).

There is then a gap of 28 years before we get any more written records, and in the 1939 census Spinney Cottage is occupied by Frances (b:1887 d153) & Hilda (b:1889 d:1962) Ball. Francis is a bakery roundsman. Frances & Hilda remained in the cottage until they died.

All Saints Cottage (or Rectory Cottage)

The name of the house implies some relationship to the church or rectory - the rectory was the lands belonging to the church in the village and does not mean the house formerly known as The Rectory. As the owner in 1803 is the parish clerk this does give an indication that the cottage was either built on land that belonged to the church or the building itself did. 

It is clearly an old property and is at least 250 years old.

The 1803 enclosure map shows the building and gives the owner as Samuel Harris. He also owned another house - that appears to be larger - on the site where Sunneyside now stands and was the site of the Blacksmiths. The implication in the list is that Samuel lived in the larger house and may have let out All Saints Cottage to tenants. There is a record of a Samuel Harris in property tax redemptions from 1798.

There is some confusion as there was two men named Samuel Harris living in the village in 1803. One was the individual described in this section and the other was the owner of the Hare & Hounds (and also a baker and a farmer). Samuel Harris who owned All Saints Cottage died in 1803, aged 71, he is recorded as serving as parish clerk (a part-time paid role) but the register does not give his normal occupation. 

However, his father (John b:1700) and grandfather (Nathaniel b:1670) were blacksmiths in the village. A family tradition going back to the late 1600's and the blacksmiths was always located where Sunneyside is, so it is likely that Samuel was the village blacksmith.

There is an interesting entry in the parish register of 1800 that relates to Samuel Harris:

"In the year 1800, the oldest of the two Register books was rescued by the Rector form the bacon-rack of Samuel Harris, parish clerk, where it would have shortly been the prey of rats and mice; its present appearance will give pretty strong evidence that their attacks had already commenced. "

Brian Duncan's history carried a comment regarding a record in the Northamptonshire Records Office (YZ 7176), that in 1764 there was a public house called the Swan Inn. It was described as being:

"A cottage and all that Close or Pightle of ground adjoining the lands of Robert Andrews in the North & East, and the homestead of William Beeby in the South"

From this Brian suggested that that the Swan Inn, was todays All Saints Cottage. However, I have not been able to confirm this information, nor find the document referred to. The 1803 enclosure map does not record it as a public house.

Following Samuels death in 1803 the property seems to have passed to John Harris (probably his son). Brian Duncan also refers to a letter dated 17th  December 1829 from the War Office stated that:

 "John Harris of the 82nd Foot, died at the Mauritious (Mauritius) on 29th December 1829". 

As with many properties in the village, the names seem to have changed over the years. In the 20th century it is referred to as All Saints Cottage and also Rectory Cottage, by people who were living in the village at the same time.

Unfortunately for the next 100 years we have no information about the house as even though the census records exist for every ten years from 1841 onwards it is impossible to say who was living in the house in 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, or 1891 as not a single house in Main street is given a name or number in any of the census returns. So many houses have been demolished (and built) over the last two hundred years, it is very difficult even to work back from named buildings such as the Hare & Hounds, or the Rectory. For instance where Vine Cottage now stands, was formerly a row of houses, behind the school was another row of seven houses. 

In 1901 the census records Millicent Harris, a widow, aged 77, and her son Thomas Harris,  age 52 and single, an agricultural labourer were living in the house.

William Boon (b:1902) a long time resident of the village, said of All Saints Cottage:

"'Old Sarah' kept the shop opposite the Church, All Saints Cottage. She was dotty and used to walk up and down the street saying prayer out loud. There were 5 houses behind the shop, Mrs Ward lived on followed by Mrs Linnell."

This may have been a Sarah Charles - though again it has proved difficult to establish the facts.

The last census that is available is for 1939, and again the information regarding the occupants is unclear.

Ferndale, April 2021

Southern gable end of Ferndale showing evidence of earlier, lower thatched roof with a diagonal line of colour difference between earlier and later stone work. Also clearly seen is that though the front of the building is brick - mid-19th century - the earlier building is made of stone and is at least Georgian, if not earlier.


The 1803 enclosure map, shows a building in the same location as Ferndale, but it is one of those buildings that is depicted in grey, indicating that it was not inhabited - so possibly a barn. However the plot of land on which it stands is given a number, 26, and another building - no longer standing - is shown as being occupied. The owner of the "house and yard", is William-Zouch Lucas Ward, the owner of the Manor house and much of the lands and buildings in the parish.

Ferndale is one of a number of listed buildings in the village. The listing details are on the Historic England web site. It is recorded as being of early 19th century construction and made of squared coursed limestone with a brick facade and slate roof. The south gable has clear marking showing that at one time it had a lower and steeper roof, which would probably have been thatched, as would most of the earliest buildings in the village. It is therefore possible that the earlier uninhabited barn was thatched and the roof raised and converted to slate at the same time as the brick front was built.

Though few house names or numbers are given for the majority of the houses in Great Addington over the centuries, as Ferndale is located next to the Hare and Hounds we are able to see who was living in the house. The first census is 1841 and Charles Wilson (b:1801) and his three children, Charles (b:1827), Lucy (b:1832), and Mary (b:1835) are living in the house. Mary Wilson (nee Riddle) had died in 1837. 

In 1851, Jane Abbot (b: 1812) and her three daughters and one son are living in the house. In the form where it would normally state the persons occupation, it says "relieved from the Parish", which indicates that Jane was living on charity provided by the parish - it was the parish responsibility to provide for those unable to work. Jane's two eldest daughters - aged 15 and 11 - are given a lace makers. At this time lace making was a significant industry in the area. Jane is given as the Head of the Household. 

In 1861 James and Elizabeth Ward and their son James and daughters one of whose names is difficult to read and the other named Charlotte. Charlotte's name is Allen and their is a Henry Allen in the house, marked as step-son. James the elder and his son are both agricultural labourers. Henry is a shoe maker. The womens occupations are not given.

There were many people with the same surname in the village and often with the same forenames. It is confusing that in 1871 a James Ward (b:1801 d:1872) and his wife Ann Ward (b:1811 as Ann Wallis of Lowick) are living in the house with their son James who is an agricultural labourer. James (the elder) and Ann appear to be marked as paupers and may have been living on the parish. There is good reason to believe that this is the same couple, but why Elizabeth is now Ann is unclear. Both record indicate that she was born in Lowick, so it is presumably the same person.

John Harris in his will of January 1868 gave his house, garden and blacksmiths shop - which he had purchase from John Ward Boughton Leigh (the owner of the Manor House and lands) - plus another house, farm, yard, orchard and four cottages and premises (formerly the property of William Harris) to his wife and then to his son John Harris and daughter Mary (later to marry and take the name Painter).

There was a row of cottage that once stood between Ferndale and Vine Cottage and it is probably these that are being referred to. They are not shown as being there in 1803.

In 1881 the house is occupied by Rhoda Harris, age 68 and originally from Hargreave, who gives her occupation as Blacksmiths Widow. Also in the house is her son and daughter, John, a blacksmith, age 37, and Rhoda, age 30, a seamstress.

In 1891 Charles and Fanny Hanger are living in the house. Fanny was born Fanny Matilda Loakes in Great Addington and married Charles Hanger from Sywell. Charles was a stone mason. Also in the house is their son Cecil, aged just 4 months, and Annie Loakes, marked as visitor.  Charles and Fanny have more children, including another son called Rowland. They leave Great Addington around 1894 and move to Cranford. There are a collection of interesting records from the United States showing that the two sons travelled together to the USA in 1912, on the ship Olympic, both employed as Footmen. Cecil enlist into the US army in 1917 and Rowland is drafted into the US army in 1918. Cecil gets sent back to fight in France in 1918. Both survive the war. In 1942, Rowland is again drafted into the US army. He survives and both brothers went on to live long lives in their adopted homeland, living near New York.

In 1901 Thomas (aged 50) and Sarah Mayes (aged 45) and their family are living in the house. Their children at that time were Albert, Ernest, Rose, Frank, and Reginald.  Thomas, Albert and Ernest were all employed as agricultural labourers. 

Just 10 years later and Thomas Mayes is now dead and Sarah is head of the family and Ferndale is now the village post office and shop - you can still see where the post box used to be set into the wall of the house. Ernest, aged 25, had married, but his wife died soon after the birth of their first child, and he is living in the house with his mother and the baby Violet. Ernest is now working as a blacksmith. Also in the house are Rose, aged 21, working as assistant Post Mistress; Frank, aged 17, working as a woodsman; and Reginald, aged 16, who works as a farm labourer.

In 1939 Ethel Forscutt, a widow, lives in the house with her son Cyril, aged 25. 

Hare and Hounds, April 2021

Hare and Hounds c2015

Hare and Hounds interior,  c2015

Hare and Hounds interior c2015

Fred Abbott, publican from 1955. Image from Evening Telegraph 1968

Philip & Mary Parry took on the tenancy of the Hare and Hounds in 1995, image from Kettering Evening Telegraph, 1995.

Hare and Hounds

Hare and Hounds, c1900. Beyond the Hare is Ferndale and beyond that is the Bakery which stood in front of Vine Cottage and has now been demolished. From B. Duncan collection.

So far no deeds have come to light relating to Hare and Hounds. It is marked on the 1803 inclosure map as a public house, though no name is given, and it is part of the William-Zouch Lucas-Ward estate which including the Manor House and approximately a quarter of the land and buildings of the parish. 

It is a listed building and believed to be early to mid-18th century, the details can be found on the Historic England web site. It has changed hands many times but remain largely unchanged - though the interior bar area was moved and a new staircase and external access to the top floor was added in the 21st century when the top floor was turned into a separate flat with its own dedicated entrance.

The listing records it as early/mid 18th century made of squared coursed limestone with a slate and pantile roof. It is L-shape in plan, and two storeys high. The ground floor windows have shutter recesses alongside the windows and the remains of the shutter hinge can be seen embedded into the wall on one window. There is a 19th century single-storey one-unit extension to right. The interior has some original spine (supporting) beams and original plank doors. 

Like many public houses, the Hare and Hounds would have offered rooms for traveller or visitors to the village; and, as with the Leopard Inn, the Hare and Hounds would have been used to hold public auctions. An example from 1809, when 90 Ash and Elm tree were to be sold, is quite typical of the time and also names the occupant of the Hare and Hounds at that time:

"apply to Mr. Samuel Harris, at the sign of the Hare-and-Hounds in Great Addington"

A Samuel Harris is shown as tenant of William-Zouch Lucas-Ward in 1798 and this may be the same person. Samuel died in 1815 and the entry in the parish register records him as:

"Samuel Harris, farmer, baker and keeper of the ale-house known by the sign of the Hare & Hounds, aged 50"

The first census of 1841 lists Mary Warmsley as the occupant and publican, aged 50, she was born in 1791. Also in the building of the night of the census are a William Wood (15), John Hyde (25), Charles Wrenshaw (40) and his son, also called Charles (15). Occupations are given for William Wood and John Hyde, but the census taker has used abbreviations and the handwriting is difficult to read. Only the entry for Charles Wrenshaw (elder) gives a clear occupation, horse dealer. Presumably all of the people in the Hare and Hounds, apart from Mary, were just staying overnight.

The village directory entry for just six years later in 1847 gives Thomas Chapman as the publican. He is still there in 1851 (aged 52) and giving his occupation as, Victualler. He lives with his wife Mary (aged 48). Lodging in the house on that night was Frederick Abbott (aged 32), a Cord Wainer - somebody who makes new shoes from leather, as opposed to a cobbler who repairs shoes, Frederick is from Woodford.

By 1861 the landlord had changed and Benjamin Cole (aged 55) and from Orlingbury is now in charge. Sarah his wife (aged 57) is also from Orlingbury. In the pub on that night are two lodgers, John Harris and Samuel Pettifer who both mark the their occupations as Government...... but the last word is unclear, perhaps they were working on the census. John is from Oxfordshire and Samuel from Northamptonshire.

The village directory from 1864 still has Benjamin as the publican and shop keeper.

The village directory of 1871 gives George Knight as the publican, but the census of that same year records Edward Perkins (age 37) as the landlord. Presumably the landlord had changed between the two records. Edward lived with his wife Mary (aged 37). They were both from Irthlingborough and had married in 1853, at which time Edward had listed his occpuation as Shoemaker. Mary's maiden name was Vorley. They had two children, Elizabeth and Leonard, aged 11 and 10 at the time of the census. Also in the house visiting that night was Mary's mother, Elizabeth Vorley.

The village directory of 1874 has George Wright as the landlord, however this may be an error as the 1881 census records George Knight as landlord. As the directory of 1871 had George Knight as the publican, he must have taken over in 1871 and remained as publican for the next 30 year. The village directory of 1884 records it as George Smith, but this is probably another error, as in 1894 it is George Knight again. In 1903 it still shows George Knight, and also in 1906. 

