Once belonging to the Duke of Manchester’s estate, our little cottage remains a mystery to the residents of Kimbolton. Far too small to have been built as any kind of family home, it was once a one-up one-down cottage, standing alone next to the church. Far earlier than the neighbouring houses, it would have been even more incongruous than it is now, shadowed by the generously proportioned church. We’ve mused on the idea of a church warden’s cottage, a place to watch for looters and ne’er-do-wells.
In our title deeds it states that we have permission to graze and drive our livestock in the church yard, so it seems as though this property must have served a function for the church itself. This is an entitlement we are yet to claim…
In the early 20th century, the cottage became part of the much larger Carnaby House next door, home to a tailor, Mr Fockett. Mr Fockett was known to use the cottage as his main sewing room, sitting cross-legged on a table overlooking the church, making use of the lovely afternoon daylight that streams through. From this time, the property seems inextricably linked to the larger house, and served as its dowager house for a time also.
Other theories as to its intended function extend even as far as a mortuary of sorts, the cottage stacked to the rafters with coffins awaiting entombment. Perhaps this is the product of my Gothic imagination.
More likely, this little house was probably a toll house, just off the main track towards the old market square.