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Waterside Cottage

Waterside Cottage

Waterside Cottage 1946

Our grateful thanks to Bill & Christine Finch for sharing this information.


These notes, written by Edward Roberts and dated 11/7/1992, are based on a brief visit and are thus only provisional. Further examination, especially of the roof-space, might provide new evidence which would overturn some of these suggestions. The drawings and description relate to the older part of the house, not the lower part at right angles to the original house.  It is not certain when that part was added, but a historian who visited thought the lower part might have been added as a barn to house cattle.

Waterside seems to have been built sometime around the middle of the 16th century as a small 3 bay farmhouse. On the ground floor the probable arrangement was:

the parlour in Bay A

the open hall in bay B-C where the rafters are still soot blackened (some of the soot may have escaped through a louver)

service rooms, i.e., pantry & buttery in C-D

It was common to have the largest first floor room (or solar) above the service room and this was often graced with some decorative timber work, like the little arch-braced collar in C-D. Shillingbury on the Crease in Micheldever, although a larger house with better timber and carpentry, has a similar decorative truss in the solar over the service rooms. At Waterside it seems as if some smoke spilled over the collar from the hall and blackened the upper part of the solar roof – although it is not always easy to distinguish this from later staining.

Precise dating is difficult, but hall houses were going out of fashion in the mid to late 16th century and certain features, like the principal rafters diminishing in width above the purlins and the fairly small panel framing, would suggest a late hall house.

Bay D-E seems to be an early 17th century extension. A diagonal roof timber in the solar and a break in the purlin & wall plate (visible on the South side) indicate the end of the original house. Moreover, the fact that the wall at D is not 'faced up' to the solar (as it should be in the best room), but towards E, suggests that it had to be faced up to the weather side.

The insertion of the fine central chimney (which, with its narrow bricks, could well be early 17th century) allowed the open hall to be floored over within a hundred years of the construction of the house. This must have been associated with the insertion of a new spine beam which rests on the chimney breast and extends into bay D-E (thus suggesting that the chimney and bay D-E are coeval). The insertion of the chimney converted the old service room (C-D) into a heated parlour, and, by the same token, the old parlour A-B became unheated. Stave holes for a wattle partition can be seen on the underside of the spine beam in this room, suggesting that the old parlour was divided into two small service rooms. Thus, the function and status of the ground floor rooms were completely reversed by the new chimney. (This is quite common). The strangely offset chamfers on the spine beams in A-B and C-D show either that they are re-used from another site or that they reflect an unexplained house plan.

The original entry to the house would probably have been as shown on the drawing, but the insertion of the stack created a lobby-entry (very fashionable in the early 18th century) which still exists. Other doors were made when the unitary house was extended and converted to cottages, probably in the 18th or 19th centuries.

Interestingly there is some exposed wattle in one of the bedrooms.   In 2018 building works took place to remove a 1930s single storey timber extension and to replace it with an enlarged oak timber and glass extension.  At the same time a double garage was built with a bedroom and shower room on the first floor.

Former occupants

In the 1939 Register, Waterside Cottages consists of numbers 45 - 48. At 46 & 48, plus watercress beds, lives Alfred James Hillary, born 1866. His son Herbert Lloyd, born 1896, lives at 45. (see 1901 Census, sch 184, then living at 48 Northbrook). In 1901 Alfred's occupation was an Agricultural Engine Driver. For more information on the Hillary family in Local Characters CLICK HERE.

In the 1911 Census Waterside is listed as River Cottage with the following occupants:

William Henry Hillary b 1879 bought 104-105 Duke Street (Fardels) in 1922, born Wonston

Agricultural Engineer

Florence Mary b 1881, born Sutton Scotney, married 7 years, 4 children, 3 living

Arthur Wilfred b 1905, born Micheldever

Frederick John b 1907, born Micheldever

Charles George b 1910, born Micheldever

In 1901, William Hillary was still living with his parents at 69 Church Street and was employed as a Traction Engine Driver. His father, William Frederick, born in 1857, was a Traction Engine Owner.

It is difficult to say in this census which dwelling Waterside was.

The Finches bought Waterside in 1976 from Eagle Star who had owned it for several years and leased it to various families. The GP branch surgery was in the old part of the house. They were tenants and had 3 surgeries a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Drs. Padgham, Firebrace and Lee each came once a week, until Peter Lee, opened a surgery in the Manor House in 1978.   The spare accommodation was then let until Ann and Stewart Lambert bought the newer part in 2003.

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