The story of a cottage

For almost thirty years, home was a stone and slate cottage in the East Midlands, where Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Rutland and Lincolnshire all meet. It is called Berry Cottage but we have no idea which former resident gave it that name. The cottage was built in 1732 by William Fell, a stonemason, in preparation for his marriage in 1733 to Mary Fletcher who lived in the next village, Bainton.

Many generations of people have owned the cottage before us and although we thought of it as ours it was impossible to escape an awareness of the fact that we were only holding it in trust until we passed it on to its next guardians - which we now have done. It's a great responsibility which is not lost on us. If we had spoiled it, a piece of English history would have been lost forever.

Owning an old cottage is a fascinating experience. Apart from the fact that there isn't a straight wall in the place, there is the sobering knowledge that it was built before such familiar names as Beethoven, Mozart, Napoleon and Nelson were even born, and William Fell was closer in time to the Plague than we are to World War One.

Find out how it’s built and who lived in it in this section.

© Brian Smith 2015