16th century Fittleworth cottage takes shape

JPCT 241013 S13420733x Fittleworth house restoration -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT 241013 S13420733x Fittleworth house restoration -photo by Steve Cobb

The previous owner of Fulling Mill Cottage may not have expected the 16th century house to see another day as it slowly fell into disrepair.

But a dedicated team has been hard at work over the last year to bring the Fittleworth home in School Lane back to life.

Now featuring a thatched roof and a traditional swept valley, the cottage’s veneer has lost its scaffolding and tarpaulin, and now resembles its former self.

Left to the Cat Welfare 
Sussex by the previous owner, Fred Saigeman, the home had been in his family for three generations and once functioned as a holiday home in the early 1900s.

“What struck me is just how careful you have to be with everything,” said Julie Grant, Trustee of Cat Welfare Sussex.

“When people who don’t know what they’re doing buy an old building, so much can be destroyed if you haven’t got the experts behind you to give you that advice.

“Everything has been meticulously detailed, looked into and researched.”

Julie described their experience as like being in a ‘Harry Potter mystery’.

“We find little things as we go along,” said Julie.

A rusty paraffin light was unearthed and has found pride of place on the wall. A small glass bottle believed to be Edwardian was uncovered, and a tiny Cromwellian coin was found lodged in a mortise joint of the windowsill, dated 1662.

Roland Locke of RoundHouse Building and Conservation pointed out the newly thatched roof and swept valley that forms a tiled slope.

“We’ve repaired the structure that supports the thatched roof, and then professionals came in to create it using water reed.”

Site manager Tommy Grant said the swept valley was implemented so a family could source their rain water.

To follow the team’s fascinating restoration visit www.catwelfaresussex.com