Doddington Historic Buildings

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No.7 The Old House

The Old HouseThis is a magnificent 15th Century house, featuring a fine example of a Crown Post. Due to its well - now permanently sealed beneath the kitchen floor - it was known as The Old Well House between the 1950's and 1970's. Richard Sellen was the village baker here, according to the 1841 census; the bakery was later taken over by Reuben Sellen. Reuben delivered to distant customers, using a pony and cart, placing the loaves in their outhouses or lavatories. He was said to have possessed a fine, falsetto voice and to have been frequently persuaded to sing at local smoking concerts.

According to the present owner - John Sellen - despite sharing an unusual surname, the three men mentioned did not belong to the same family.

Further Info below contributed courtesy of Jenny Bradley (nee Sage).

"My grandparents, George and Lily Sargent, owned this house from just before the Second World War until 1959 when my grandfather died.  I lived here with my mother from 1941 to 1946 and then visited often until 1959. It was not called the Old Well House until at least 1959 when it was sold to a Mr and Mrs Veazey (not sure of spelling). I always knew it as The Old House.  There was in fact another well outside at the side of the house. My mother told me the house was once called Standard House because the standard weights and measures for the area were kept there. The bedroom containing the crown post was always known as the Chapel Room. Whether this indicates some aspect of its history I'm not sure.
An interesting feature was that some of the old door handles were ornamented with a type of swastika. During the war this occasioned a few jokes but I think the symbol was an old one to ward off evil in some way. I have no idea whether they are still there. I was always told that the outside railings and kissing gate were also pretty old. An old and uneven brick path ran from the gate to the back door of the house. Inside, the stairs were reached by opening an ancient door.  They were very steep and culminated in a tiny passageway linking the Chapel Room with the main bedroom.  The passageway ceiling was so low that most adults had to bend a bit to negotiate it. The windows had very old diamond lead panes - are those still there?
The garden was at least half an acre and stretched as far as Home Farm.  Of course the present houses were not there.
In my childhood the bakery at the back was owned by Mr. Ernest Sellen - 'Old Ern', who lived in Nufil House with his ?sister, a Mrs. Moss. He was bent double with the strain of loading and unloading the oven and his apron, hair and moustache were always white with flour.
My grandparents moved to the Old House when they retired. Previously they were landlords of the Chequers Inn from I think about 1909 or 10 until just before the war.  My mother was born at the Chequers. She knew about the smugglers tunnel and the use of the big roof space by smugglers.  However, she never once reported any ghosts at all... "


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