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Perry's Acre

Perry's Acre

Perry's Acre 1950

The cottage was believed to be built in about 1520. Nottingham University has dated some of the beams to 1470, when it was most likely a cattle shed or hay barn. When converted to a house it was built in 4 bays, one of which was a smoke bay for curing meat. The smoke filtered through the rafters and the thatch. A gallery was built to enable to pass from one side of this bay to the other at first floor level, without passing through the smoke. On the underside of the gallery soot marked timbers can still be seen.

When it was turned into living accommodation, it was probably for a farm manager or locally prominent person, as the beams are thicker and ceilings higher than other cottages, a prestigious thing in those days. The house was owned by the Perry family and Thomas Perry was churchwarden and is named on two of the bells in the church with the date 1703. In the 19th century there was a pond at the rear of the house, and the end nearest the pond was used as the village bakery and smithy, while the other end was the village shop.

From 1848, when the current owner’s records begin, the house was owned by the family of the various Earls of Northbrook as part of the Stratton Estate, including the Right Honourable Francis George Earl of Northbrook. During this time the shop, contained at the side of the house, was run by Richard and Elizabeth Collis from about 1860 to 1888. According to the 1891 census, Elizabeth Collis was a widow at that time, living at ‘No 1 The Crease’. She died in 1892.

Perry's freehold as it was then known, was first sold to a Mr. Walter Parsons, a 6' 4" Australian in Sept 1920 in an auction for £775 (though the figure of £675 has also been quoted).. It was sold by the Estate trustees, possibly to help pay for death duties. It was Mr. Parsons who then called it "Central Stores", although it was already an existing grocery business. He sold it 5 years later for £325, a significant loss, and returned to Australia.

His daughter, Jean, was still alive in 2005 and was 4 years old when they moved from Australia to Micheldever. She went to the village school and has fond memories of her life here and at boarding school in Basingstoke. She was last heard of in 2005, living in Melbourne.

Amongst other things she remembers the toilet being an outhouse with a bench containing a "hole for adults and a smaller hole for the children, a bathing/washing in a tub in front of the upstairs fire and the thatch also catching fire one Guy Fawkes night".

In the early part of the 20th century it was a bakery and a bread oven and very large dough trough remain. It only became Perry's Acre in 1969 when the shop closed and it became a private residence.

The walls alongside Duke Street are made of brick and flint, and the location of the entrance to the shop at the side can still be seen in the wall, along with a ring for tying up horses.

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