West of the Common

'Carpenters' & other Cottages West of the Common

Mulbarton is fortunate to have several fine old houses still standing. There is so much we don't know about Mulbarton's old houses, but the Heritage Project has found that much more is known than anyone ever guessed - thanks to residents who have researched their house histories.

Air view, 1986, looking South. 'Carpenters' (the white house round a courtyard) is on the Common and other cottages are west of the Common boundary.
Air view, 1986, looking South. 'Carpenters' (the white house round a courtyard) is on the Common and other cottages are west of the Common boundary.

'Carpenters', formerly 'Common View' is a cottage with barns and a small garden that is obviously built on former common land, west of the main road (the Turnpike / Norwich Road / B1113) (above). The exact date is unknown - but its Georgian style suggests it was built in the Eighteenth century. Here we look at the history of the cottage, but it is closely linked to the business of various carpenters.

The first known date is a General Court of Mulbarton Manor held on 28th April 1794. Then, Shelton Cullingford (Carpenter) of Bungay and Amy his wife took on the copyhold tenancy of the property. The Cullingfords also held the tenancy of neighbouring properties, and may have later moved to one of these. At the same Court, Thomas Dunt was allowed to continue having 'a certain shed', 22 feet long and 11 feet wide, built on waste belonging to the Manor and subject to an annual rent of 6 (old) pence.

On 2nd March 1805, Richard Whiting (Schoolmaster) of Mulbarton and his wife, Elizabeth, take on the tenancy of "that dwelling house on the green called Mulbarton Green together with land 4 feet behind the dwelling house from north to south as far as two walnut trees each standing anear the ends of the dwelling house, the premises situated between the premises of Shelton Cullingford of Bungay and the great road leading from Bracon to Norwich". On 21st August 1805, the Whitings added an extra 3 rods of 'waste land' to the south and north of the house for a rent of 6d a year, and in March 1807 they added a further 6 rods lying in front of the house for an additional 6d a year rent.

When Richard Whiting died, his widow Elizabeth married William Ollett (Carpenter) of Mulbarton. On 18th April 1814, William and Elizabeth Ollett took on the tenancy. Five years later, William Ollett told the Manor Court held on 30th June 1819 that he had bought Thomas Dunt's shed for £20, and was given a licence to let the shed remain for a rent of 6d a year. On 4th June 1821, William Ollett asked the Court if he could dig a sawpit on the south side of his dwelling house, erect a shed over the pit, and also enclose a parcel of land about 7 yards by 15 yards containing the shed and sawpit. He was allowed to do this - at an annual rent of 2/6d.

Elizabeth Ollett died on 6th February 1828, and her husband William lived until 12th May 1851. They had three children: Henry, William and Mary Ann (who later married Benjamin Spaul). Under his mother's will, Henry had the option to take on the copyhold tenancy of the house at his father's death, but he did not choose to.

The next certain date is 4th February when Michael Turner of Ipswich (described as sole surviving trustee) took on the tenancy of the "double dwelling house with yards, gardens and land about one rood (more or less)". He died in July 1865, and his son, Rev. Michael Turner of Corton near Stowmarket, took over the dwelling house and two parcels of "waste lands" of 3 rods and 6 rods respectively. Whether the property was rented out throughout the Turner's tenancy is uncertain, but by 1873 it was occupied by Alfred Banham (Plumber and Glazier) who is listed in the 1869 Post Office Directory (along with Joshua Banham, Carpenter).

On Tuesday 2nd September 1873: "Desirable Small Estates situate next to the Beautiful Common of Mulbarton... will be offered for Auction by Messrs. Spelman at the World's End Inn, Mulbarton at three for four o'clock in the afternoon, in Four Lots".

LOT 1. A neat Brick and Tile Dwelling-house, well fitted up, containing two front Sitting-rooms, five Bed-rooms, Plumber's Shop, small Garden, a Back Yard, Stable, Cart Shed, &c., occupied by Mr. Alfred Banham at a rental of £11. 10s. 0d per annum

Lot II. A substantial Brick-built Double Cottage with gardens thereto....in the occupation of Henry Nicholds and Elijah Palmer, at rentals amounting to £10 per annum.

Lot III. A Brick and Slate Cottage, Stable, Cart Shed, Garden, and well-planted Orchard... and a Carpenter's Shop, Storeroom, covered Saw-pit, and Yard, all in the occupation of Mr. Joshua Banham at a rental of £18 per annum.

Lot IV. A Brick and Tile Cottage and Garden....in the occupation of William Mallett and William Thompson, at rentals of £7. 4s. 0d per annum; and also a capital Brick and Tile Cottage and Shop, lately used as a Tailor's Shop, with well-planted Garden, Pump, and Shed....in the occupation of William Williams and William Beckett, at rentals amounting to £11 per annum.

The purchasers of lots 1, 2, and 3, are to have the right to draw and take water from the Pump and Well on lot 4, they paying a proportional part of the expense, according to the rental, of keeping the pump and well and 'the pump-trees and going gears of the pump' in repair.

All the above is Copyhold of the Manor of Mulbarton.... All....are entitled to Rights over the valuable Common adjoining.

The Auction documents show that Alfred Banham, former tenant, purchased Lot 1 for £160 - paying a deposit to the Auctioneers of £16, the rest to be paid by 11th October. This is the house now known as 'Carpenters'.

(Above) One of the cottages West of the Common, behind Carpenters: Outside the door are Elizabeth Martin and Gordon Fields (standing) with Hilda Martin (left) and Florence Girling. Probably late 1930s.

Lots II and IV come up for auction again on 26th September 1891 at the Norfolk Hotel, Norwich, when they were part of the estate of the late James Banham, who had been an Innkeeper of St. Stephens, Norwich. At the 1891 auction, Lot I is Two Brick-built cottages with gardens occupied by Henry Nichols (i.e. Lot II in 1873, note slight change of spelling of occupier's name) and Henry Atkins. Lot II is a brick-and-tile double Cottage and Garden occupied by Loveday and Howes, (Lot IV in 1873, with pump and well) and two brick-and-tiled cottages with well-planted gardens occupied by Lake and Randell.

Note Lot III from 1873 does not appear in the 1891 auction - it was bought by Alfred Banham and some of the garden, yard and outbuildings added to his own property - thus enlarging the property now called 'Carpenters'. The house itself is the cottage behind Carpenters, now called 'The Nook'. In the 1904 Kelly's Directory, Alfred Banham is listed as 'Builder'.

Alfred Banham sold the freehold to Henry Lake in April 1910. Henry Lake is listed as 'Carpenter' in the 1922 Kelly's Directory, and is also remembered in Mulbarton as the coffin-maker. He is often mentioned in the school log book for mending the stove, gutters, downpipes, leaks in the roof as well as assorted carpentry jobs!

The property was sold by Henry Lake's descendants in 1964. Since 1989 it has been extensively renovated.

(Above) Hilda and Stella Martin by the wall of their clay-lump cottage with brick outhouse, west of the Common, behind 'Carpenters'. Hilda, sitting on the motor cycle, went into service in London; Stella worked for Mrs Rowbottom, Headmistress of Mulbarton School. Late 1930s

Some of the dwellings listed in the auctions of 1873 and 1891 still exist, but some have been replaced by modern bungalows. Remains of the pump and well have been found in the garden of 'Meran'. Other cottages that were not in this auction have been renovated (such as the old Dairy Farmhouse) or modernised so that their former state is almost unrecognisable (as the Dairy Farm cob barn). And a small piece of modern infill has added to the mixture.