Zeal Monachorum Online

monks croft

The Cottage

It was built in 1482 and was orginally called Monks Tenement. Reputedly the oldest cottage in Zeal Monachorum, it was built by the monks of the Parish. Early occupants lived in one side of the property and livestock in the other. Upper rooms were used for sleeping, alongside the storage of hay, and of apples for making cider. The cottage retains many old features. The large oak fireplace with bread oven is in the sitting-room. In its door can be seen a monk's prayer lock; this let the monks pray undisturbed. Hanging brackets for the storm lamp are in the hall ceiling. The garden has the remains of a stable block.

The Garden

A picturesque cottage garden at the rear was the brainchild and hard work of the last occupants, Mrs. Barbara Gilbert and her husband John. They bought it as a field. It's well laid out and has one of the few Indian rain trees in the area as well as some good specimen shrubs. There is a hidden well. The garden was once twice the size and contained an apple orchard. This was sold, along with half the land, to the village cum post office and shop next door. The area of approximately acre was bought for 15 guineas in 1953. This was in old money.

Past Stories

One famous story tells of a gentleman who left a letter bequesting a grain-sack of gold sovereigns to his friend. The sovereigns were in a hollow tree between the cottage and Waie Farm, he wrote. The friend had often seen him counting them. Searching failed to locate the treasure. To this day the coins have never been found. Among many past occupants was a Mr. Dalespey, who was HRH Queen Elizabeth the late Queen Mother's piper. Many people have asked if we have a ghost: well that's for us to know and others to find out. We can tell you it's the warmest and cosiest cottage, both in summer and winter, that anyone could live in. By the way, it's not for sale.

Cob and Thatch

Dwellings that use these traditional building materials are described by building societies as of non-standard construction. Cob is made with earth, water, sand and straw; thatch of available vegetation. They were used for many millenia before the invention of breeze blocks. Along with caves, they are our oldest habitations. If you were to find an ancient cave deep below your garden, made by the action of nature over millions of years, it would definitely be termed of non-standard construction.

Monks Croft
Monks Croft garden
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