The census records are therefore the best records to go by. George Knight (aged 39) in 1881 is from Little Addington and is married to Hannah (nee Beeby) from Great Addington. Also in the house is Emily Hamlin (or Tomlin) (age 16), a servant, from Raunds; and Issac Abbot (37) lodging in the house, he is from Great Addington and is an Iron Miner. 

George and Hannah are still running the public house in 1891. There are three boarders, Isaac Abbott (still!), John Newman, and Charles Patrick. All three men are employed as Iron Stone Labourers. John and Charles are from Cranford.

George and Hannah do not appear to have children and in 1901 are still running the pub. They have their niece, Alice Hunt (age 18) from Catworth, Huntingdon, now living with them and working as barmaid. Boarding in the Hare and Hounds is Isaac Abbott, now aged 57, and still working in the iron stone quarries as labourer. George died in 1910, and at the next census in 1911, Hannah is widowed and lives in Little Addington on her own after 46 years of marriage.

Following George's death, David Payne took over as publican and appears as such in the census of 1911 and is also still there in 1914. He is aged 48 and lists his occupation as Farm Horse Keeper and Inn Keeper, David was born in Great Addington. His Wife, Margaret, is the same age and lists herself as Inn Keeper as well. She was born in Spennymoor, County Durham. Living in the house in 1911 is their daughter, Lilian Rose (22), who gives no occupation; David's brother, Benjamin Payne (40), who is a cow man on farm; and also, Isaac Abbott, now aged 67, still boarding, but now working as a Farm Labourer. Ten years earlier David and Margaret had been living in Old Stones, and Benjamin had been living with them then. In 1939 they are living in Ivy Cottage.

In 1939 Joseph Samuel Partridge (59) and his wife Emily (61) are running the pub. The village directory of 1940 has Joseph as the publican.

Around 1955, Fred & Elsie Abbott took on the tenancy and an article in the Evening Telegraph in 1968 records them as still being there.

In 1995, Philip & Mary Parry took on the tenancy of the Hare and Hounds, which at that time was owned by the Charles Wells brewery group.

Hare and Hounds, c1900. Beyond the Hare is Ferndale and beyond that is the Bakery which stood in front of Vine Cottage and has now been demolished. The  footpath on the left of the image is much higher than the road level, unlike today. From B. Duncan collection.

The Longhouse 

As with many of the older village properties little information is known regarding when the house was first built. The 1803 inclosure map is again the key source showing the building and naming the owner as John Vorley. 

The Vorley family is an unusual name, which today can be found in many parts of the UK, but seems to originates from this area of north-east of Northamptonshire, with lots of reference to the surname Vorley in Islip, Thrapston, Lowick, Raunds, Irthlingborough and Great Addington. 

John had other relatives who owned their own homes and lived in the village at the same time, as the enclosure map list; Sackville Vorley, living in the property now known as Rushglen, Samuel Vorley what is now called, Old Stones, and a James Vorley, a weaver, living in one of the houses that was then opposite the Hare and Hounds - this has now been demolished and was situated in what is now part of the Manor House gardens. More information about the other Vorley family members is given in the information about the other houses in which they lived.

The Longhouse, circa 2019

In this photograph taken prior to 1955 the row of separate houses that were later converted into "The Long House" can clearly be seen. If you look closely separate entrance doors and garden wall/fences can also be seen. This is very much how the property and surrounding village would have looked during the 18th and 17th centuries. From Brian Duncan collection.

John (b:1774 d:1853) may had recently moved to live in Great Addington, as the parish register shows that he was originally from Islip and married Sarah King of Great Addington, in October 1803. They both sign their own names - it was not unusual at that time for many people to be unable to write - and they therefore had received some form of education and could at least write their own names.

John was probably the son of John Vorley of Islip and related to Sibley Vorley who owned the Woolpack Inn, Islip. There were some interesting names in the Vorley family, including Sackville Vorley, who lived in Great Addington, and Rice Vorley who lived in Thrapston.

The register of electors in 1835 & 1837 lists John as an elector and property owner, you had to own property to be able to vote.

In Brian Duncan's village history he mentions that the building was already 4 separate cottages by 1803. 

The entire building is shown as being owned by John Vorley at that time, however if there were tenants in the building they are not listed. By 1841 the building is definitely subdivided into 4 dwellings, as the census gives the names of all the occupants. John and Sarah Vorley are living in one section with two of their children, Caroline, 21, and Sarah, 12, and another child aged 4, her name is difficult to read but could be Sarah Adams - perhaps a granddaughter?

In the other three sections are the Lovell, Sanders, and Spriggs families. The row of cottages is referred to as Vorleys Yard. In total there are 21 people living in the same building that we see today, which means that Vorleys Yard must have been a very busy, and close packed community. John lists his occupation as Agricultural Labourer which would have helped to supplement the income from letting parts of the house. 

In 1851, John (now aged 77) and Sarah (65) are still living there. John gives his occupation as Proprietor of Houses - presumably the 4 cottages of Vorleys Yard. John dies two years later in 1853.

According to the Brian Duncan History, around 1865, James Rennie Wilkinson buys the property, adding it to the large estate of 430 acres that he had brought in the area.

The census of 1861, 1871,1881, 1891, and 1901 do not name many of the buildings in the village, some are named and some can be inferred, but many just list "cottage" as the address, and often do not use a street name, Vorleys Yard is no longer mentioned and it is therefore difficult to say who was living in the building at these times. Though there does seem to be multiple families called Abbott - often living next door to each other - and also Beeby. 

In the 1901 census, what we now call Lower Street, is referred to as West Side Street, but again the houses are mainly unnamed.

In 1911, the census forms were changed and now instead of each house being with other in the same street, the individual forms are now separate per household and the only address given is "Great Addington".

Following James Rennie Wilkinson's death, his land and estate was sold and it appears that Hubert W R Howard (originally from Holme in Huntingdonshire) brought much of the estate - including Home Farm, where he was stil living in 1939 - the Corn Mill and a number of cottages, including those 4 cottages that made up The Longhouse. Hubert's died in 1947, and his estate passed to his widow Ethel May Howard. Following her death in 1969 - by this time she was living in Oundle - Home Farm was sold along with the 4 cottages to John Talbot Williams. By 1969 the 4 cottages were in possession of Mr & Mrs G R Elliott who in turn sold hem to Mr A G Holden, who appears to be responsible for their conversion into a single dwelling.

The site of the Cottage in 1803. The red building is inhabited, the grey buildings on the same plot are barns or workshops. These would later be converted into housing.

The Cottage showing modern site and original boundary, also site of Medieval rubbish pit & pottery finds and most recent well or cistern find.

The Cottage, May 2021

The side of The Cottage in Gauls Lane, 2021. The different heights of the buildings, bricked up windows and doors of what were previously a number of separate dwellings can be seen. The buildings were originally thatched. Image April 2021

Harlestone House as planned by Humphrey Repton circa 1820 for Robert Andrew the owner of the estates of Harlestone, Crick, and Great Addington.

1885 OS map showing the different buildings on the original site. Much of the area numbered 53 on the map was sold to Samuel Loakes in 1898.

In 1904 Ralph Abbott buys land marked in red from James Rennie Wilkinson who owned the Cottage and many other buildings and land in the parish. 


1913 Sales Deed. Rennie Beauzville Wilkinson, nephed of James Rennie Wilkinson, sells The Cottage site (mauve). Also highlighted on the map are Tea Tree Cottage (red) and the Redlands site (brown), though it is not known why these are highlighted on this old map.

John Thomas (Jack) Hollis and Agnes Alice (Angie) Ward , at the rear of the picture, on their wedding day, 1908. Image source unknown.

The Cottage

It is unclear when it the buildings known as The Cottage was first built but it is at least Georgian in origin as the land and buildings are shown on the 1803 inclosure map. 

The house was not given its current name until the 20th century. The present building is stone built with a tile roof, though formerly thatched. It is L-shape in plan, with a lane between it and the Manor House garden wall - a lane formerly known as Gauls Lane - on the one side and the houses of Manor Close on the other side and to the rear. 

The adjacent Manor Close area was developed in the 1970’s on land that had once belonged to the Cottage, and at that time a late medieval rubbish pit (1450-1500) containing medieval pottery was found near to the Cottage. The proximity of the site to the existing buildings and the fact that there were no other earlier buildings on this site is a strong indication that the house or associated buildings are medieval in origin.

At the time of the inclosure in 1803  the land owner was Robert Andrew (1739-1807), who was one of the largest land owners in the village, though he himself lived in Harlestone House near Northampton. The Andrew family were a wealthy and prominent Northamptonshire land owning family with considerable land holdings across the county. See the Tudors & Stuarts section for information regarding the Andrew family.

His son, Robert Andrew (the younger), inheireted the Andrew estate in 1807, but died in 1831 without an heir.  Most of the Andrew lands in Northamptonshire were sold to pay off debts by his brother-in-law and executor, Colonel Henry Packe. The Great Addington part of the estate remained with the Packe family until 1865 when the executors of Colonel Henry Packe, and his wife Eliza, sold the lands.

Brian Duncan’s history mentions:

 “By 1847 the property was described a House Buildings and Homestead formerly part of George Allen’s dwelling then occupied as 4 cottages by Samuel Hackney, Robert Loakes senior, William Hackney and Thomas Ball”

George Allen is shown as a tenant of Robert Andrew in the 1798 Land Tax Redemption register of land owners and tenants. He is also shown on the Rev. James Tyley notes regardining the land owners and tenants in 1803 (see the Georgian section); as a tenant he is managing the largest amount of land and paying the largest rent to Robert Allen.  A George Allen is also shown on the 1777 Militia List for the village. There a couple of conclusions that we can draw from the facts: 

George was born in 1752, the son of William and Susannah Allen. He married Mary Shelton, of Raunds, on the 30th June 1783. Mary died and was buried in December 1789, though their son, also called George, survived the mother and was baptised in October 1790. On the 23rd January 1791 George (senior) remarried to Jane Harris of Great Addington. He died and Jane remarried in 1807 to Daniel Abbott of Little Addington.

The mortgage document from 4th March 1847 shows that the property executors names as John Edward Dowdeswell and (Colonel) Henry Packe. The land area covered about 2.5 acres and included The Cottage, the Manor Close area, plus the land that Brecon House and Bank House now stand upon. 

At some point between 1803 and 1847 the buildings had been subdivided into 3 or 4 dwellings and were now occupied by the tenants named, and presumably their families.

The 1841 census gives the following 3 families of the village that match the given names and the right location within the village. The occupations and ages are as at 1841:

The reference to Robert Loakes is difficult to identify as the only Robert Loake recorded in the census of 1841 is just 3 years old, clearly not the same individual as identified in the 1847 document. We can only assume that a Robert Loakes moved into the village between 1841 and 1847.

The families seemed to have stayed in the four cottages as the census records from 1851, 1861, and 1871 all have Loake, Hackney and Ball families living in what are taken to be the same buildings – though as no names are given for many of the buildings it is a matter of conjecture based on proximity to the few building that are named.

The same families are still living in the houses in 1881, though Thomas and May are listed as Paupers.

The house and land was brought by James Rennie Wilkinson in 1865 as part of larger land purchase of nearly 435 acres from Robert Isham, Nicholas Hamond and Eliza Packe (nee Isham), widow of Col. Henry Packe. Robert Isham and Nicholas Hamond are named as the executors of Col. Henry Packe; Nicholas being his nephew and Robert his brother-in-law.

A deed of sale exists from 1898 in which James Rennie Wilkinson sold the “garden” to Samuel Loakes for the sum of £20. The description of the 1898 sale as “a garden” and the explicit reference to a numbered location (No.53) on the Ordnance Survey map of 1885 strongly indicates that the land belonging to the Cottage was sold off, but that the buildings remained in James Rennie Wilkinson’s possession.

The people referenced on the 1898 deed of sale as selling the land in 1865 are the same named executors as those that sold The Long House (Vorleys Yard) to James Rennie Wilkinson, also in 1865.

The loan that James Rennie Wilkinson entered into in 1865 was a very large sum of £14,420. On the 24th June 1882, Sidney Leveson Lane (Manor House) paid £7,250 towards this mortgage. James Rennie Wilkinson eventually cleared the loan in 23rd April 1889.

In the 1983 interview with village resident William Boon, he said:

“Where Manor Close is now used to be an old orchard with a thatched cottage in it where Mr Peck, the stone mason lived and brought up his family.

Ralph Abbot had a field where Manor Close is and in it he kept a white pony, he used to live in one of the houses on the high bank. He took folk around in his wagonette to the various feasts and fairs in the nearby towns and villages. “

A handwritten note attached attached to a deed dated 27th March 1904, stated that just over an acre of the land was sold to a Ralph Abbott, carter. Ralph lived in the Leopard Inn around this time, his wife ran the public house and he worked as a carter. See the section regarding Leopard House for more information.

