No.3 High Street (The Old Post Office.)

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'No.3 High Street (The Old Post Office.)' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'No.3 High Street (The Old Post Office.)' page
Photo:The diagonal brace downstairs.  Note that it has blocked the front doorway.

The diagonal brace downstairs. Note that it has blocked the front doorway.

Photo:Shutter grooves and diamond mullions ground floor front.

Shutter grooves and diamond mullions ground floor front.

Photo:Diagonal brace upstairs. Note the arched tie beam - a sign of quality construction.

Diagonal brace upstairs. Note the arched tie beam - a sign of quality construction.

A listed building Grade II. Late 15th century.

By David Miller

This old building follows the usual pattern for the larger houses of Orwell, namely a building parallel with the road frontage, with a crosswing at one end (known as a 'Hall and Crosswing' type house.) The main chimney stack occurs at the junction between the two parts of the building. The crosswing will always have been two storeyed, but it is not clear whether the part of the building parallel with the road (the 'range' as it is called) has had a floor inserted in it since build.  It is two storeyed now, and there is clear evidence of the roofline having been raised, probably from the same level as that of the roof where the chimney stack is.  The western end of the building (the former shop) appears to be more recent than the rest.

The end of the house nearest the Church was used as a village Post Office and Stores for many years (see photos). The bay windows which can now be seen each side of the former shop door are recent and do not appear in the older photos.

The crosswing developed an alarming lean during the earlier years of its life, due to the absence of any diagonal bracing in the original construction of the gable end next to the street.  No doubt the builders thought that the rest of the house would give adequate support, but they were proved wrong.  Cross braces were added on the inside (see photo) at a later date, and the movement seems to have been stopped. One of the doorways downstairs has been blocked by the cross bracing.

Most crosswings on Orwell houses were jettied, but this one was not.  This is clear from the traces of the original windows and shutters on the ground floor of the cross wing.  A small millstone forms the front doorstep, but its origins are not known.

The property was occupied by someone of the name 'Fairchild' at the time of the Chicheley Map (approx 1686) and there are a number of wills of the Fairchild family held at the Cambridge Record Office. From its position in the street, and the general quality of the construction, one may infer that this was an important building. 

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'No.3 High Street (The Old Post Office.)' page

To see the Cambridgeshire Listed Buildings entry for this property, See http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-52321-the-old-post-office-orwell-cambridgeshire.

This page was added by David Miller on 06/12/2012.

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