HIGH STREET WALK PART ONE

Your guide to the High Street from the Church to the Village Hall.

By David Miller

Photo:Chicheley map of c.1686.    To enlarge this map, use Control and + or click on the map and wait for it to download.

Chicheley map of c.1686. To enlarge this map, use Control and + or click on the map and wait for it to download.

We will start the walk at the Church, with a photo showing how it used to look in around 1920. There are further photos of the outside of the Church here, while details of the Church inside can be found here.

Many of the old houses of the village can be found along the High Street, and since most of them are set close to the Street itself, the impression is that the old houses here still predominate.  Unfortunately, a good number of them have been lost.  Nevertheless, there are more listed buildings in the village of Orwell than there are in the nearby village of Barrington, even though Barrington is well known for its picture-book houses.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'HIGH STREET WALK PART ONE' page

Looking across the High Street from the Church, you will see The Old C. of E. School.  For a photo of the School, and further details, either click on this link or on the panel in 'High Street' entitled 'No.2 High Street.'

On the same side of the road as the Church (the North) there is a small footpath beside the churchyard leading to the meadow "on the backside of the Church" as it was charmingly described in past times, and then next after the footpath there is a large plot of land now occupied by No.1 High Street. This was formerly the site of The Town House, and this link takes you to photographs of it before it was burned down.

Next to the site of the Town House is The Old Post Office (No.3 High Street, Grade II Listed)

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'HIGH STREET WALK PART ONE' page
Now occupied as a single house, and opened up internally to make more living space, it still retains many of the features of the original building.

No. 8 High Street (The Dolls House) is another old timber house, but this time it is of most unorthodox construction. Nearly all of the uprights forming the walls are in the form of crosses

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'HIGH STREET WALK PART ONE' page
What the rest of the wall structure consists of can only be imagined. The house terminates abruptly at the right hand end, and it seems probable that the house extended further to that side, but has since been demolished.

No. 10 High Street  is interesting in that it is an example of a feature which is frequently found in this village. 

Photo:Two very distinct types of building comprise this single dwelling.

Two very distinct types of building comprise this single dwelling.

An old timber cottage (thatched, in this case) has been extended by the addition of a yellow brick structure with a slated roof.  It is possible that the brick built part of the property has replaced a former cross wing, but the cottage internally seems to be self contained, so that the later part of this building is likely to have been either a separate semi-detached dwellinghouse, or else an extension to the cottage.  Note the two front doors. Other instances occur in the village where the later brick part of the building is definitely a replacement for an earlier timber structure (see, e.g. No.55 High St.)

The chimney stack retains its original victorian ornamentation at the top.

Moving along the street, on the North side there is a small cottage (No.7) next to the Old Post Office.  This is typical of the smaller cottage in Orwell, which was originally built as a one- or two-room cottage open to the roof, with a small fire in the middle of the floor.  It was developed over the centuries by the addition of a fireplace and chimney stack, followed by the insertion of an upstairs floor, and by a staircase and dormer windows to serve the upstairs.  The timber structure is shown in this photo.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'HIGH STREET WALK PART ONE' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'HIGH STREET WALK PART ONE' page
An illustrated account of the development of this kind of small cottage is given when we get to Fox Cottage.

 

 

Photo:Cottages endways on to High Street

Cottages endways on to High Street

 

The small row of cottages endways on to the road were renovated by The Cambridge Cottage Improvement Society, and are now rented out.

 

 

 

Photo:Cobbler's shop, The Old White Hart.

Cobbler's shop, The Old White Hart.

On the opposite side of the road (the north side) there is a small building, once used as a cobbler's shop, which belongs to the Old White Hart.

The White Hart itself was de-licenced many years ago, but still retains some of the seating in the bar, and there is a half cellar at the rear, where the beer was kept.  It was occupied for many years by a well known Orwellite, The Revd. Kingsley Lloyd. His details are under 'People' on this website. The doorstep is formed by an old mill stone. There was once a windmill on the hill behind this property, so the stone may have come from there. There are local stories of a stone being recklessly rolled down the hill when the mill was de-commissioned!

Photo:The White Hart, 1930. Note that part of the roof is thatched. The front door has gone..

