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Clock House and Post Office Old Warden

Clock House and Post Office March 2008
Clock House and Post Office March 2008

Old Warden is something of a show village due to the preponderance of attractive cottages; some are tiled, some are thatched, but most are quaint looking and painted in the same livery of cream and white. Most are rendered and some have mock timber framing on the outside (sometimes concealing real timber framing beneath the render!). All look old but many are 19th century. They all belonged to the Shuttleworth Estate as it was known after Joseph Shuttleworth bought the estate in 1872. It had previously been the Ongley estate after Samuel Ongley bought it from Earl Bolingbroke, a member of the Saint John family of Bletsoe, in 1698.

 Clock House March 2008
Clock House March 2008

The Clock House and Post Office was listed by the former Department of Environment as Grade II, of special interest. It is a late 19th century building, meaning it could either be a late Ongley Estate or early Shuttleworth Estate building. It is built of red brick with a clay tile roof and its former stables were converted into the Post Office and shop, the post office having formerly been at Parsonage Piece. It is built in an L-plan and has one storey and attics, it is the projecting north-east wing that was formerly the stable block. The south-west block is unusual in having a square louvred bell-cote on the roof.

 Clock House from the side March 2008
Clock House from the side March 2008

In 1927 the dwellings of Old Warden were valued under the Rating Valuation Act 1925; every piece of land and building in the country was assessed to determine the rates to be paid on it. The valuer visiting The Clock House, then simply 21 the Village [DV1/C34/96-97] found it was owned by the Shuttleworth Estate and occupied by C.Grason; it stood in 0.120 acres. The building comprised a parlour, kitchen and pantry downstairs with three bedrooms above and a wash-house and earth closet outside. The northern projecting arm then belonged to the Hare and Hounds next door and the very north western end of the property, beneath the louvred bellcote, was occupied by the Shuttleworth Estate and used as a paint shop.

Sadly, on 17th September 2008 it was announced that Old Warden Post Office would be one of a number in the county to close permanently.