Documents supplied by residents of Manor Close provided further details.  When on 17th January 1929 a "George Harry Sharp of Great Addington...small holder" sells to "David Edward Mitchell of Shooters Hill Gt Addington", a mixture of land and properties - all spellings are as the original document:

"All that pce of parcl of land or ground containing 1a 1r 24p or thrabts ite in Gt Addington afsd which sd pce or parcl of land or gournd is delnt & more parly descrbd in the plan drawn....dtd 29th March 1904....betn James Rennie Wilkinson (1) & Ralph Abbott (2) & thron colrd Red...later in the occupation of Ralp Abbott"

In the same sale are a number of other properties which the sales deed goes on to describe, "also all that cottage or tenmnt known as Tea Tree Cottage...with the yd or garden lying to the rear of the sd cottage barn pigstye & other bldgs"

The deed also mentions that George Harry Sharp is living in Tea Tree Cottage which he had brought on 23rd March 1914 from Charles Hudson and Alice Mary Hudson.

Samuel Frederick Hayo is also mentioned in the document and the implication is that he purchased Tea Tree Cottage from George Harry Sharp on 22nd Jul 1946.

The attached diagram clearly shows the Ralph Abbott had purchase a large amount of the land belonging to the Cottage in 1904, and also owned land that went round behind many of the houses on Lower Street and down as far as the Long House at the bottom of the hill.

Though part of the land had been sold off, the remainder of the land and all the buildings remained in James Rennie Wilkinson's hands until his death. 

In 1913, the executors of Jame's estate sell off much of the property in the village including The Cottage. On the sales deed from November 1913, the land is shown as being sold by by Rennie Beauzville Byles - the nephew and inheritor of James Rennie Wilkinson's estate. The buyers were Charles Hudson and Alice Mary Hudson. Also marked on the map are two other properties that were clearly being sold, Tea Tree Cottage, and the house that previously stood where Redlands is now.

The listed owners since 1913 are:

·         1913 Mr & Mrs C Hudson

·         1919  Mr T H Sudborough

·         1928 Mr. Jack T Hollis

·         1936 Inspector W E J Simmers

·         1937 Mr Jack Reginald Miller Austin

·         1954 Mr P J Cole (died in 1956)

·         1962 Mr B Moore

·         1968 Dr & Mrs I J R Musson

·         1977 Mr & Mrs A M Hunt

The present owner took ownership in 1984.

Jack Hollis, who was baptised John Thomas Hollis, but was always known as Jack, is credited with converting the four buildings into the single dwelling and replaced the thatched roof with tiles. Jack Hollis married Angie (Agnes Alice) Ward, of Great Addington, in 1909. In the 1911 census Jack is employed as a Police Constable and the couple are living in 56 Durban Street, Kettering. Jack and Angie Ward purchased the house in 1928.

Jack and Angie Hollis then moved, circa 1936, and built a bungalow on land at Amen Corner in Little Addington. The bungalow was later converted into a residential care home.

In 1939 Samuel Frederick Hayo and Celia Hayo (both 55) are living in part of the house, the address given as Gauls Lane, their two sons are living with them. Celia was the sister of Agnes Hollis (nee Ward). Samuel is employed as the Chauffeur and Gardener at the Manor House, which was then occupied by  Winifred Breitmeyer.

The Ward family lived in Great Addington for a long time, with the earliest record relating to Great Addington dating back to 1534.

In 1943, Jack Reginald Miller Austin of Barton Seagrave sells The Cottage and associated buildings to a Percy Thomas Cole of Great Brington. The sale deed details the buildings on the site and also the occupants. 

"That bungalow with cottage adjoining and dwellinghouse...formerly described as three cottages with the gardens barns and outbuildings....the whole an area of One Acre....The dwellinghouse now being in the occupation of F. Hayho and the remainder of the property being in the occupation of Messers. Hackney and McDonald"

The F. Hayho mentioned is Samuel Frederick Hayo.

Percy Cole dies in 1956 and his executors sell the land. Again the sales deed lists the buildings and occupants:

"All that bungalow with cottage adjoining and dwelling house  near thereto (formerly described as three cottages) with the gardens barns and outbuildings...the dwelling house now being in the occupation of Mr. Hayo and the remainder of the property being in the occupation of Mrs. Haines and Mrs. Hackney"

Percy had appointed a Harry Moore as one of his executors, with the property to be sold and the money invested for the benefit of Harry Moore. However, Harry died in June 1961, at which time the property had not been sold. A legal document is then drawn up to grant the property to Basil Moore of Northampton. The document again details the site and the occupants. The description is the same as before as are the occupants:

"The dwelling house now being in the occupation of Mr. Hayo and the remainder being in the occupations of Mrs. Haines and Mrs. Hackney."

In 1968, Basil Moore - now living in Villa Cristobal, Playa Muchavista, Alicante, Spain - sells the property to Ivan James Royston Muson & Sybil Musson, of The Poplars, Finedon. The property is more simply described with the references to teh former three cottages now ommited. Attached to the deed is a plan which shows the layout of the building, gardens, and the occupants.

"the bungalow and land identified by figure 3 on the plan....occupation of one Hackney and the cottage barn and land identified by the figure 1....being in the occupation of one York"

In 1973, Ivan & Sybil Musson sell "the greater part of the land" to A.R. Homes Limited, the developers of Manor Close.

In 2021 a large well was found in the garden when part of the patio area collapsed. Inspection revealed it to be stone lined, though the full depth could not assessed due to debris that had fallen into hole. A pipe which would have been connected to a hand-pump on the surface was still in place. Being stone lined it is probable that it is of the same age as the property and may even be medieval in origin.

1911 Census record showing Sydney Peck (26) Bricklayer and Amelia Peck (33) and their 6 of their 7 children (1 having died) living in the house. Son Wilfred, though only 13, is already working as an apprentice in the leather industry.

1939 - Samuel Frederick Hayo and Celia Hayo (both 55) and their two sons, Frederick and Reginald are living in part of the property. The address is given as Gauls Lane, which is the original name of the track between The Cottage and the Manor House. 

1968 Sales Deed. The building marked 3 at the top and associated land (bottom) was occupied by an individual named Hackney and the building (top right) marked as 1 is occupied by an individual named York. Nobody is living in building 2. 

Well discovered under patio area of The Cottage in May 2021

Brecon House, April 2021

Brecon House

The house was built between around 1899 on land that was formerly a "garden" or orchard. We are lucky in that that the deeds of sale of land exist from before the house was built. The land was part of the extensive land holdings of James Rennie Wilkinson who lived at Shooters Hill. In 1898 he sold a  portion of the land between Bank House and the buildings now know as The Cottage to Samuel Loakes for the sum of £20.00

Samuel Loakes list his occupation as shepherd and had been living in the village since he was born in 1865, one of eight children. His parents lived in Tee Tree Cottage. Samuel's father was also from Great Addington and was also a shepherd, Samuel's mother was from Desborough. In 1891 the family are still living in Tee Tree Cottage, Samuel's father is now listed as "small farmer" and Samuel is an agricultural labourer - perhaps working with his father.

At the point Samuel brought the land in 1898 there was no house, and the land was described as:

"a parcel of land now used as a garden containing thirty poles twelve yards....bounded on the east by the road to Little Addington...on the south by property (Bank House) of Sidney L Lane...and on the west and north by the property of...James Rennie Wilkinson" 

An acre was 160 poles, therefore the land acquired by Samuel was just under a fifth of an acre. It can be clearly seen as on the OS map of 1894 and is marked by the number 53.

Just under two years later in 1900, Samuel Loakes sells the land to Sidney Leveson Lane for the sum of £265.00. The sale deed describes the land and its former use as a garden, but now also mentions:

 "the dwelling house recently erected on the said piece of land" 

The deed goes on to give the name of the occupant of the house - but the copy of the deed we have is so faded that the name cannot be read.

Sidney Leveson Lane held a lot of property in the village which he let out to tenants, often workers on his estate. 

In the 1901 census, Samuel is no longer living in the village, instead he and his wife Sarah, and his younger brother are living in Kettering, where he is employed as a "horse keeper", he dies in Kettering in 1927.

In 1901 it appears as if Simeon Abbot, agricultural foreman is living there - he may have been working for Sidney Leveson Lane - with his wife Mary and their son Arthur. They appears still to be there in 1911, though Simeon is listed as Under Bailiff for the farm.

Sidney Leveson Lane died suddenly in December 1911 and his son, also called Sidney, inherited the estate and houses. In 1920 he sells the house to Sanders George Piggott (b: 1873) who in the census of 1911 was listed as a mason on the estate. Sanders died in Northampton General Hospital in 1940 leaving a widow, Agnes Laura Piggott who continues to live in the house until she dies in St Marys Hospital in Kettering in 1952, at which point the house was sold to a family called Mehew. 

The house has passed through a number of hands until the current residents acquired the house in 1990.

Bank House

Contrary to some suggestion, the house was never a bank, rather it stands on a bank of land - the name of the house, as with many in the village, only started to be used in the late 1930's.

The property was built around1880 and appears on the ordnance survey map of 1884. It may have been built on the instruction of Sidney Leveson Lane, who lived in Great Addington Manor at that time. Around the same time he also had Ivy Cottage built and they are of similar construction. Supporting this idea is the 1898 deeds of sale for the land on which Brecon House stands - situated out of frame to the right of Bank House - which states that the property next door to Brecon House belongs to Sidney Leveson Lane.

Built of brick and stone, there were a number of outbuildings to the rear of the property but these have now gone, leaving just the outside wall of those buildings as a garden wall. The building was originally L-shape in plan with a conservatory on the left at the rear. This was changed in 1986 when the house was modernised and extended into a square-plan.

As with many village, the access rights over land, particularly to outbuildings was often confused and the houses on Lower Street are no exception. As mentioned earlier there was an existing lane parallel with Lower Street on the 1803 inclosure maps, and this may date back to the Medieval period. In 1946 a legal agreement was reached over the access rights of Bank House, Fern Cottage, and Old Stones through the "yard" to the left hand side of Bank House. The original plot of land extended as far as the public footpath that now runs between No2 and No3 Manor Close, with more buildings - there were also buildings behind Old Stones and Leopard House - but these were demolished in the 1974 and some of the land and access rights at the rear were gifted to Fern Cottage, and some of the land was also sold to the owner of Leopard House (then called The Post Office). In the same year when the plans were being developed for Manor Close, an agreement was reached with the then owners of Bank House, Leopard House, and Brecon House with the developers that an existing right of way that had been in place since 1969 between Gauls Lane (the lane between the Manor House and The Cottage, opposite Ringstead Road) and the rear of the three houses would be waived provided that the three houses continued to have access (the old right of way goes through the middle of No2. Manor Close); at the same time the existing footpath which ran from Gauls Lane parralel to Lower Street to the bottom of the hill was also moved as the then footpath went through No4 and No5 Manor Close.

Digging in the garden in 1993 uncovered a large beehive shaped brick built underground cistern - about 10 feet deep and six feet wide - only just covered by some rotten wooden boards and 4 inches of soil! This was probably originally used to store rain water for use in the "copper" in the laundry (which may have been one of the outside buildings) and for watering plants in the garden, as there was no mains water when the house was first built. 

Due to the slope of the site, the right hand side of the house is actually set into the hillside to a depth of over a meter. The left hand side sits on a raised platform built from local roughly hewn limestone.

The roof in the picture - now replaced and built upwards with the addition of gable ends - was of a particularly low pitch. There was a complex arrangement of 4 separate roof structures with joining valleys, though masked by the front structure which met three other sections at the rear. When the roof was replaced in 2008 it was found that many of the wooden roof beams were quite roughly cut and still retaining tree bark on them, so were probably local wood, cut and shaped on site.

The first residents seems to be Thomas Coleman, a retired farmer, and his wife Sarah - though the census record for 1881 - as with many years - do not give actual house names or numbers for many properties in the village.

In 1891, Thomas Parkin (from Kirkby in Yorkshire), farm bailiff is living there with his wife Charlotte, and their children Mary (17), Thomas (14), William (12), and Helen (6). William and Helen are shown as having been born in Great Addington, the family had moved here from Ashenby in Yorkshire around 1879 - most likely brought down by Sidney Leveson Lane to help manage the Manor estates.

By 1901, Latimer Harpur (69)  - who give his occupation as "living on own means" - is living there with his wife Sarah and two daughters, Grace and Annie, plus a servant Matilda Coles. Grace and Annie were born in Newbury, Berkshire. We do not know why the Harpur family were living in Great Addington at this time and they had left the village by the next census of 1911.

