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11 and 12 The Village Old Warden

Swiss Cottage about 1900
Swiss Cottage about 1900 [Z50/129/83]

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.

11 and 12 High is known as Swiss Cottage, and was listed by the former Department of Environment as Grade II, of special interest in 1970. It is now one house, but was formerly a pair of Ongley Estate cottages "in picturesque style" built in the early 19th century by the 3rd Lord Ongley. He also had the Swiss Gardens constructed and clearly enjoyed the theme.  The house is constructed of brick with colour-washed rough-cast render over it and has a fish scale tile roof with terracotta decorative ridge cresting with finials. It is a U shaped building of one storey with attics and side wings with semi-hexagonal ends.

 Swiss Cottage March 2008
Swiss Cottage March 2008

In 1872 Old Warden Park was sold by Robert, 3rd Baron Ongley by private contract to Joseph Shuttleworth. The sale catalogue of the time [X65/61] noted that Swiss Cottage, described as "Pair of unique bay-fronted Cottages, with verandahs, Out-houses and Gardens" were in the respective occupations of Mrs.Whiteman and John Hart, the blacksmith,  at £3 per annum each.

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 Swiss Cottage [DV1/C34/91] found it now occupied as one dwelling by W.C.Modral, Head Gardener on the Shuttleworth estate, who owned the property. The building comprised two parlours, a kitchen, a lobby "used for coats", a pantry and larder downstairs with three bedrooms, a dressing room and box room above. Outside were two barns and two earth closets. Water was laid on and the property stood in 0.645 of an acre. The valuer noted: "Weird shape.V.nice old place. V. funny shape at ends. Big and good garden. Beds [bedrooms] v.low".