2 Church Lane Eaton Bray
2 to 6 Church Lane about 1920 [Z50/39/26]
A row of three cottages stand opposite the south front of the church in Church Lane. At a quick glance they all look old, but a closer inspection will reveal that only the westernmost, Number 2 is truly ancient, as it warped timbers testify. The property was listed by the former Department of Environment in September 1980 as Grade II, of special interest. The department dated the cottage to the 17th century. It is timber-framed with colour-washed plaster infill and comprises two storeys under a modern tiled roof.
The cottage formed part of the Manor of Eaton Bray and was sold at auction with the rest of the Eaton Bray property (known as the Pedley Settled Estates) in 1915 by the executors of Arthur Macnamara. The sale catalogue describes the cottage as follows [Z215/2]:
A Range of Three Freehold Two-storied Cottages
Brick and half timber-built, with tiled roofs, and situate in Church lane opposite the Church, one containing Four Rooms up and Two down, and the others Two Rooms up and One down each, with Coal Barns and GOOD GARDENS, in all about
1 rood, 24 poles
Let to Ernest Brandon, William Proctor and Edward Groom on Monthly Tenancies, at Rents aggregating to
£20 8s. per annum.
At the back is a note that the cottage was sold to H. Sear for £150. The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. Like most of the county, Eaton Bray was assessed in 1927. The valuer visiting Church Lane [DV1/C235/104-106] found that the row of three cottages now belonged to J. Gadsden – possibly the James Gadsden who was a shopkeeper at 34 High Street.
Next door was occupied by Mrs. L. Procter who paid rent of 14/8½ per month; it had been 10/- before the Great War. The end cottage was in the occupation of A. E. Parsons whose rent was 6/- per week, a massive increase on the pre-war rent of 2/6. Both these two cottages had the same accommodation – a living room, a scullery and two bedrooms with a brick and tiled barn and a weather-boarded and slated earth closet outside. The valuer commented: “Poor places. Low eaves”.
Church Lane Cottages March 2012