On the 14th December 1923 (or 1928, the numbers are not clear on the deeds) David Edward Mitchell of Shooters Hill purchased Bank House from Sidney Ernald Ralph Lane, the son and heir of Sidney Leveson Lane of the Manor House.

We get the first reference to the house by name in the 1939 England & Wales. In the house at that time was Ernest Mayes (insurance agent) and his second wife Margaret, and their family. They would have been tenants as the property was still owned by David Edward Mitchell.

Ernest had married Lucy Marion Harris from Whittlebury, Northamptonshire in November 1908. But by 1911 he is a widow with a 1 year old daughter - Violet Lucy Mayes - and back living with his mother in the post office - which at that time was Ferndale - with his sister Rose and two brothers, Frank and Reginald. Ernest list his occupation as Blacksmith. Ernest remarried in 1912 to Margaret Ellen Abbott.

Frank was killed in September 1914 whilst working as a porter at Kettering railway station when he was struck by an express train.

In the 1921 census , Ernest & Margaret are living in Bank House with their children, Phyliss (7), Ernest (6), Margery (5), and Evelyn (2). Violet is not listed with them, presumably she is being brought up by her grandmother at the post office. Ernest (senior) list his employer as British Portland Cement of Irthlingborough, but that he is currently "out of work". Margaret lists herself as "home duties".

In the 1931 register of electors, Violet is living with her grandmother, Sarah Mayes, at the Post Office. 

In the 1939 record, two of the occupants records are still redacted, but the named children are Ernest Jnr (age 25, poultry farmer), Margery (age 23, tailors machinist), Frank (age 16, sharing the same name as his uncle and his grandfather apprentice), and Evelyn (age 21, who worked in a shoe factory); also shown in the house on the day the register was taken is Arthur Abbott, who was 46 years old at that time, and was a farm labourer and was related to Margaret.

In August 1946 there is a conveyance of the property from the estate of David Edward Mitchell,  who had died in March 1946. The inheritor was Bertha Parish of the Populars, Finedon. The property was sold to the tenant, Ernest Thomas Mayes. At the same time Ernest purchased all the land that Ralph Abbott had held at the rear of Lower Street, but which had been sold to David Edward Mitchell in January 1929. See map. 

In July 1963, Ernest sold a portion of the land to David Walter Turner of Tea Tree Cottage including a right of way for vehicles. See the map for details.

Ernest died in April 1968 and his son, Frank Percy Mayes (named after his brother), inherited the house and land.

In February 1969, Frank sold the majority of the remaining land - see map - in what was to become Manor Close, to Ivan James Royston Musson & Sybil Musson, of The Poplars, Finedon.

Frank Percy Mayes died in December 1985.

Bank House and Brecon House, April 2021

Bank House - c1990 - with original roof

B. Duncan collection

Ernest Mayes who lived in the house with his family from 1939 to 1968. After his death the family continued to live in the house until the death of his son, Frank in 1985. Image c1930's

Newlyweds Evelyn Mayes & Eric Sherwood with both sets of parents. Ernest & Margaret Mayes (nee Abbott) on the right hand side. Image c1943

Violet Mayes, daughter of Ernest & Lucy Mayes. Her mother died the same year she was born. The 1921 census and the 1931 electoral register shows her living with her grandmother, Sarah Mayes. Image c1930's

Bank House & Land - Deed Maps

Plan from 1946 deed of sale.  Ernest Mayes purchased both Bank House, marked in red, and the separate plot of land marked in blue. 

1963 Sale Deed. Land marked in red sold by Ernest Mayes to David Walter Turner of Tea Tree Cottage. The right of way for vehicle access to the land is marked in blue.

1969 Sales Deed. Frank Mayes sells much of the remaining land highlighted, to Ivan & Sybil Musson of The Poplars, Finedon. This later sold to the property developers of Manor Close.

Fern Cottage

There is not much information available about Fern Cottage and what there is relates mainly to the occupants over the last 160 years. The building, at least when viewed from Lower street, appears to be built of stone. However, when viewed from the side and rear it is mainly brick, and shows clear evidence of at least three different extensions. There is also an unusual chamfer on the north west side where the "yard" between Fern Cottage and Bank House is, a large stone lintel is positioned above a brick built side wall. There is also evidence of an original entrance door on the same side, where a very old wooden lintel can be seen and the clear outline of a former doorway, now filled in with stone. The house has two main levels on the ground floor and the upstairs has a series of linked rooms with no joining corridor. Part of the building, now the kitchen, was at one pint the storage barn and an outside w/c belonging to Old Stones. At the rear, access was provided to Manor Close in 1974.

There is a building shown in its location on the 1803 enclosure map.

Samuel Vorley, weaver and watchmaker, was living at Old Stone, next door, at the time and the 1803 map appears to show what we know as Fern Cottage as an outbuilding on the Old Stones land. It is not shown as a inhabited building and may in fact be an earlier building used as a barn or workshop.

In 1851 a married couple, William and Sarah Wilson are living in the house. By 1861 William Wilson (who gives his occupation as shoemaker) is aged 65 and living in the house on his own.

In 1871 we have a Sarah Wilson and her husband Charles Wilson in the house. It may be that Charles and William are in actual fact the same person - maybe Charles or William was the middle name - as they share the same birth year, the same surname, the same house, and apparently the same wife. Both are listed as paupers

Charles and Sarah had married in 1837, both are listed as widowed on the marriage certificate. It is also clear that neither of them can write, as they sign their names on the marriage certificate with a X as their mark.

The next map we have is from 1884 and we can see that the house is clearly defined. The census of 1881 lists Sarah Wilson(b:1805), pauper, aged 74 as living in the house. 

As paupers, the couple and then later Sarah as a widow would have been reliant upon charity from the parish (earlier records often refer to "living on the parish") to be able to survive. It is unlikely that they owned the house they lived in, but it may have been provided rent free as there are some references to both James Rennie Wilkinson (Shooters Hill) and Sidney Leveson Land (Manor House), allowing paupers and widows to live rent free. 

The clarity of the 1899 map clearly shows the building as being separate from Old Stones, and in the 1891 census Thomas & Mary Coleman are living in the house. Thomas appears to be a game keeper and also a dairy man.

If we jump forward to 1901, Joseph Loakes, (widower) is living there with his two sons. All three list their occupations as Agricultural Worker. There is also a house keeper, by the name of Eva Strange, aged 30 who was originally born in London. It was not unusual for such a small house to have a house keeper in those days, especially as Joseph was now a widow and he and his two sons worked - probably 5 to 6 days a week.

The 1911 census is particularly unhelpful to try and search as nearly every house gives its address as "Great Addington", no house names, not even road names. However, it does appear as if Joseph, now 69, is still living in the house. His two sons have left home, but Eva (now aged 39) is still listed as the housekeeper.

Just before the war in 1939, Emma Tyler (widow), aged 70, and her son Arthur Tyler, age 32, are living there. Arthur lists his occupation as Cowman.

Fern Cottage. B. Duncan collection. c1990

Wooden lintel set into the side wall of Fern Cottage with former doorway now filled in with stone walling. Image 2021.

Unusual angled wall, perhaps due to property boundaries, with large stone lintel set into what appears to be a later brick extension to the original stone building. Image 2021.

Old Stones (also possibly known as Rose Cottage)

As with many of the older properties in Great Addington, accurate records and deeds are quite hard to find. It is also difficult to date many properties - again as often no records have been kept relating to the construction. The name Old Stones is relatively recent with the name being first used in the later part of the 20th century. The property is almost entirely made of stone and is at least 220 year old. 

The 1803 enclosure map is our key start point and we can see that the house is clearly marked on the map and that it was owned by its occupant at that time.

Samuel Vorley (b:1766 d:1821) is shown as owning the house and associated land. The land is shown as being much bigger than the existing garden area, extending further back in a plot of the same depth as Leopard House gardens and being accessed via the lane that runs parallel to Lower Street; on the enclosure map the lane is referred to in a handwritten note on the as "Short Lane".

The Vorley family is an unusual name, with marriage and death records between 1837 and 1857 being clustered mainly in the Rushden, Thrapston, Oundle areas of Northamptonshire. There are a few records elsewhere during that period, but not many. Today the surname can be found in many parts of the UK though it seems to originate from this area of north-east of Northamptonshire, with lots of reference to the surname Vorley in Islip, Thrapston, Lowick, Raunds, Irthlingborough and Great Addington. Samuel was born in 1766 to John & Mary Vorley of Thrapston. Samuel was a weaver and clockmaker. The building we know as Fern Cottage adjacent to Old Stones appears to be a small outbuilding on the 1803 map and may have been Samuel's workshop. Samuel is listed on the 1806 register of electors - you could only vote if you owned land and property - as one of just 9 freeholders in Great Addington. 

It would appear that the Samuel had other relatives who owned their own homes and lived in the village at the same time, as the enclosure map list; Sackville Vorley, living in the property now known as Rushglen, John Vorley what is now called, The Long House (in later years this would be referred to as Vorley's Yard), and a James Vorley, also a weaver, living in one of the houses that was opposite the Hare and Hounds - this has now been demolished and was situated in what is now part of the Manor House gardens. 

John Vorley was married in 1803 in Great Addington to Sarah King, and gives his original residence as Islip and therefore may be the son of Sibley Vorley who ran the Woolpack Inn there.

For so many members of a family to own individual properties in such a small village is quite unusual - it has to be remembered that most property was owned by the large land owners and let out to tenants. In 1803 there are 19 property owners, if we exclude the two "manors" and the three land holdings that came through the church, then we can see that the Vorleys represented a quarter of the village in terms of free holders. 

There is an advert in the Northampton Mercury in 1796 by Samuel seeking a weaver to work for him; perhaps it was about this point that he started to move from being a weaver to also making clocks.

Samuel married Elizabeth Smith (from Aldwinkle) in 1798. They had eight children, including Thomas, Henry, and Samuel. They must have been followers of the Baptist tradition for the birth of their children are recorded at Ringstead Particular Baptist Church. It would appear that the Vorley brothers took on the family trade from their father. Thomas appears in trade directories at Market Harborough as a clock maker; Church Street in 1831 and High Street 1835. After Thomas’ death in 1847 and his wife shortly afterwards in 1849, the property that Thomas owned in Great Addington - which was occupied by his mother who had since re-married following Samuel Vorley (the elder) death in 1821 - was left to his mother; and the business and property in Market Harborough was left to the Thomas’s surviving brothers and sisters, and also the daughters of his brother Henry; Elizabeth Fryer Vorley and Louisa Fryer Vorley.

Samuel Vorley (junior) is listed in 1851 as clock maker in Croyland in Lincolnshire. 

Henry Vorley appears in Pigot’s directory for 1841 in business in Thrapston as a watchmaker. In the 1851 census Henry Vorley is living in Old Stones with his wife, Charlotte (nee Fryer), from Titchmarsh, and their 5 children; Elizabeth, Louisa, Sarah, Martha, and Thomas. Henry lists his occupation as either clock or watch maker, the writing is difficult to read. By 1855 he is living and working as a clock maker in Market Harborough when his wife Charlotte dies. Henry was in Great Addington in 1872 when he was still described as a watchmaker. 

In 1858, Ebenezer Vorley is baptised at All Saints church, no father is named, Sarah Ann Vorley- daughter of John Vorley - is the mother and listed as "single woman". Later that same year she marries John Knibb from Pytchley, for some reason she doesn't give her fathers name on the marriage certificate. 

At some point between 1851 when Henry was living there and 1861 the property was either sold or let to tenants, as the Vorley family are no longer living there by 1861 when the property is occupied by a shepherd, Joseph Lovell and his wife Sarah.

In 1871 the house is occupied by Samuel and Mary Ann Hackney - the Hackney family were a family who lived in the village for many generations, dating back to the early 1700's. Samuel is a shoe maker and he and Mary Ann have three small children, Sarah, John, and George.

In 1881 James and Harriot Payne are living there. James list his occupation as "road man labourer" and Harriot puts her occupation as "road mans wife". They have 5 children living in the house, though 4 of them are now working; James, 23, iron miner; John, 21, iron miner; David, 18, agricultural labourer; Sarah, 15, lace maker. The youngest, Benjamin, is listed as scholar. The school in Great Addington had opened in eight years earlier in 1873, so Benjamin could well have been one of the first pupils at the new school.

In July 1883, Sidney Leveson Lane, who owned the Manor House, brought the property from James Rennie Wilkinson and continues to let it to tenants. James had brought a lot of the land and buildings in the village in the mid-1860's when he moved to Great Addington and built Shooters Hill and it may be that he had brought it around then. 

The 1884 OS map shows the land has been split in two, north to south, with additional buildings at the western end. Though what these buildings were is unknown.

By the 1899 OS map the land to the west now forms part of the Fern Cottage holding and the outbuildings are part of that property. Old Stones and the eastern part of the land are combined into the area broadly consistent with the modern holding.

