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Heather Cottage

Heather Cottage

Heather Cottage 1920's

Heather Cottage was built around 1600, and is a thatched, timber framed cottage. The original property was probably just 2 rooms, one up and one down. The bedroom still has a wattle and daub wall made of dung and straw, and there is a doorway which is only 150cm high (less than 5 feet).

It would appear to have been extended during the 17th century, hence the irregular front timbers. There is a small window looking down Church Street and it is rumoured that it was used as a look-out to warn visitors if there was a press-gang coming up from the river. The well is still inside the property and was still in use in 1964.

The property was covered in rendering at some time, but the beams have now been exposed.

The following information is courtesy of Ron & Angie Obbard who, when they bought Heather Cottage in 2015, inherited a box file of old photographs, newspaper cuttings & reminiscences by Margaret Pearce (nee Bassett), granddaughter of Edith Bassett who lived at Heather Cottage from 1932 till 1962. They were communicated to Mr & Mrs Warner who bought the cottage in 1991. The box file has since been handed down to the subsequent owners as part of the fabric!

Record of occupants

Pre 1932, the North family

1932 – 1962, Edith (1879 – 1984) & Jack Bassett (who died in 1941) & their son John who fought in WW2 in Singapore where he was captured by the Japanese and as a prisoner of war later worked on the Burma railway. This experience left him with poor health for the rest of his life.

1976 - 1991 Mr & Mrs A Nicolson

1991 - 2005 Mr & Mrs Warner

2005 - 2010 Edward & Sophie Hill

The Warners had the whole cottage treated for woodworm when they moved in, describing it as very pungent & effective in also killing off the spider population there. Evidently Margaret recalled a nightly ritual of spider hunting! She also remembers that Edith always had lots of small children visiting her,  even when she moved to sheltered accommodation. Her door was seldom locked when she was at home, visitors just knocked & went straight in. She was widely known in the village as Granny Bassett. She took an active part in community events, running the jumble stall at the Village Fete when it was still held at Micheldever House, courtesy of Mr Brandt at that time. She was also caretaker at the Village Hall until she was 83. There she was very proud of the way her floors shone & always left things looking neat and tidy. She used grated candle wax to rub into the planked floor of the hall and rubbed it in until it shone! She did this to help the dancers who used the Hall regularly.

In 1962 she moved to 8, Meadow View as its first occupant and specifically asked for that plot. There she appreciated having electricity instead of paraffin, and indoor plumbing in place of a basic sink & bucket.

Edith Bassett celebrated her 100th birthday on 9th June 1979 & there is a wooden bench at Meadow View to commemorate this fact.

She died at the age of 104 in 1984. Later in life she found it difficult to see because of cataracts & was increasingly immobile from rheumatism. Her knuckles were gnarled, her walk was slow & painful. But she still kept up to date with the news & loved to discuss world affairs with her countless visitors over a glass of sherry or a cup of tea.

Click here to read about Life in Micheldever in the 1940s through the eyes of a child, namely Margaret Bassett of the School House, now Flint Cottage.

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