Sunday, 26 September 2021

Woman finds 176-year-old sugar receipt

A WOMAN who is restoring a 17th century house in Watlington has found a sugar and tea receipt dating back

A WOMAN who is restoring a 17th century house in Watlington has found a sugar and tea receipt dating back to 1837.

Sarah Folley, who bought the listed property in Brook Street at auction in December, uncovered some papers tucked behind the floorboards in the attic.

She said: “I was cleaning in the eaves to clear under some of the rubble and they were all crumpled up like they were stuffing a hole. They are all different and most of them are dated, which is great.”

Her finds include a poor rates notice, dated 1849, and other receipts for sand, limes and plums.

Mrs Folley bought the property, which was previously rented as two flats, in December and is turning it back into a three-bedroom property.

She is being helped by her partner Dave Kendrick, who is a builder, as well as K Build, which is based in Watlington, and Lime and Listed, of Benson.

She said: “I fancied a project as I’m at that stage in my life. The house stood out because of its age and its character, plus it’s rare to find a detached house on the market in Watlington. It was in reasonable condition but I was really keen to find out what was underneath. We have discovered lots of original features, which is really exciting. I want to make the most of all of them. There’s a lot of work to do but I’ll be doing some of it myself.”

The team has discovered plank and munton panelling and wattle and daub as well as original timber beams in the attic.

Mrs Folley said: “The timber looks really nice so that was a good surprise but you never know what you are going to find.”

Other unusual original features include a door handle dating back to the 1760s which a conservation officer told her was very rare.

Less welcome surprises have included the discovery that the timber frame holding the wall backing on to Brook Street is in such a poor condition that it will need to be rebuilt.

“It’s not going to be easy and we are waiting for the structural report from the surveyor,” said Mrs Folley. “Anything can be done at a price and that’s what I am worried about.” A brick and flint wall which was added to the house will be removed to reveal the original front wall and the rear of the property will be extended. Cement render has already been removed to allow the walls to “breathe”.

Mrs Folley has previously restored several properties, including a thatched cottage in Sydenham, near Thame, which also dated back to the 17th century.

She said: “It’s just kind of how my life has gone. I’ve done big extensions, such as doubling the size of our holiday home in Devon. I just enjoy it.”

Mrs Folley, who lives in Knowl Hill, plans to live in the house with her two teenage sons before selling it and moving on to a new project.

“I can’t wait to see it finished,” she said.

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