The Payne family seem to have continued to live there, as by 1891 David Payne (now 28) and son of James and Harriot is now head of the household and is living there with his wife Margaret and their 3 children, Alice (6), Henrietta (4), and Lilleyan (2). David is still an agricultural labourer but Margaret doesn't give an occupation.  Interestingly, Margaret was originally born in Spennymoor near Durham, so how she came to be in married and living in Great Addington is unknown, and it is unusual for people to have travelled that far at that time.

David and Margaret are still living there in 1901; David is now a horse keeper on one of the farms. Only one child is in the house with them, now spelled Lillian. It is unknown where Alice and Henrietta are, but they may have died in childhood. Also living in the house is David’s younger brother, Benjamin, who describes himself as ordinary agricultural labourer.

The 1911 census is difficult to interpret as house locations or names are not given and we therefore do not know who was living there at that time.

Sidney Leveson Lane had died in December 1910 and his son Sidney Ernald Ralph Lane had inherited the estate in Great & Little Addington. On the 28th December 1928, Sidney Ernald Ralph Lane, sold part of the estate including 3 properties in Great Addington and 2 in Little Addington to David Edward Mitchell who had purchased Shooters Hill in 1922. The three properties in Great Addington are shown as having tenants, Ralph Abbott, Simeon Abbott, and Jane Smith - the names or addresses of the individual properties are not given, but the indication on the title document is that Ralph Abbott may have been living in Old Stones in 1928; though the census of 1901 has Ralph Abbott living in Leopard House as Carter, Coal Dealer, and Publican. We do know however that Sarah Jane Abbott was the daughter of Samuel & Mary Anne Hackney who were living in Old Stones in 1871 and that by 1939 Sarah is now widowed and living in Old Stones with her son, Edgar, age 40, who was a farm labourer.

There is a conveyance document relating to the property which states that Hilda Florence Abbott, wife of Cyril Abbott, bricklayer's labourer, purchased the property in July 1946 from David Edward Mitchell's executors, David having died in 1945. The conveyance states that Hilda was living in the property at that time as a tenant. 

Hilda dies in 1964, when she was living in Rose Cottage, Addington. There doesn't appear to be a mention of a Rose Cottage in Great Addington before this date, and as we know that Old Stones was a name given to the property in the 1970's then it is possible that Rose Cottage was the name previously given to the property.

The executors of Hilda's estate are John George Herbert Culpin of Woodford, her brother, and her sister, Mabel Isabella Mills, who had married to Jim Mills of Irthlingborough. However, Hilda's will of 1953 stated that she left the property to her niece Thelma Elizabeth Wheatley (b:1945), who by 1964 was living in No.5 Rushwell Close. 

In 1966 Thelma married John Henry Winston Yates. On the marriage certificate, Thelma gives her address as Rushwell Close, so presumably still living with her parents. It is not clear whether Thelma and John ever lived in the house, but by 1972 are living in Finedon when Thelma sells the house to Alan Cole and Sonia Knight, who then got married and moved into the house.

At this point it is clear that confusion around access and boundaries to the property - which are complex as previously mentioned regarding Fern Cottage and Bank House - as Thelma makes a legal declaration regarding the property. The lawyers acting for Alan Cole and Sonia Knight clearly wanted to get clarification regarding what appeared to be pat of Fern Cottage, but was actually built on the land belonging to Old Stones (see photograph).

"I have for last twenty six years resided respectively at Great Addington and Finedon...I am well acquainted with the said cottage...I verily believe that during the whole of the period from 1946 when the said Hilda Florence Abbot purchased the said cottage to the date of her death she used the water closet and barn outbuildings belonging to and forming part...of the said cottage and that the sole access to such...has at all times been from the yard included"

from reading the document and examining the various plans attached to the legal documents it is looks as that when at some point Fern Cottage was extended at the rear, there must have been some agreement regarding allowing an extension onto the property of Old Stones; and as part of the agreement Old Stones gained an external w/c and barn/store room.

Old Stones

B. Duncan collection c1990

Vorley borthers clocks. Early 1800's

Image source unknown

Plan attached to declaration stating that the area marked red on Fern Cottage, actually belonged to Old Stones.

Photograph showing store & w/c on centre left of image built into the structure of Fern Cottage but was stated to be owned by Old Stones. It is believed that as Fern Cottage was extended backwards it encroached onto Old Stones. To save building a narrow angled extensions an agreement was reached to use some of Old Stones land, but give use of the bottom half of the extension to Old Stones, whilst Fern Cottage had use of the second storey.

Thelma Wheatley as a child with her mother Mary and grandfather David Culpin. Source unknown. c1952

Great Addington House (formerly The Rectory and also The Parsonage)

Great Addington House was first built around 1670 as the Rectory. The name seems to have varied over the years, being referred to initially as the Rectory, then the Parsonage, and even as "the Rectory on Parsonage Hill". It is a Grade II listed building and details can be found on Historic England web site.

The building date is estimated at 1670, which would have been when Josias Hall was the Rector of Great Addington. The parish register for this period has now been lost, with the earliest register only going as far back as 1692 when Robert Smith took over as Rector. The very first entry in the parish register is on February 9th, 1692 when Ann Hall, widow of Josias Hall, marries the new Rector Robert Smith. 

The Rectory house formed part of the church's original medieval endowment, sited near the church itself. Some Rectory houses were quite substantial, and were often successively rebuilt on the same site, particularly after the Reformation when in 1548 priest were allowed to marry and for the first time, clergy required family homes. Provision of houses varied considerably, however, and many clergy had to make private arrangements both before and after the Reformation, either because they found the house inadequate, or because there was no house at all. 

It is not known whether the Rectory in Great Addington was built by the Rector or by the Diocese, but as there was a Rector with a good living, then it is most likely that the house was built by Josias Hall.

The house was occupied by 17 Rectors of Great Addington from Josias Hall to the Rev. Edward James William Ferguson, who left Great Addington in 1966; after which the house was sold by the church into private hands.

The two storey house was substantially altered in 1857, when a £400 mortgage was raised by the Rev. Castle Pelham Clay for "partial rebuilding of the Parsonage House"; and then further altered in 1870. The house is composed of squared, coursed and regular coursed limestone with a slate roof. The main front consist of a 4-window range with end bays breaking forward as gabled cross wings. The centre two bays have 8-paned sash windows at first floor, under stone lintels with small gables over. The ground floor has plain 19th century sash windows with gauged stone heads. Cross wings have 19th century two-light stone mullion windows with transoms. The oak plank door with decorated hinges is set left of centre in plain arch-head moulded stone surround. There are ashlar gable parapets with finials and ashlar stacks at ridge and end. Fragment of reset carved stone above door and evidence of gauged stone heads to some 19th century stone mullion windows. 

The rear of the house has a 19th century canted stone bay to the far right and two 19th century stone mullion windows, one in place of original door. 

Inside is the original cross passage with hall to the right. The centre room, formerly the hall, has large open fireplace with a large wooden supporting beam, known as a bressumer, with cross beams. There is a simple early 18th century staircase with balustrade. Two of the windows in the rear passage have stained glass panels with the coat of arms of Peterborough, Bacon, Isham and Tarvers. There is evidence of the original trusses at first floor level. The room to the left of the entrance is from the 1870 remodelling. 

A 19th century wing of domestic offices to the far right was demolished in the mid-20th century. 

The terms Rectory and Vicarage can cause confusion, since they are colloquially used to denote a clergyman's house, whereas the original meaning was to define how the priest in charge would receive from the church income of the parish.

At their foundation, most churches were endowed with land and tithes - payments received from the parishioners - which were meant to support the priest. This endowment was known as the Rectory. Sometimes, this endowment was granted to a religious house rather than an individual priest, in these circumstances the bishop ensured that the parish church was served by a 'vicar', a word that literally means a substitute. In this situation a proportion of the income, referred to as the 'Vicarage', was set aside to support him. The rest remained with the religious house, which was said to have 'appropriated' the rectory. The rights to appoint the priest was known as the Advowson and as such often went with the manor, as it did with Great Addington and advowsons soon became an important asset and could be brought or inherited. The distinction between Rectors and Vicars was important up to the 19th century, since Vicars only ever received a part of the church's income; whereas the Rector received the full amount. No clergyman wanted to be a Vicar, as that meant a life scraping by on a low income, whereas a position of Rector could deliver a very comfortable life indeed.

Tithes had always been the main source of income for the church. During the Medieval period the tithe everybody was expected to give was 10% of their crop or income. The process of enclosure of the open-fields fundamentally changed the communal effort in the village and also tithes. Where land was to be enclosed, commissioners were appointed to to agree the detail of the local enclosure would also handled tithes, often by allocation of land to the Rectory (often referred to as the living), as part of the division of ownership. By this mechanism, in the period 1750 to 1830, Rectory land - also known as glebe land -  increased, and clerics in some places became active farmers. This process was known as tithe commutation. From the 17th century onwards tithe commutation was seen as part of agricultural improvement, and by the later 18th century tithes were seen as a major obstacle to improvement.

In England and Wales existing tithe payments which had not already been commuted were abolished by the Tithe Commutation Act 1836. It introduced in their place a cash payment, the "corn rent". It was at this time that Little Addington was enclosed. However the enclosure Great Addington had been undertaken earlier in 1803 and the tithes had been converted into land holdings and the Rector of Great Addington became a significant land owner with over 320 acres of land. The value of the living of the Rectory of Great Addington was always a good income, with a modern equivalent value of circa £40,000 a year. Rectory Farm was built by the Reverand James Tyley in 1821, following on from Rectory Barn which he had built in 1816. Additional lands were also granted to support the role of Church Warden, a house and 6 acres of land; and the Parish Clerk, who received an allotment of 4 acres. Therefore the position of Church Warden or Parish Clerk were highly sought after, lucrative boost to ones income, as opposed to the voluntary nature today. 

Leopard House - c1990

Cyril & Sylvia Kelly were living there at this time and as well as being teachers they offered B&B accommodation.

B. Duncan collection

Ralph Abbot, who lived in the Leopard Inn in 1901. He was a Carter, Coal Dealer, and Publican. The image shows him outside Mrs. Child's shop, c1910. Source unknown.

Sarah Abbot. She ran the Leopard Inn with her husband Ralph. Date and source unknown.

Rose Abbot, daughter of Ralph & Sarah Abbot. c1916. Source unknown.

Rose Abbot, daughter of Ralph & Sarah Abbot who ran the Leopard Inn,  in the uniform of the Women's Land Army. C1914-18. Source unknown. 

Rose Wright, aged 78, still working in Great Addington Post Office (Leopard House). Image copied from unknown Newspaper, c1968.

Leopard House

This is one of only two properties in the village that has managed to keep its name over the centuries. Unusually the exterior of the main building also does not appear to have been changed over the centuries unlike many other others in the village. There is no evidence of an earlier thatch roof, nor does it appear to have been extended to the side or rear. Therefore it is fair to say that the building we see today is as it has been for at least 300 years.

Leopard House is built of stone, mainly dressed and squared with some of the blocks visible on the left hand side of the building being very large indeed. Stone lintels are in place above windows and doors. Interior wooden shutters are also still in place on a number of the window. The roof is slate with only the chimney stacks appearing to have been replaced at some point in brick. To the rear of the property are some of the original stone outbuildings. In the 1990's the building interior was modified and some of the outbuildings connected to the house and incorporated into the main building living space.  In the garden are some "cider apple tree" that it has been claimed were planted for local production - fruit trees are mentioned in a property description from 1838 (see below).

The earliest reference to the house is by way of a public house licence review in 1906, by the Thrapston Division of the Petty Session - an earlier form of Magistrates Court - which states:

"The licence was first granted in 1724, and was the oldest house in the division"

In another meeting in that same year at the Northampton County level it is mentioned that the Leopard was the second oldest licenced public house in the county.

The division being referred to was a large area of Northamptonshire that extended from Brigstock to Oundle and down towards Irthlingborough, representing roughly a quarter of the entire county. So it is therefore of great interest that the Leopard is recorded as being the oldest public house in the area and the second oldest in the county.

According to Brian Duncan's history of the village, published in 1990, the next reference relating to the house is from 8th February 1781 in an agreement between brother and sister, Henry and Jane Hudson to change the arrangements of their father's will. He was Henry Hudson, a carpenter from Ringstead, who had died in 1777. The new arrangements gave Henry (junior) £50.00 and Jane the property known as Leopard House. 

Jane Hudson married James Allen, a farmer, and in May 1786 they sold the property to Samuel Allen (b:1755 d:1821), Victualler (publican) for £62.00.  Samuel and James were brothers. We don't know whether the property was a pub before Samuel, but there is a newspaper report in 1795 that mentions Samuel Allen at "the Sign of the Leopard", indicating that the property was definitely a pub by then. 

Samuel had married in 1780 to Mary Alliston of Northampton. At that time he gave his occupation as Baker.

