Great Dunmow, part 3,Old House

Old House in early 1970s

In 1960, we moved out of town to the north-east to a Tudor farmhouse, originally called Old Farm House, but now just Old House. The original building had been added to but the old core of the building had low beam ceilings that always a hazard to Dad, and became so to all of us as we grew taller. The garden was large and took a lot of Dad and Mum’s time to keep tidy. A thatched barn was all that remained above ground of the site’s agricultural heritage, but the footings of a much larger barn that had been destroyed by an incendiary bomb in the last war were evident close to the house (I think this barn may have been larger than the house).

Old House in the early 1970s
The barn
Our next door neighbour, Rosalind (Sally) Saloman continued to use her horse and buggy to go shopping into the 1960s
Combine harvesting in August 1960 – Old House in the background

One day in 1961, I arrived back from primary school to find that I had a new brother Bill, born in the house. It was a great place to grow up but as I mentioned in an earlier post, agricultural changes were making a mess of the surrounding countryside – I suspect this played a major part in my subsequent career choice.

Bill, Mum and Jo in summer 1963
Summer 1968, Jo looks less than happy. The jam-jar in my hand likely contains some specimen and I’m probably bird-watching!
mid 1970s

I visited Old House again yesterday at the kind invitation of Heather and Simon. There have been at least two owners since we left in 1978 and all seem to have struggled with the layout at the back of the house. Heather and Simon have also had to contend with the listing of the house as being of historical interest. This has meant that all changes need to be approved and must add considerable complexity to the upkeep of this fine old building. Their approach has been to strip back much of the oldest part of the structure to the Tudor beams and to replace some of the new additions with oak based structures much more in keeping with the original.

Old House, June 2019, a tidier house and a much simplified garden (with the addition of a monkey puzzle tree!) Note the water table has dropped such that there is no longer water in the pond.
Inside the old beams have been exposed
These beams were once painted/stained black – much better in natural colours.
Heather and Simon have done a great job (with a way to go yet) of looking after the Old House – and great to see the return of a black dog!
Old House from across the fields, June 2019

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