The White Hart, 1930. Note that part of the roof is thatched. The front door has gone..

Cambridge Antiquarian Society.

Opposite the Old White Hart is No.20, (Listed,) a substantial looking house with a frontage in the yellow brick made from the local clay.  However, this is only a frontage, the give-away being that the side walls are plastered.  The other walls are thought to be claybat. Other houses in the High Street also have brick frontages, but with timber construction behind.

No. 20 was at one time the village baker's, and the oven and the oven door are still in position.

Photo:Bread oven door at No.20

Bread oven door at No.20

The building next to No.20 was a store for the flour, and was later used as a greengrocers.

Still on the south side of the High Street, the building now numbered 22/24 was a butcher's shop and house.  The house is actually timber framed, with a brick frontage. The shop was closed in c.1992, but it used to look like this

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'HIGH STREET WALK PART ONE' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'HIGH STREET WALK PART ONE' page
Further details of this business are to be found here. Next to this property is another small house, No.26. There is little to show as regards its construction, but a recent photo taken when the roof was being replaced shows an older structure beneath the present timbers.
Photo:Modern square sawn timber over the old rustic poles at No.26

Modern square sawn timber over the old rustic poles at No.26

Now, we have to tell you about a building which is no longer here.  Exactly opposite the former butcher's shop, you will see three modern bungalows, with three larger houses up the hill behind them.  These have been erected on the site of what was once Quarry Farm.

Photo:Quarry Farm - now demolished.

Quarry Farm - now demolished.

Quarry Farm was demolished in 1970, and the land was developed a few years later in the style then prevalent - the houses, for example, have living rooms on the first floor so as to enjoy the view, while the bungalows have high hedges or fences to protect their privacy. There is a photo of the site under development in the 'Gallery' section at the end of the High Street Walk.

However, there is still one item of interest to be seen on the old Quarry Farm site. This is the village mulberry tree.  Despite its great age it still thrives , as is all too obvious to everyone in the summer months because of the mess made by the fruit on the footpath. It is one of the oldest trees in the county.

The next house to look at is probably even older than the tree. No.30, at one time known as 'Tudor Mede,' has some very substantial timbers in it and is thought to date from before 1500.

Photo:No.30 High Street.

No.30 High Street.

There are a number of photos of it here, and the historic buildings listing is here. The crosswing at one time had a jetty to the road, but this has been underbuilt. The inserted floor in the hall range is supported on samson posts. Unusually for Orwell, there is a cellar under the crosswing. The property was used as a saddler's shop in the 1930's.

Adjoining the property, and at one time a part of it until the land was developed, is the Thatched Wall.  There are only two thatched walls in the whole of the county.  This one now has an arched entrance way in it, but this is a recent addition, made when the house behind the wall was erected.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'HIGH STREET WALK PART ONE' page
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Photo:The Red Lion stood at the eastern end of the thatched wall. Village lockup beyond

The Red Lion stood at the eastern end of the thatched wall. Village lockup beyond

The Red Lion used to stand here, between the wall and the village lockup.

Photo:The well at Well Cottage. It is about ten feet deep, and has water in it.

The well at Well Cottage. It is about ten feet deep, and has water in it.

Back to the north side of the street, and just beyond the roadway to the car park, there is an intriguing pair of cottages, now used as a single house (Well Cottage, No. 27.) The property was at one time a single cottage, but was converted to a pair between 1845 and 1882, possibly by the extension of the house forwards, and the building of the front chimney stack. The two front doors remain, and there are some internal photos here.

The last cottage before the Village Hall is No.31, Fox Cottage - typical of the smaller cottage to be seen in this village.

Photo:Framed by too many poles and wires! To see earlier photos, follow the link.

Framed by too many poles and wires! To see earlier photos, follow the link.

Originally of just one or two rooms, and with a small fire in the middle of the floor, the property was improved over the centuries by the addition of a chimney and a first floor, and by a dormer window to provide lighting upstairs.  Photos of the inside of this property showing these improvements are here. The historic buildings listing gives the age of this cottage as C18th, but the internal details give one to suppose that the original construction date is more likely to be 16th century.

This brings us to the Village Hall. Use this link if you want to see further details of the Hall.

This page was added by David Miller on 15/12/2012.

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