In the 1803 enclosure map William Allen (b:1750 d:1814) is given as the owner of the property. William was another of the Allen brothers. However, the register of electors in 1806 gives Samuel Allen as property owner. 

When the commissioners for enclosure drew up the draft map in 1803 a copy was:

"left at the Leopard Inn, in Great Addington, for the inspection of all persons"

William Allen dies in 1814 and in Samuel's will of 1821 - though not "proved" until 1825 - he left his estate to his wife and upon her death to their three children, George, of Bloomsbury, London, and Martha and Mary of Great Addington. 

Martha Allen married Thomas Lovell, yeoman, somebody who owned and farmed a small amount of land and could serve on juries and vote. Mary married William Mitchell, paper maker, who worked at the Cotton Mill where they were producing paper for a number of years. 

Mary, Samuel Allen's wife, dies in 1838 and the executor of the will is William Beeby, who puts the house up for public auctions held on the premises 19th April 1838:

"that long established freehold public house known by the Sign of the Leopard, in Great Addington...late in the occupation of Mrs. Allen; with brewhouse, barn, stable, and other outbuildings; and also a large yard and garden and belonging, in which are several young and thriving fruit and timber trees"

The highest bidder is William Mitchell who pays £260.00

Three years later in the 1841 census, Mary and William Mitchell are listed as living at Leopard House. There is no mention of the house being a pub at that time, and William puts his occupation as paper maker. 

In Whellan's Gazetteer & Director of Northamptonshire in 1849 there is no mention of the Leopard as a public house, the only one listed is the Hare and Hounds.

By 1851 the house is again a pub, William and Mary Mitchell are still there and William now lists his occupation as, Victualer, a licenced publican.

A new family name appears in 1861 when the house, not named but listed as Public House, is occupied by James & Mary Ingram and their 2 daughters, 2 sons, and an apprentice, Henry Levan. James lists his occupation as Wheelwright and Mary's occupation seems to read "ale wife". James was from Balsall, Warwickshire, and Mary was from Spratton, Northamptonshire.

In 1871 the property is referred to as Leopard Inn and is occupied by Lawrence Hudson and his wife Millicent. Lawrence gives his occupation as carpenter. There is no occupation given for Millicent. They are both from Great Addington and at that time both were in their mid-50's. Lawrence was born in 1817 to Lawrence & Elizabeth Hudson, his father was a wheelwright. It is most likely that he was descended from the Henry Hudson who had originally owned the property in the mid-1700's. In 1881, Lawrence and Millicent are still living in the house on their own. 

In 1879 a William Battle appears to have brought the Leopard. This would be William Battle who founded Battle Brothers Brewery, in Kettering Road, Cranford in 1861.Battle Brothers Brewery was sold c1926 and brewing had ceased by 1930. At its peak the brewery only owned 7 houses;

*Praed & Co were later to own the Royal Oak.

There is a newspaper article from 1888 that mentions Mrs Millicent Mary Mitchell, landlady of the Leopard Inn, which would indicate that whilst Lawrence carried on his trade as carpenter, Millicent ran the pub. 

By 1891 the house is now occupied by Thomas & Mary Hackney and their daughter Ellen Hackney. There is also a Frank Hackney, who lists himself as "boarder", so is probably a relative though not Thomas & Marys' son. Thomas give his occupation as "Publican & Agricultural Worker". Against Mary, the word Pub is written near the space on the census form for occupation, so it is likely that she was helping to run the pub. Thomas was born in Great Addington and Mary in Aldwinkle. The Hackney family are another of the families that lived in Great Addington for generations, with the name appearing in the parish register for 200 years before disappearing at the start of the 20th century.

Public houses were central to the effective administration of local justice in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In many communities it was the only readily-available, large, indoor space where public events could take place. So auctions were commonly held in pubs and so were coroners’ inquests. The proceedings were normally held in an upstairs or back room of the pub, sometimes with their own entrances. Such events were good business for the landlord who benefitted from payment for the room and the increased business that was invariably brought. A sad example is from 1890:

"An Inquest referring to the death of Clara Elizabeth Eleanor Allen, daughter of Alfred William Allen, aged six years, who was accidentally drowned while gathering flowers near the mill on the previous day, was held before Mr. J. T. Parker, at the Leopard Inn, on Wednesday. From the evidence adduced it appears that deceased, who had been staying with her grandfather with her mother, whilst gathering flowers beside the water, fell in and was drowned. A verdict to that effect was returned."

Another inquest was held in 1892 into the death of John Milligan who lived in a farm in the village. 

There are also a number of reports of public auctions of land and houses in the village being held at the Leopard Inn. 

The 1901 cenus gives the occupants as Ralph & Sarah Abbott. Ralph list his occupation as "Carter, Coal Dealer & Publican". Sarah just writes "pub" in the occupation column. There are 6 children in the house with them; though the eldest, Rennie Abbot, aged 13, is already at work as a under shepherd on farm.

As with all public houses a licence was required to sell alcohol and during the later part of the 19th century and into the early part of the 20th century supporters of the temperance movements often objected to licence renewals. In the following article from the early 20th century, local lawyer George Hunnybun, a temperance campaigner - whose name often appears in relation to legal transactions in Great Addington at this time, particularly those involving James Rennie Wilkinson, also a vocal campaigner for temperance -  objects to the relicensing of the Leopard:

Mr. G. Hunnybun, Thrapston, appeared to support the objection of the Licencing Justices to the renewal of the licence of The Leopard, Great Addington, and called Superintendent Andrews, who gave evidence to the effect that the house is built on a bank and approached by steps, which he considered dangerous. Within 162 yards there is another licensed house, which he considered superior to The Leopard.—Questioned by Mr. Adkins, who appeared for the owners and the licensee, the Superintendent said that many houses at Great Addington were built on a bank and that he had not heard of any accident occurring owing to the particular situation of the house.

The question of accommodation at The Leopard as compared with the accommodation at The Hare and Hounds, the other licensed house in Great Addington, was raised, and Mr. Hunnybun said that he would call Mr. George Smith, J.P., one of the magistrates who inspected the house. Musson, the licensee, called by Mr. Adkins, said that he had many alterations made at the house, and was doing a considerable trade. A petition in favour the renewal of the licence had been signed by all the householders in Great Addington with four exceptions. Mr. Adkins submitted that the public interest did not demand the suppression of the licence. The licence was granted.

From the article above it is clear that whilst Mr. Musson is the licensee and lives in the building. The licence was approved.

In the 1906 licence review the owner is given as Mr W Battle of Cranford. In the objection to the licence renewal it was stated that:

"there were complaints about people visiting from a district on Sunday...he had received no further complaints (about Sunday drinking) since 1903"

The newspaper article goes on to say that Battle Brothers had owned the Leopard for nearly 30 years. The licence was renewed.

Between 1906 and 1911 the licensee was changed and Charles Houghton took over,

However, in 1911 the Leopard again appears in the Northamptonshire Mercury regarding the licence renewal, and this time the owner is still Battle Brothers brewery.

Mr Campion supported the objection to the renewal of the licence of the Leopard...owners the executors of the late Mr. W. Battle, Cranford; (and) licensee Mr. Charles Houghton.

Mr. Campion said that Great Addington had two licensed houses, and as estimated population of 268, but included in those figures were residents of farm lodges, and residents of a class that did not require a public-house.

...The Hare and Hounds was a better house than the Leopard in point of structure and accomodation, and was much better suited to the requirements of the neighbourhood.

...Mr Battle the owner of the house, is a small country brewer, owning but five houses and it would be inflicting a hardship on the owner if the licence was refused.

Charles Houghton, the holder of the licence gave evidence...he put in a petition signed by between 70 and 80 persons in favour of retaing the licence.

This time however the licence was refused.

In the same article is some interesting information about the layout of the village at the time, as it is mentioned that there are 71 inhabited houses in the village and that 55 were near the Hare and Hounds but only 16 near the Leopard. At this time there were a number of "lanes" of houses that ran at right angles to Main Street, one near vine cottage, and another near the school. There was also a row of houses near the church; therefore the village was very much centred higher up Main street clustering around the church and the school. Lower street had become a quite area of the village with few houses and residents.

After the licence was refused in 1911 by the Thrapston District licencing committee it was appealed at the county level. The licence was again refused, but is was noted that:

"the licence...was the second oldest in the county" 

In the 1911 cenus Charles & Florence Houghton re living in the Leopard Inn. His occupation is "publican and ironstone labourer under ground", so was probably working at one the local underground mines, as opposed to the more typical open cast mines that we still see traces of in the area. There were underground mines at Irhtlingborough and also near Twywell. Florence does not give an occupation. They have 3 children, Florence (aged 11), Jack (aged 10), and Gertrude (just 1 month old).

At some point after it ceased to be a pub it was occupied by the Wright family. Rose Wright (b:1890), the daughter of Thomas and Sarah Mayes, and her husband Henry had moved into the property. Henry had served in France during WW1 and been wounded. When he had joined up he listed his occupation as Chimney Sweep, in 1939 he lists his occupation as Baker. The house is not listed as the Leopard Inn, but is now the Post Office

Also living in the house in 1939, was their daughter, Ethel, and Sarah's mother Sarah Mayes (b:1855) who had been the village postmistress from 1906 until her daughter Rose took over.

Henry and Rose Wright had a son, John Joseph Wright. He was born in 1923 and died serving in the Northamptonshire Regiment, at Anzio in Italy in May 1944, age just 21. His had worked a a bricklayer before joining up in 1942 and was married. His wife's name was Anne Lilian Wright, and at the time of his death she was living in Leopard House - though then it was simply known as The Post Office - with her husbands family. 

Henry and Rose were divorced in 1946;

The house remained the village post office up until 1982. Over the years the family tradition had continued and Henry & Sarah Wright's daughter, Freda, had become postmistress and lived in the house with her husband Raymond Panther. Freda retired in 1982 and the post office and village shop was continued by Mrs. Helen Robinson for another 12 months before she left. 

It reverted back to being a private house, now known as Leopard House and became the home of Cyril & Syliva Kelly and family. For a period of time Cyril & Sylvia, as well as being teachers, operated the house as a Bed & Breakfast location.

Tea Tree Cottage, c1880. Robert & Elizabeth Loakes, who occupied the house in 1881, are standing in the door way. The roof is still thatched in this image. To the right of the picture can be seen the attached barn with entrance door which has now forms part of the house. Source unknown.

Robert & Elizabeth Loakes who lived in Tea Tree Cottage and raised 8 children. c1880, source unknown.

Tea Tree Cottage, c1990. Roof now made of tiles and larger windows have at some point being added to the house.

Tea Tree Cottage, April 2021. The roof line of the original thatched roof can be clearly seen as two diagonal lines leading up to towards the chimney. 

Tea Tree Cottage

The property is shown on the 1803 enclosure map and is one of a large number of houses and lands that belonged to Robert Andrews, no name is given for the property, from which we can assume that it was rented to a tenant.

The property originally had a thatched roof and was a smaller building, possibly only a single stoy. At some point the walls of the building were raise and then later the thatch roof was replaced with a tile roof and at the same time the walls were raised. Traces of the original roof line and hight of the walls can be seen on the south gable end. As with many of the older properties in Lower Street, the practicalities of building a house on a slope meant that the south (lower) side of the building is built on a raised platform, made of large irregular shaped stone blocks.

The first census record from 1841 does not give a house name, but by implication - it the house next to Leopard House in the records - the occupants are William & Jane Harris and their 8 children. Jane Harris is 35 at the time of the census and the eldest child is Samuel Harris who is 20. The parish register for Samuel's baptism in 1821, states that William and Jane (nee Beeby) were not married at the time Samuel was born.

The census record of 1851 gives the occupant as a Robert & Catherine Loaks (Loakes?), he is a farm labourer. According to a letter received in 2020 from a descendent, Philip Loakes, the family name was original Loake and the "s" was added in error during the a church service when one of the family described themselves as "one of the Loakes".

By 1861 the occupants are David & Sophie Harris and their two youngs children Emmely (Emily?), age 4, and Hannag, age 1. David is an agricultual labourer and is the on of William & Jane Harris who were living in the house in 1841.

The 1871 census gives Robert & Elizabeth Loakes as the occupants with 5 children, including Anne who is only 3 weeks old. Robert (b:1839 in Great Addington, d: 1904) is a shepherd, Elizabeth Payne (b: 1838 in Desborough, d:1907) does not give an occupation. Their eldest child is Hannah and she is listed a being born in Deborough, so presumably the family were living in Desborough after Robert & Elizabeth (nee Payne) were first married. The marriage record shows that the married in Desborough in May 1860.

