Two pairs of picturesque thatched cottages stood at what is now the front of the current Rectory. They were rented out by the churchwardens to provide income for the church - they produced £5. 16shillings a year in 1843 rising to £8 by 1879/80 (£2 per cottage). In 1876, the occupiers were Coan Rush, Maria Dawson, Robert Slight and Andrew Spratt, and each had a rateable value of £1. 2s. 6d. The rates were paid by the owners, with a 25% reduction (entries 99-102 of Poor Rate Book, Aug. 1876 - see Link page). But the cottages had to be maintained at church expense - they were re-thatched with straw in 1863-4 by Mr. Kirby for just over £9, and re-thatched by him again in 1883-4 for over £11.
(born 1920) was brought up in one of the cottages by his grandparents, Mr.
& Mrs. Hemnall (below), after his mother died of pneumonia when he was 6 months
old. He remembers:
'There were two rooms down and two rooms up. The ceilings were very low and large beams went through from one cottage to another. One of the neighbours had a bread oven built into the wall. We had an oven in the brickwork in which my grandmother baked bread - and would sometimes throw on a small cocoa tin full of paraffin, with dire consequences! I'd be sent along to fetch my uncle who lived in a cottage by the pond to get him to come and push the oven back into place and repair the brickwork....!'
Other residents included Mrs. Kedge, who held the church key; and the Blackburn family (below). Oliver ('Crom') Blackburn drove the van for the butchers and later the fire engine.
In 1933, the
RDC wrote to the church concerning the cottages, on headed notepaper,
Henstead Rural District Council
6, Tombland, Norwich
N. Jones (Clerk to Henstead Rural District Council)
To: Revd. C.B.P.Ramsay, Mulbarton Rectory
19th July, 1933
HOUSING ACT, 1930
I am directed by my Council to enclose notices of their intention to consider the question of the demolition of four cottages near the Church at Mulbarton. The Council have no desire to destroy every cottage in the District which happens to be unfit for habitation at present and they are willing to consider the question of a grant towards the cost of reconditioning these cottages if the proposals for the works are likely to result in the provision of reasonable and decent habitation and I am to enclose for your information particulars of the terms and conditions under which such a grant may be made. I am to ask you to be good enough to consider whether or not action on these lines is desirable.
A few years
later the residents were rehoused in newly-built council houses and bungalows
in Cuckoofield Lane and Birchfield Lane. But the cottages remained standing,
and during World War 2 people from Norwich were rehoused there, at least until
1948. Among them was Miss Utting, a music teacher:
'I remember the
Bunwell Swingers as Flo Utting who played in this band also taught the piano.
She lived in a cottage next to the Church which was thatched... and I had piano
lessons with Flo. They did not have electricity at that time, so when it got
dark Flo would light the hurricane-lamps at either side of the piano to enable
pupils to see for the lesson.'
(Written by Brenda Ford (nee Collins) for the Radio Norfolk Lunchtime Show, June 1988)
cottages became uninhabitable they were taken over as a builder's store by local builder, Mr.
Mickleburgh. They were demolished around 1958, and the land on which they were
built is now the entrance to the new Rectory.
to Rev. Jess Stubenbord, Laurence Bailey, Peter Mickleburgh, J S Hardman,
Brenda Ford, O M & Peter Riches, Evelyn Smith)