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Beech Cottage - Queen's Road

Originally overlooking the south-east corner of the green, Beech Cottage now stands at the junction of Cann's Lane and Queen's Road. It was a copyhold property with five acres and a barn mostly belonging to the Hethersett Cromwells with about half an acre belonging to Woodhall. Built in the sixteenth century as a thatched timber-framed open hall house it had a floor and axial stack inserted in the seventeenth century. Sometime during that century the timber walls were replaced by brickwork which is now colourwashed.

The side walls incline inwards. There are three later dormers, two raking and one gabled. The north wall has a two-light attic casement with three lights below. A bricked-up doorway and adjacent brickwork of different builds on the east wall suggests possible earlier uses. Forward builds with raking roofs at front and rear are modern.

Inside, in the centre room, there is a large inglenook with evidence of a bread oven. Quarter moulding on the bressumer matches the bridging beam. Many exposed heavy timbers in the attic include rafters, butt purlins, collars, braces and gable wall tie beams. All are traditionally pegged together. A 12m well is at the rear. The barn was demolished c. 1970 and most of the land has now been developed.

When the house was built, most of the five acres was, or was shortly to become, a brickfield where clay was dug for making and firing bricks. The base of a kiln, found in the north east corner of the garden, is the likely source of bricks now encasing the house. It is surely no coincidence that Manor House, the neighbouring property, is probably the earliest local house to be built entirely of bricks.

Although not previously associated with the Hethersett laundry, the owner of Beech Cottage believes that this is possible. Building alterations to the rear and the adjacent deep well could give weight to this view. An abstract of title goes back to the mid eighteenth century starting with a back referral to Berney which is the correct period for John Berney, rector of Hethersett. In 1801, at Enclosure, 32 perches of Lynch Green were allocated to Timothy Bunn from Cromwells and 12 perches from Woodhall Manor. George Langford purchased the property in 1836 for 1800 and in 1845 he enfranchised the house and land for 75 paid proportionally to the lords of the two manors. It thus became freehold.

In 1932 the property was inherited by Edith Buckingham, wife of Frederick Herbert Buckingham. Frederick took over and expanded his father's plumbing and well-sinking business. His skill as a water diviner was well known in the area. Although the Buckinghams lived and had their office and store in the Victorian house called Shrublands, which still stands in Lynch Green. They used the barn and land at Beech Cottage as a workshop and yard for the business which was in operation until after the Second World War.