One of the oldest photographs of the village, dating from c1880, is of Tea Tree Cottage. The 1881 census shows Robert & Elizabeth Loakes as still living in the house and now had 8 children. Robert is still a shepherd and Elizabeth list herself as shepherds wife. The two eldest sons Samuel & George, aged 15 & 14, are already at work as agricultural labourers. Their eldest daughter Hannah, had married and left home in 1880. The picture (see left) shows a couple standing in the doorway of the house and presumably this is Robert & Elizabeth.

Ten years later in 1891, Robert & Elizabeth are still living in Tea Tree Cottage (though no house name is given). Robert list his occupation as small farmer. Three of their sons, Samuel, Thomas, and Frederick, are also still living in the house and all are listed as agricultural labourer.

In 1901, the couple are still living in the house, though now with their daughter, Elizabeth (b: 1870) who is listed as housekeeper. Robert list himself as Shepherd on a farm. 

Robert died in 1904 and Elizabeth dies 3 years later in 1907.

In 1911 the house is occupied by George & Sarah Sharp. George lists his occupation as Farmer (though where the farm is that he works on is unclear), he was born in Little Addington in 1867. Sarah was born in Naseby, Northamptonshire in 1865, and her maiden name was Gibbs. They have two children, George Henry Sharp born in 1893 and who works for his father on the farm, and Grace Sharp who was born in 1895 and gives her occupation as dressmaker. Ten years previously the Sharp family were living in the Mill Cottages (now demolished). 

There are a number of photographs taken outside the house from 1918 (sometime between Jan and March) when Grace married Leonard Davis Abbott (see below) plus a postcard sent by Leonard, presumably to Grace, whilst he was serving in WW1. The card is dated 21 August 1918.

Leonard was the son of Joseph & Elizabeth Abbott who were living in the village in the 1911 census. Joseph there is confusion as to whether Joseph was born in London or in Great Addington, as there are records for both locations. Elizabeth (nee Fox) was born in Calverton, Nottinghamshire. They married in 1885 in Nottingham and lived there for a period of time as the 1891 census shows Joseph and Elizabeth living in Nottingham, and Joseph's sister Eliza was also living with them. Both Joseph and Eliza are listed as having been born in Great Addington, despite earlier records showing Joseph as having been born in London,  and both are employed in the lace industry for which Nottingham was famous. Leonard and his sisters, Bertha, Gertrude, and Florence, were all born in Nottingham. 

By 1897 the family had moved to Great Addington where more children, Bernard, Mabel and Maud, were born.

The WW1 medal card and records for Leonard are held by the National Archives under reference WO 372/1/2509. He originally joined the Northamptonshire Regiment in 1915 (regimental number 9975) and rose to the rank of corporal, he was then discharged in 1917 to enable him to re-enlist as a commissioned officer with the 3rd Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment (he retained the regimental number 9975) where he served as 2nd Lieutenant. On his medal card it list Bourneville Cottage, Great Addington as his postal and next of kin address.

In 1913 the house is purchased from Rennie Beauzville Byles & Herbert Horsfall Wilkinson - the executors of James Rennie Wilkinson who had lived in Shooters Hill and who had died that year - the buyer is a Charles Hudson.

There is another transaction in 1928 when Davied Edward Mitchell, now the resident of Shooters Hill, buys the property from Sidney Ernald Ralph Lane, son and heir to Sidney Leveson Lane who had lived in Great Addington Manor until his death in 1911. How the property had come into the Lane family possession between 1913 and 1928 is not known.

In 1939 the occupants are still George Harry Sharpe (b: 1867) and Sarah (b: 1864) his wife. George list his occupation as Dairy man retired. Sarah's occupation is listed as UDD, which stood for unpaid domestic duties. 

Tea Tree Cottage, April 2021

Leonard Abbott and Grace Sharp on their wedding day 1918. Grace lived with her parents in Tea Tree Cottage. Image source unknown.

Leonard Abbott, Grace Sharp, bridesmaids and presumably best man and side person on the wedding day 1918. Grace lived with her parents in Tea Tree Cottage. Image source unknown.

Leonard Abbott's postcard from when he was serving in WW1. 

Image source unknown.

Leonard Abbott's postcard from when he was serving in WW1. He is wearing the uniform of a 2nd Lieutenant, 3rd Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment. Image source unknown.

Leonard Abbott's medal card from WW1. Original document know held by the National Archives. Image produced courtesy of the National Archives.

Home Farm

It is believed that the site on which Home Farm is located is the site of the original Saxon hall - Eada's Hringtun. As such it is the oldest continuously occupied site within the village, dating back around 1,500 years. Over the years the building(s) have been changed many times, often being completely rebuilt, but the site has been in continuous usage throughout this time. More information on the village origins can be found in the Anglo-Saxon section. 

The current building is largely Victorian in construction and was built around 1890 following the destruction of an earlier building by fire. From the front the building has the appearance of a typical stone built Victorian "villa" made from cut and shaped stone blocks. From the rear though it is possible to see that rougher, unshaped stone has been used in the construction of the property, stones probably reused from the earlier building.

Nothing is known about the form of the building during the Anglo-Saxon period, but after the de Vere family took control of the manor and lands following the Norman Conquest a Medieval Manor house was built on the site and which was the family home for nearly 400 years. Details of the house at this time and the de Vere family can be found in the Medieval Section.

After the death of the last male heir in 1493 the de Vere family house and lands passed to the Mordaunts of Drayton house. It is unclear what happened between 1493 and 1604, but in that year the British History Online records the fact that the house of Great Addington was leased by the Mordaunt family to a Arthur Darcy in 1604 with the chief messuage (principal dwelling house) in the tenure of a John Cootes

It appears therefore that Arthus Darcy and family were living in the house, which was leased from the Mordaunts by Sir John Cutts on their behalf - the Darcy family appearing to have fallen on hard time, probably due to their Catholic associations. More information about the Darcy family can be found in the Tudors & Stuarts section.

The house and and was acquired from the Mordaunts by a William Andrew some time around 1645. He is mentioned a being a farmer in Great Addington and his son, Thomas, lived the first part of his life in Great Addington. Thomas Andrew was later to become a significant figure amongst the Northamptonshire elite and later lived in Harlestone, though retained his lands in Great Addington. 

In, The History of Northamptonshire, by John Bridges, though not published until 1791, 50 years after his death, had originally been written between 1710-20 and Bridges wrote the following:

"Thomas Andrew of Harleton Esq; whose predecessors bought it of Lord Mordaunt is now lord of Addington-magna. Between this and Little Addington is the manor house, inhabited by a tenant, pleasantly situated amongst woods, with a stream running by it."

This is the earliest written reference giving a specific location for the manor house which is the site on which Home Farm sits. It is worth noting that a "Home" farm was the name given to a farm that was located at or nearest to a manor, to differentiate it from other farms which though they may belong to the manor were not "home".  

The site is shown on the 1803 Inclosure Map, but no name  is given for the tenant on the map, though the name of the property is given as Home Farm. We do know that Home Farm and much of the village and land of the parish was owned by Robert Andrews of Harleston. The village priest, recorded the details of the tenants of Robert Andrews and the amount they paid him. The largest amount is paid by a George Allen and it is therefore reasonable to assume that George Allen was the occupant of the largest farm, Home Farm. George Allen is also recorded as being the single largest paying tenant in the 1790's. More information on the  Andrews can be found in the Tudor & Stuarts section.

In the earliest census record of 1841 the occupants of the house - known then as "Bottom Farm House" - was Thomas(35) and Mary Page(30). Also living in the house is John Allen (9), Elizabeth Labut(15) who is listed as "servant", and Jeremiah Knight (15).

In 1851 Thomas and Mary Page are still living in the house. Thomas writes:

"Farmer of 443 acres. Employing 14 men and 6 boys" 

Living in the house with Thomas and Mary are Emma Allen (24) who is a visitor - Mary's surname before she was married was Allen and she came from Liddington in Rutland as does Emma. Also in the house is Thomas Lovell (20) and Lucy Wilson (20), both seem to be servants. Thomas Lovell is written onto the census form as a later addition, crammed onto the same line as the entry for Lucy Wilson.

The last tenant of the farm before it was sold in 1865 was Charles Bettler (30), Farm Bailiff, who was unmarried at that time. Also living in the house was Mary Page (55), Housekeeper, and Anne Hanland (16) Servant.

Due to financial difficulties the Andrew family sold their land and property in Great Addington to James Rennie Wilkinson in 1865. For more about the Wilkinson please see the Victorian section. 

In 1871, James Rennie Wilkinson and his wife Elizabeth and their servants are listed as living in the "New Farm House". James being a farmer of "400 acres. (employing) 12 men and 5 boys". However, this New Farm House is most likely to be the new house that he built, now known as Shooters Hill.

In the same census there is a reference to the "Old Farm House" which is occupied by a married couple, George (29) and Mary (27), their surname is believed to be Freeman but the handwriting is difficult to read. George is listed as a Gardner - presumably for James Rennie Wilkinson who owned the land and buildings. George is from Risley in Bedfordshire and Mary was born in Brentor, Devon. They have one daughter, Johanna (1).

Extract from 1803 Inclosure Map of the village. Home Farm is the red building, No.35 in the image. The grey buildings, No.36 are also detailed as being part of Home Farm. The large field, No.34 is marked as being an orchard. Building, No38, in red towards the bottom right of the image is the (now demolished) Mill House. At this point in time all the shown land was in the property of Robert Andrews who owned much of the land in the area.

Home Farm and outbuildings, 1885. The farm buildings were far more extensive than the farm building at that time and have expanded considerably since the 1804 map. The mill is shown towards the bottom of the image. Also shown is the mill lake which used to lie between the farm and the mill.

Home Farm and outbuildings circa 1950. The outbuildings are significant in size when compared against the house itself. The modern houses of Lower Street, Ringstead Road, Manor Close, and Chapel Close had not been built at this time.

This is one of the best pictures that captures how the village would have looked prior to the 20th century and is similar to the maps of 1804 and 1885.

At the bottom of the picture can be seen the traditional "kitchen garden" that many houses had dating back for thousands of years - often referred to in older documents as a "close". Replaced later with "allotments".

Image taken before 1955.From the Brian Duncan collection.

After a period of time James Rennie Wilkinson decided that he no longer wanted to be run the farm himself and brought in farm managers to run the estate for him.

In the 1881 census, the farmer is William Smith (51). He records:

"Farmer of 397 acres, employing 7 men and 4 boys"

Also living in the house is Emma (44) his wife who gives her occupation as Farmers Wife, two sons, Frank (16) and George (10), three daughters, Bessie (12), Edith (8), and Henrietta (5), and one servant Mary Rowlett (17). 

By 1891, James Rennie Wilkinson had brought a new farmer to manage the estate. John Milligan (30) who was the son of Thomas Milligan of Dean, Bedfordshire where James had learnt farming as a young man. Also in the house was William Craig (23) a visitor who worked in chemical manufacturing and was from the Isle of Wight, Elizabeth Easterbrook (45) another visitor, Lucy Palmer (21) a servant, and Lizzie Bland (23) another servant.

On Tuesday, 23 August 1892, James Rennie Wilkinson's farm manager and friend John Milligan, took his own life. The inquest took place on Friday, 26 August 1892 at the Leopard (House) Inn, Great Addington. A witness, Amelia Carpenter of Little Addington, said she was employed a cleaner by John and was working at the house when she heard the report of a gun as she was in the kitchen. She ran upstairs to the sitting-room, from where she thought the noise came and found John lying on the floor.  

By 1911 a new farmer, Hubert Howard (28), had come to live at the farm from Holme in Bedfordhire and manage the Wilkinson estate. He lived there with his wife Ethel (25), his brother in law, Victor Lawrence (15) who worked on the farm, and a servant, Lilly Abbott (16). Ethel and Victor had originally been born and lived in Bridgewater, Somerset. 

On Wednesday 12th March 1913 James Rennie Wilkinson took his own life by drowning himself in the lock on the river Nene near the railway station, (now demolished). Hubert Howard was in the meadow near the river working with Mr. Peck. They saw James cross the bridge over the river and walk towards the lock. Howard and Peck went towards James and saw that he “sat on the wall of the lock and appeared to slide in. The lock was about 10 feet deep”. Peck ran towards the station for assistance and Howard ran to fetch a ladder. A porter from the station, Harry Holley, jumped into the water and with assistance from Howard was able to get James out of the lock. “He was unconscious...(and) after artificial respiration..he appeared to come around slightly, his heart beating faintly”. However, as he was being carried to the house he stopped breathing.

Following Wilkinson's death the estate was purchased by the farmer Hubert Howard. At that point in time the house was known as Brook Farm. As well as the farm house and all the land, the Howards brought the four cottages that now make up the Long House, the Corn Mill, the Mill Dam, and the mill cottages.

The Howards were still running the farm in 1939, though by now they had two children John (23) and Agnes (23) who helped run the farm.

