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Miller's Row - Henstead Road

This distinctive terrace of eight brick cottages in Henstead Road with its low central archway is well known and significant to the history of the village. The arch, which carries a datestone above, showing RM 1823, leads to a draw-well once said to provide the best drinking water in Hethersett. Robert Miller, landlord of the Queen's Head, was the builder.

Miller's Row must have been one of the first developments on land which for centuries before its enclosure in 1800 had been part of Hethersett's common, known as Lynch Green. Before taking its present name it was called Ranters Row. Primitive Methodism was established in 1810 and their preachers were called ranters. It could have been that sometime after the 1689 Toleration Act, dissenters gathered on this part of the green to worship. A clay lump building which stood in the grounds of The Elms, a few metres north of Miller's Row, was thought to have been used by early Methodists.

The two-up and two-down cottages originally built in two blocks of four have kept most of their early charm at the front. Neat red brick walls with pantiled roofs and small casement windows have a sawtooth cornice running the whole length. Some have been extended at the back and most now have porches.

The Millers have owned and occupied cottages here from when they were first built. They ran a family harness making business from the lean-to workshop at the end of the row. White's 1883 Directory shows James Leonard Miller, Harness Maker, and Kelly's in 1908 repeats James Leonard and shows his son with the same name practising the trade. William Robert was on the bill heading by 1910.

According to the 1910 valuation survey the Millers had with their property, pig sties, a stable, two sheds, a privy as well as a small garden. They kept hay in the room above the arch.

Edward Beeby, schoolmaster of the British School opposite, and secretary of the Hethersett branch of the Cooperative Society in1896, ran a small general shop from this room. Access was by wooden steps at the rear. A letter of Beeby, then retired, in 1920 to Thomas Anson Buckingham who had emigrated from Hethersett to New Zealand in 1882, states that "Dick Miller, the old harness maker is dead, also his son William, who took his father's business, only Harry left. Hickling still carries on his harness business on the turnpike."

Herbert William, son of Robert, was born in 1913, but did not follow in the family business as the use of horses was now in decline. He died in 1979. His widow Patricia, the last of the Millers of Miller's Row moved away from the village in 1999.