A Timber Boarded Cottage in London Road Hadleigh

Montisdene

Montisdene in 2016
Terry Barclay
Montisdene in 1908
Spencer Welsh
A reverse of the postcard
Peter Lewsey
The cottage in 2012 when recommended for local listing
Terry Barclay
London Road (The Causeway) Hadleigh

This cottage is one of the very few remaining timbered cottages left in Hadleigh. Remarkably, it doesn’t appear to have changed much, if at all, over the whole of the 20th century and fortunately, something is known of its history.

Spencer Welsh, of “Rayleigh Through the Looking Glass” writes: You will recognise the cottage ‘Montisdene’ as one of the last remaining old buildings (no. 73 London Road) opposite the Hadleigh Rec and Allotments, along what was once known as The Causeway.

The picture was taken more than a hundred years ago in 1908 and shows the family of my paternal grandparents, Thomas and Mary Ann Welsh with their three sons, Thomas (my father, born 1897), William and Louis”. All the boys were born in Southwark in London before the move to Hadleigh.

Louis, then 6, tragically later died during WW1, when run over by a dray when returning from a shift at a munitions factory, having been originally too young to enlist in the forces, but that is only one part of the Welsh family local history which may appear in other articles in due course.

Peter Lewsey’s copy of the reverse of this postcard is signed by “Monti Q”. Perhaps it was Monti who sold or rented the house to Spencer’s grandfather.

By 1911, the Welsh family had moved to Seaview Villas in Elm Road and “Montisden” was recorded as in the “High Road” and then occupied by the Stace family originally from Chelmsford, a couple of home laundry workers with 4 children at home.

The intrinsic heritage value of the cottage was recognised by the council as recently as 2013 when, after a recommendation from the Hadleigh & Thundersley Community Archive, it was added to the List of Local Buildings of Architectural or Historic Interest.

The council then described the cottage as “Rare example of timber clad possibly early 20th century dwelling in Hadleigh. Very publically visible on main road. Retention of many original timber features and visually attractive”. It is now listed with the description “Visually attractive timber clad cottage, in good condition, with original detailed architectural elements retained”.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to establish exactly when the cottage was built. The changes in the road name and the lack of any earlier appearance of the house name in census records makes it difficult to track the building back any further. However, if you know any different or can identify “Monti Q”, please add a comment.

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  • My mother Adelaide Cordelia “Peggy” Stace was born here 1922. The children climbed a step ladder to their beds. They left in about 1938 for Collier Row, Romford to join “Uncle Smiller” building the Nash houses in Carter Drive.

    By malcolm. stewart (17/05/2021)
  • My great grandfather and his family were the Staces who lived in Montisdene after the Welsh family. My grandfather had been a gentleman’s hairdresser in Chelmsford but obviously didn’t bring that business with him to Hadleigh. My grandmother was one of the youngest children and it’s mainly from her stories that I know of Montisdene. One of her brothers and his wife lived for a time in the shack next door which, having seen it in the 1960s, is hard to imagine. After her marriage, my grandmother lived in one of three terraced cottages, over the road at the start of Chapel Lane. It was called Sunnysides. Her mother-in-law lived in another and a deaf and dumb lady lived in the third.

    By Jenni Kelly (17/05/2021)
  • I remember speaking to my grandfather some years ago, (he passed away in 1984), his family lived in this cottage, there were seven children and their parents living in this cottage. this was in the 1920’s The parents were Lilian May and Walter Albert Stibbards , before moving to Shoeburyness.

    By Andy Plummer (12/09/2018)
  • I also remember the old shack next door,  the man there used to sell second hand furniture. I often wondered if he ever got the large round table, I went to King Johns school and the old man’s son went there too.

    By simon hooper (17/07/2017)
  • I forgot to say in my last comment: the old shack next door to the house was a blacksmiths I was told, all those years ago.

    By simon hooper (17/07/2017)
  • A couple of doors east of this cottage was a wooden shack with a sign outside “Wanted, large round table”. The sign was in white paint, scrawled on … a large round table-top. I remember it being there for what was probably most of the 1960’s, when a new house was built on the site. 

    By Johnny Essex (14/03/2017)

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