The Ovens 2 High Street Blunham
2 and 4 High Street in 1973 [Z50/19/27]
The Ovens and Battle Cottage, along with the Ragged Staff and Shoe Cottage on the other side of the road form a lovely group on this part of the High Street. One can only lament the destruction of other, similar cottages, such as that immediately west of the Ragged Staff. The name of the cottage presumably reflects use as a bakery at some point in its history though BLARS does not have any deeds for the property to prove this.
The Rating and Valuation Act of 1925 specified that every piece of land and building in the country should be assessed to determine the rates to be paid on it. Blunham was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting The Ovens [DV1/C155/30] discovered that it was owned by J. Norman and occupied by H. Hall at a rent of 7/6 per week. The building contained a living room and parlour downstairs with three bedrooms above. A barn with a copper and an earth closet stood outside. Water came from a tap outside and there was a "Tiny Garden". The valuer noted: "Has been added to at Rear" and "Was done up". The Ovens was part thatched and part tiled at that date.
The Ovens, along with Battle Cottage next door, was listed by the former Department of Environment in October 1973 as Grade II, of special interest; they dated it to the late 17th century (unsurprisingly as Battle Cottage bears a plaque saying 1699) and noted 19th century alterations. The house is timber framed, with some exposed timbering and some of the house later rebuilt in brick, the whole was then covered with colour washed roughcast render. Part of the property, now, as in 1927, has a clay tile roof, the rest being thatched. Many cottages of the period have a simple plan with two rooms downstairs, The Ovens is bigger, with a three room plan. It comprises one storey with bedrooms in the attics. The right hand part of the house is a converted outbuilding.
The Ovens - 2 High Street - August 2009