Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Hole Cottage, Markbeech

Last spring, with about twenty minutes before catching our train, we headed towards the woods north of Cowden station in Kent to take some more pictures of bluebells. As we thought the undergrowth was carpeted with blue flowers. What we certainly didn't expect to discover was this little cottage almost completely isolated from the rest of the world. At first sight the shape looked intriguing but after a few seconds we realized this was just about half of a typical late medieval timber-framed Wealden hall house. What had happened to the other half?
There are two conflicting pieces of information about what happened to Hole Cottage. According to the webpages of the Falconhurst estate and the Landmark Trust, who manages the building, the other half was pulled down in 1833 but no reason for this is given. A fire, a lack of maintenance or the fall of a tree -after all the roof was damaged during the Great Storm of 1987- could be the most likely explanations. However English Heritage's notice about this Grade II listed building indicates it was destroyed by enemy action. That I suppose means during the Second World War and would have been caused by a bomb. If that were the case, it would have been very unlucky as there was hardly anything of strategic importance in the area that could have warranted a raid by the Luftwaffe.
Whatever caused the other half to disappear, this fortunate discovery was an excellent way to end our day out.

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