The Thatch Cottage January 2008
The Thatch Cottage was listed by the former Department of Environment in August 1979 as Grade II, of special interest. The department dated the property to the 17th and 18th centuries. The building is timber-framed with colourwashed roughcast render and was built on a rubble stone plinth. An 18th century barn adjoins the right hand side which has been converted to residential use. Both structures have thatched roofs. Another extension on the left hand side is modern and has a tiled roof.
The cottage, as its situation in Crawley Park indicates, was in the same ownership as Crawley House and Crawley Park Farm from at least the early 19th century until well into the 20th century. In 1777 and 1778 Rev. Daniel Shipton built Crawley House, pulling down a cottage tenanted by a man named Rose in the process [X178/4]. This cottage may have been similar to The Thatch Cottage.
The 1807 marriage settlement of Daniel Shipton's daughter Charlotte and Robert Charles Orlebar [V374-375] listed Charlotte's property as being: Crawley House; The Thatched Cottage in Crawley Park; Crawley Park Farm totalling 109 acres; 32 acres and the adjoining Weathercock Public House in Aspley Guise and 30 acres in Wavendon
In 1895 Valentina Augusta Orlebar, wife of George Ellis Wynter of Buckland Ripers [Dorset], then residing at Husborne Crawley made a draft will [HN10/280/Orlebar7]. She was entitled to Crawley Park under the will of her father and devised it to her nephew Orlando Robert Aplin Orlebar. If he had no heirs it was then to go trustees to hold for devisees in the following order: Henry Evelyn Orlebar for life, then Robert Evelyn Orlebar, his son, for life, then to use of each of his sons, then to sons of her cousin Augustus Scobell Orlebar, then to George Crewe Orlebar for life, then to Edward Yarde Orlebar, then to his sons.
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. The valuer visiting The Thatch Cottage [DV1/C53/78] found it tenanted by Mrs. Jane Fooks who paid £6 per annum in rent. The valuer gives the owner as Rev. Edward Yarde Orlebar though the notebook for Crawley Hall Farm [DV1/H5/54] states that Orlando Orlebar was still the owner of that property and Crawley House and that he let both to E. Y. Orlebar so the same may well have been true of the Thatch Cottage, making Mrs. Fooks a sub-tenant. The valuer noted: "N. B. Occupier is retired family servant and rent is paid on her behalf by a relation".
The cottage contained a living room, a kitchen and two bedrooms. An earth closet lay outside. Water had to be fetched from Crawley Hall Farm. There was no electricity and the house was lit by oil lamps. Lamps. The valuer commented: "Very old cottage, thatch, not very good position".