In June 1945, a further tragedy occurred when Hubert & Ethels' son, John Hubert Howard (29), was found dead by Hubert in a nearby field. He had died from a single gunshot wound to the head, the inquest recorded it as accidental death. John had been helping Hubert run the farm. In 1947 the Howards put all the animals, livestock and machinery of the farm up for sale. Hubert died later the same year in November.

In 1963 the farm and other properties was sold to Talbot Williams, farmer, of Stanwick. Following the departure of the Williams brothers it ceased to be a working farm. The site of the outbuildings was redeveloped as two new house, Stonecrop and Millfield. 

Aerial view of Home Farm. The outbuildings have now been converted and/or replaced with two new houses. The mill which is mentioned in the Domesday book stood at the junction of the two streams at the top of the image but had been demolished by the time this photograph was taken. Image from Brian Duncan collection, circa 1985. 

1940 plan of Home Farm and outbuildings (not to scale) showing the layout of the working farm in 1940. Image from Brian Duncan collection, circa 1985. The "rough wall" shown at the top left still stands as seen in the image below.

Home Farm - circa 2019. Much of what can be seen was built in the late Victorian period on the instructions of James Rennie Wilkinson who owned much of the land., including Home Farm, though he himself lived at Shooters Hill.

Boundary wall of Home Farm - circa 2020. An earlier stone wall has been built up in red-brick - possibly during the Victorian period - to give greater privacy to the house. 

Jasmine Cottage - c1965

Roseanne Duncan in the foreground

B. Duncan collection

Jasmine Cottage, c1990 

The restoration work on the house by Brian and Sheila Duncan was completed by 1967, but the garden took many years of work.

B. Duncan collection

Jasmine Cottage, c1965 before modernisation

Roseanne Duncan in foreground on the right of image

B. Duncan collection

Jasmine Cottage, c 1990

B Duncan collection

Jasmine Cottage - formerly White Hall

The property is shown on the 1803 enclosure map and is one of a large number of houses and lands that belonged to Robert Andrews; the property name on the inclosure map is White Hall. It is also referred to as Whitehall Cottage in later documents. It was renamed Jasmine Cottage in 1967.

Brian Duncan's history of the village (1990) included the following information on White Hall:

Previously belonging to Henry Leete (b: 1750 d:1804), Surgeon of Thrapston, and was acquired by Robert Andrews. 

The Northampton Mercury of February 1778 carries a notice by a Mr. Leete, Surgeon, of Thrapston, of a property for sale in Great Addington consisting of:

"a Farm House, Homestead, Cottage, and a little Close of Pasture (field), with about 60 acres of arable land"

Brian Duncan also found an indenture document dated 27th March 1807 drawn up between Robert Andrews and William King, Miller, of Great Addington and his executor giving for one years "peppercorn rent" a property that includes:

 "that farmhouse or tenement adjoining the churchyard there towards the south, now or late in the tenure of Charles Currel and William Allen, including that cottage, now in the tenure or occupation of John Beeby the elder and John Beeby the younger, together with a little close where to a Barn doth now or did formerly stand, the total land involved being estimated two rods (half an acre), known by the name of White Hall Close, now or late was in the tenure of William Harris, Blacksmith." 

In 1810 Thomas Lovell paid William King £70.00 for a "cottage with a close of pasture adjoining". When Thomas Lovell died in August 1844 his will stated:

"my estate to be sold as soon as convenient, which include homestead house, barns, yard, and garden...I will that my wife Sarah take her household goods what she brought with her and her wearing apparel whats and wheres to her own use"

Everything was to be sold and the proceeds were to go to his son, also called Thomas. 

At a public auction held on 14th October 1844, the Rev. James Tyley purchased White Hall Close for £245.00 and would have let it to tenants.

Following the death of the Rev. James Tyley in 1856 all of his property and effects passed to his wife Mary. In her will of 1879 she decreed the property to be valued and offered to the Rev. Richard Dokes who was then the incumbent of All Saints church. He brought it for £30.00 and then sold it in October 1884 to Anna James, for £35.00 and the deeds state:

"three cottages now being erected by the Purchaser on the site of a Cottage or Tenement (lately pulled down by the Purchaser)"

Brian Duncan, in his history of the village (published 1990), questioned the accuracy of this part of the deeds as a date stone on the east gable of the building reads T. L. over the date 1829, which would be Thomas Lovell who had purchased the cottage and land in 1810. He must have added that section onto the older (pre-1810) cottage that was once thatched and still (in 1990) had a wooden lintel.

Thomas Lovell was also probably responsible for raising the height of the external walls - when converted from thatched to tiled - and adding the eastern end of the building.

The cottage mentioned in the deeds from 1884 may have been the cottage of Elizabeth Bolney, shown on the 1803 enclosure map. She had died in 1806 and there are no references found so far as to what happened to that home.

The 1891 census shows Anna James as the housekeeper for the Rev. Richard Dokes and living in the rectory. Brian Duncan references Anna's will, though there is no date given for it, and the property is left to her nephew David E Griffiths - who, age 19, was boarding in the rectory in 1891 and gives his occupation as "scholar". At the point Anna died, David was still studying at Worcester College, Oxford so her death must have been circa 1892.

In the 1901 census there is only one family listed in Whitehall Cottage. Annie Constable, who lists herself as "wife" but gives no occupation, and was born in 1873 in Gainsborough in Lincolnshire. Also on the house are her three sons, Walter (age 7), Percy (age 4), and Talbot (age 8 months). Walter and Percy were born in different villages in Lincolnshire, and Talbot was born in Clifton Reynes, Buckinghamshire which is near Olney. The family had clearly moved around and as Talbot was under one and from a different village they can have only just moved to Great Addington.

In April 1910 David Griffith sold the house to Sidney Leveson Lane of the Manor House for £350.00. The tenants are listed as Feary, Forscutt, and the third cottage is unoccupied. The Feary family would have been John & Charlotte Feary and their 5 sons and 1 daughter. John was from Burton Latimer and Charlotte was from Finedon. John worked as an ironstone labourer and the two eldest boys, aged 16 and 13, worked as shoe finishers.

William Boon(b: 1902 d: 1989) a resident of the village gave an interview to Roseanne Duncan in 1983 in which he recalls Whitehall Cottages.

"Whitehall Cottage were three cottages under one roof and were occupied at one time by three families named Bettles, Fairey (actually Feary), and Hicks. Hicks, an insurance man, hung himself in a shed at the top of the garden."

In the 1911 census there are families by the names Bettles and Feary. There is not a Hicks family listed at that time. It is likely that James Hacker Hicks & Ivy Agnes Hicks (nee Hilson), from Stanwick, are the Hicks family being referred to and they must have have moved into the village some time after 1911. James Hicks had been a career soldier, joining the Royal Marines in 1895 and invalided out in 1911 with a military disability pension.  In 1911 James & Ivy are living in Walthamstow, London. His death is recorded in January 1922, but no details are given. James & Ivys' son, Lance Corporal Stanley Hicks, died in January 1944 during WW2 and is buried in Great Addington church yard. Stanley had married Wilhelmena McCaskie in 1938 and in 1939 the couple were living in Rushden.

The property deeds for the house show that it was purchased by Ivy Hicks for £135.00 in 1926 from Sidney Ernald Ralph Lane, the son of Sidney Leveson Lane, who had inherited the properties in the village following his fathers death in 1911. 

Ivy Hicks remarried in 1939 to John Ball and at the time of the census in 1939 they were still living in Whitehall Cottages. John was a shoemaker and was born in Oundle.

William Boon also recollected that:

"they (Ivy & John Ball) converted the end two cottages into one. Mrs. Langley lived in the other one, there was a wash-house and barn at one end. A stony lane, Hicks's Lane, which passed Whitehall Cottages went over a stile, into the spinney and on into a gated field. Along the land was an apple and (a) walnut tree."

Mrs Langley, would seem to refer to Phylis Langley and her husband Russell . They were still living in Whitehall Cottages in 1939. Russel was from Ringstead and died in 1970. He was living in Ringstead Road at that time. Phylis Langley (nee Stair) was from Rotherham and died in 2003.

Brian Duncan recorded that the property was sold by Ivy (Hicks as was) & John Ball to a Wilhelmena Marcon Bridgland of the Rose & Crown, Aldwinkle, in February 1960 for £350.00. This is the same Wilhelmena who had been married to Stanley Hicks until his death in WW2. She had remarried in 1945 to Horace Bridgland.

Whilelmina's second husband, Horace Bridgland sold the property to Anthony Harry Gent and Arthur James Brown in March 1962 for £250.00. Wilhelmena died in 2005 and is buried in Wadenhoe church yard alongside Horace who had died in 1979. Wilhelmena's grave gives her name as simply as Marion.

The building was acquired in October 1965 by Brian & Sheila Duncan and the restoration and alterations, including the conversion into a single dwelling and the addition of a north facing wing, took another 2 years. Brian & Sheila also purchased the adjoining north paddock to make a better approach driveway.

Further significant extensions and alterations have since been undertaken by the current owners.

The 1760 map of the Hundreds of Northamptonshire shows 11 mills between Higham Ferrers and Stoke Doyle, of which 4 were between Great Addington and Woodford.

The Mills

There are known to be a mills at Great Addington as far back as the 9th century and three are listed in the Addingtons in the Domesday book in 1086. Mills were an important source of wealth up to the early 20th century and feature often in land sales and transfers around the village.

There were four mills along the short, but winding section of the valley between Great Addington and Woodford. Three of these were on the river and one was powered by the streams that encircle Great Addington and had been dammed and created a large mill pond at the back of where Home Farm stands - also the probable site of the Anglo-Saxon and Medieval manor house.

The mills have had various names over time but from west to east are best known as follows:

Willy Watt Mill

The following information is taken from information written by John Abbot of the Ringstead Heritage group. 

More information about Ringstead can be found here.Willy Watt Mill is built of a mixture of limestone and ironstone and consists of three floors. Under the mill wheel arch is a large undershot water wheel which is made of iron and has wooden paddles. To the left of the wheel was the eel trap where, in earlier times, as much as half a hundred weight of eels would have been caught overnight, at certain times of the year. The eels trap was eventually filled in.  

At the bridge end is another water wheel, which once powered two stones for grinding corn and continued as a working flour mill until 1937. The smaller wheel on the end of the building was still in use, to generate electricity, up until the early 1960s after which an electric cable from an electricity supply from Great Addington installed to the building.

The Mill was part of the Abbey of Croyland (now Crowland) in Lincolnshire at the time of the Norman Conquest. The Mill along with much of the land of Great Addington then came into the possession of the Crown, after the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII. The ownership of the mill then followed that of much of Great Addington.

In 1723 a mill house was constructed with 250 tons of Collyweston slate for the roof, along with timbers from the ship Arcadia, which had sunk in 1660 off the East coast, and these timbers were used for the roof beams.

In 1765 Francis Tidbury, Ringstead’s first paper maker, was now the tenant, not only of Willywatt Mill but also the Ringstead Cottons Mill. Both Mills were now owned by Henry Shuttleworth, who resided in Great Bowden, near Market Harborough.

Francis Tidbury also owned Perio Mill, between Southwick and Fotheringhay. He also took on the tenancy of Ringstead Windmill, which once stood on the hill between Ringtead and Raunds.

In the ‘History of Northamptonshire’ book written in 1720 by John Bridges the Mill was then named as Willywatt Mills although the name varies between from Willet Mill & Williat Mill.

In 1836 the Mill was advertised in the Northamptonshire Mercury as a newly erected bone crushing Mill house. This new use of a Mill for bone crushing was fulfilling the need for farmers who used the crushed bones as a phosphate fertiliser, for growing crops.

1861 Saw the Mill now producing paper, but this was short lived, as competition from Ringstead Cotton Mill (just half a mile up river) was possibly too great as the cotton rag pulp from Ringstead Cotton Mill was believed to be of a finer quality.

By 1874 the Mill was known as Woodford Mill (even though Ringstead was just a short walk away). The millers at this time were Samuel Allen and Moses Irons Eady. Mr. Eady sold the mill in 1880 for £795 to land-owner George Capron. Eady returned to his birth town of Burton Latimer and worked the towns windmill whilst Mr. Allen continued tenancy with a new partner Alfred Cockerton.

In 1897, William Dodson the baker of Little Addington, bought not only Willywatt Mill but also Ringstead Cotton Mill, even though the latter mill was in a poor state. The miller employed by William Dodson was Frank Hart of Ringstead, who even worked up to the age of 100.

The mill house flooded on many occasions, but the worst recorded flood was in 1947 when the flood water reached ceiling height in the ground floor rooms. 

After William Dodson the mill went to James Hawes, a coal merchant from Woodford, James then in turn passes it on to his son William J Hawes. In 1937 the Mill ceased to work and the many bedrooms in the Mill were let to holiday makers using the rooms as guest chalets. The Mill was sold to in 2005 and restored.


Contact to get more information