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23 Main Road Biddenham

23 Main Road March 2012
23 Main Road Biddenham March 2012

23 Main Road was listed by English Heritage in August 1987 as Grade II, of special interest. The cottage dates from the 18th century and is built of colourwashed and scribed plaster over walls of limestone rubble and has a thatched roof. It comprises two storeys and has a small stone and slate extension on the right hand side.

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 cottage [DV1/C123/50] found that, like most of the older properties in the village, it was owned by the Wingfield family, Lords of the Manor of Biddenham.

The cottage was occupied by T. Smith who paid rent of £6/10/- per annum. It contained a kitchen and a living room downstairs, with two bedrooms on the first floor and two attics above that. A barn, a washhouse and earth closet, a wood and tiled barn and two hen houses all stood outside. Though mains water was laid on the valuer commented: “Poor place”.

The Biddenham Women's Institute scrapbook of 1956 [X535/6] shows the cottage (then without the two windows onto the road on the first floor) and states that it was the village post office from 1934 to 1953. The postmistress was Mrs. Emily Susan Davis. On her retirement the post office was taken over by her son and operated from a wooden outbuilding adjoining.

23 Main Road in 1956 from the Biddenham WI scrapbook [X535/6]
23 Main Road in 1956 from the Biddenham WI scrapbook [X535/6]