The date of construction of the original granary is not known, but it probably dates from the 18th century. Almost all of the timbers in the house (and the adjacent watermill) are elm, which is thought to have come from woods on the outskirts of the estate. To date, elm has generally been considered to be unsuitable for dendrochronology (tree-ring dating) and so far it has not been possible to obtain an accurate date for the age of the timbers in either building.
The mill was awarded Grade II listed status in January 1983. The house was also listed at the same time, due to the group value of the buildings.
Although there was a manor house close to the mill in the late 13th, 14th and early 15th centuries, this was located in the moated field to the west of the drive, not on the site of the present house.
The ownership of the land from the 11th to the 16th centuries is given on our page on the early history of the manor.
St. Thomas’s Hospital, 1553-1948
St Thomas’s Hospital in London owned the mill, buildings and land for almost four centuries. During this time the property was leased, providing St Thomas’s with an annual income. For more information, see our page on some of the surveys that were carried out by the hospital. The mill granary, which was subsequently converted to the house, was built during this period.
Miss Maude Agnes Bowen, 1948-1969
Miss Bowen purchased the property from St. Thomas’s Hospital, converting the granary into a house. Miss Bowen was responsible for converting the mill granary to a house (see details below). She owned the property until her death on 5th July 1969.
Anne Patricia Abbs, 1970-1976
Ms Abbs (or Ms Mahoney, as she became known) owned the property from 1970 to 1976.
J H and J R Humphrey, 1976-1983
Dr and Mrs Humphrey purchased the property from Ms A P Mahoney. The Humphreys were from London and used the property primarily as a holiday house.
Andrew and Valerie Emerson, 1983-2002
Andrew and Valerie Emerson purchased the house from the Humphreys in 1983. They carried out extensive alterations to the house in the 1980s (see below).
Ralph and Kathryn Betts, 2002-
Ralph and Kathryn Betts are the current owners, having purchased the property in August 2002.
From Granary to House
In 1948, Miss Maud Bowen bought the mill, along with 16 acres of land. Initially, she intended to convert the mill into a house. However, this was not considered practical and so Miss Bowen submitted plans (see photographs below) to convert the granary instead. As the granary already had two floors, the conversion was comparatively straightforward.
As can be seen from the plans below, internal walls were built on both floors to give three bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs and a drawing room, dining room and kitchen downstairs. As many of the original elm beams as possible were restored and are still visible (in 2021) throughout the original part of the house. A small porch was added and as the house faces north, double doors were inserted, opening into the dining room. Large red brick fireplaces were built in the lounge and the dining room. All of the internal doors were oak and these are still used throughout the house today (2021).
The house was originally 22 feet x 45 feet and had a plastered exterior and a reed thatched roof.
Alterations and Extensions in the 1980s
The house was transformed in the 1980s by Andrew and Valerie Emerson. The thatch was removed and the house was extended to the north, south and east, creating an additional three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a utility room. Andrew and Valerie also renovated the mill and replaced the outbuildings to the west. See the photographs below for more details.
The History of the House in Pictures
The history of the house can perhaps be better understood by viewing the photographs below.