This afternoon I went out for a stroll in the balmy 16 degree, Spring sunshine. This was in part a necessity as on my regular 5 mile run last night, I managed to pull a calf muscle at 3.8 miles and ended up hobbling the rest of the way home. Alas, no running for me for at least a week, which is a bummer because I'm off for a relaxing birthday Spa weekend on Saturday and we are due to do a bootcamp, country walk, yoga and leg/bums/tums workout whilst there (I know... there's a definite contradication in that sentence).
So with a leg as stiff as concrete, I pigeon stepped along to the end of my road 'till I reached the junction to one of the oldest roads in my town, if not the whole county and possibly even the country - Bradford Street. I know the road dates back to the 14th century when pilgrims trod their sullied way along it en-route from London to Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk and it has even been reported that it was in existence right back to the 1100's when King John reigned in England. He's the guy responsible for the creation of the Magna Carta.
Suffice to say that there is lots of history in this street and having lived here for a few years now, I'm slightly embarassed to say that this is the first time I've been intrigued enough to find out some comprehensive facts and stories behind the place I currently call home.
Tudor House is the first medieval property you see in this part of Bradford Street. Built around 1520, it's a fine example of Tudor architecture, the oak beams and wattle and daub structure looks so fragile but with some loving care from the local preservation society, it will be strong enough to stand at least another 600 years.
Looking up at the building sideways on, the first floor has a larger footprint than the ground floor, it jutts out around half a metre and is supported with large oak beams. Nevertheless, you get the impression that in a stiff breeze the building may topple over at any moment. Stand underneath it and you wonder just how the rickety sections of horizontal hardwood manage to stay sound and in place. Research suggests that originally the ground floor windows were glazed but the top floor were fitted only with shutters. Brrrrrrr.
Tudor House was a single house, built for a local clothier (Bocking was part of a huge trade in woollen cloth). In the 1960's it was recorded as being almost derelict but thankfully, it was recognised as being an important part of local heritage and a campaign was set up to save it by upstanding people of the area and a local member of Parliament. They were successful in their campaign and raised enough money to purchase and restore it (total cost - £2,624). Most of Tudor House's original features still exist, although you can see from the photos that the end gable chimney no longer exists and entrance ways have been repurposed.
Upon renovation completion, the house became a museum housing a private collection of local artefacts. In the 90's the house became too small to house them all so the treasures were moved and can now be seen at Braintree District Museum.
Today, Tudor House has become 3 residential cottages. I wonder how many nooks and crannies there are to be found inside? Are the floors listing to one side and how much light really gets in through the tiny upstairs leaded windows? And have the interiors been lovingly and respectfully decorated? Perhaps I'll knock one day and ask to look around.