Heritage 13 Henstead Cottage & Hillview

No 13         Henstead Cottage and Hillview

These semi detached cottages are distinguished by the off-centre chimney stack indicating that the building was once a single farmhouse dating from the 18th century.

It is thought that William Fellowes erected the cottage at his own expenses for the benefit of the poor of Shotesham.  It seems possible that the house was adapted to become a ‘House of Industry’.  The house was initially called the ‘house of the poor’, but was renamed ‘Town House’.  The town being the parishes of Shotesham: St Mary’s, St Martin, St Botolph and All Saints.

From a parish record we gather that the furniture for the house and the necessary linen was purchased and delivered for the sum of £83.2s.7d.  This expense was borne equally by the parishes.  The house accommodated between 20 and 30 people; men, women and children.  If required, new arrivals were given a new set of clothes and great attention was paid to cleanliness.

The general supervision of the house was undertaken by the matron and later a Governor and his wife.  The matron was instructed to keep all windows shut at night, to see that no one was idle, that meals were properly served and began with grace, said by her, residing at the top of the table.  The rules of the house are detailed separately.

By 1837 the numbers had dwindled to less than a dozen and the house was closed.  THe cost per head per week was 3/6d compared to 1/6d when first opened.

Some years ago the house was scheduled for demolition as unfit for human occupation, but luckily the owner in 1976 had more vision than the local council and was allowed to purchase and restore the property.

At the other end of the village is a similar house, once used as a girl’s orphanage.

 Rules and Orders.

1       The poor people at first going into the house are to be new clothed if necessary and kept always exceedingly clean and to submit to the orders and directions of the Matron.

2       All the business of the family as washing, brewing, bathing, cleaning, nursing and whatever else shall be thought needful in the family is to be done by them without any pay under the direction and with the assistance of the Matron.

3       Such as are not engaged in the family business are to be employed in spinning or doing such other work as the Matron shall direct, and they are to be called up to work at 6 o’clock in the morning and to go to bed at 8 in the evening from Michsalmas to Lady Day, and to be called up at 5 o’clock in the morning and go to bed at 9 in the evening from Lady Day to Michsalmas day, and to leave work at 6 in the evening, if they have done their proper quantity and as such as are able may be let out to work by the Matron with the consent of the two visitors for the month being accountable to them for what they earn.

4       Each man, woman and child to have two pence in the shilling out of what they earn and the same allowance to be made to those employed in family business.

5       All the family, except such as are too infirm, shall sit down to three regular meals each day at fixed times and the diet for each day shall be nearly as follows and shall be given out by the Matron.  For breakfast and supper bread cheese, milk or broth.  The men and women to allowed one pint of beer and the children half a pint with every meal, except when they eat spoon meat.  For dinner on Christmas day Roast beef and plum pudding, at other times- Sundays- boiled beef and suet pudding- Mondays-bread and cheese, milk or broth, this being washing day- Tuesday- boiled beef and suet dumpling- Wednesday- pea  soup or broth- Thursday- boiled meat and suet dumplings- Friday- plum or rice puddings.  Saturday- milk broth or frumety this being the day for cleaning the house.

6       Such as are able shall go to church on Sundays and have the liberty of going to see their friends provide they return to the house at the time fixed by the Matron.

7       No one to lodge out of the house on any account  to go out but on a Sunday without the express leave of the two visitors for the month, except to see a sick parent or for some other very substantial reason to be allowed by the Matron.

8       If any person has any complaints to make they may make them on a Monday to the two visitors, when they will duly attend to, but no quarreling or disorderly behaviour will be permitted in the house.

9       Whoever refuses to comply with the rules of the house or to work when they are able, as the Matron or visitors will direct , shall have no dinner nor be permitted to go out that day and whoever lodges out of the house without leave shall not be admitted again without the consent of the majority of the parishoners present on a Monday and all such persons as behave themselves disorderly shall be taken before a justice of the peace to be dealt with according to the law.

10     The weekly meeting to be held on Monday shall manage and provide for the house according to the above rules, in which no alteration shall be made but by the consent of the majority at a parish meeting of which notice will be given on a Sunday before nor shall any allowance to paupers be made out of the house but by consent as aforesaid, except in cases of urgent neccessity and then by one of the two acting visitors for the month and by them only till the Monday.

11     The visitors for the month shall  meet at the house every Monday of the month exactly at 10 o’clock in the forenoon to examine and settle the accounts and give all needfull directions and in case either of the two visitors for the month shall be prevented from attending by illness or very necessary business, such visitor must get some other visitor to attend for him.

12     Every girl above the age of 13 years and every boy above the age of 12 years to be considered a grown up person and be paid for as such but for all children under the above respective ages, only half to be paid.  The whole expenses of the house to be settled on the first Monday after new Quarter Day and divided equally between the parishes of Shotesham All Saints and Shotesham St Mary and St Martins according to the number of persons they shall respectively have had in the house during the quarter.  If the house shall not be large enough to contain all the poor of all the parishes of Shotesham, then the parishes of Shotesham All Saints and Shotesham St Mary and St Martins shall have an equal number of grown up persons and children in the house.