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Historic Nutbourne Houses: Shepherd's Thatch

c1400 The timber-framed, thatched house was constructed, probably as an open-hall house with the two end bays built in two stories.
unknown A smoke bay was installed, allowing the main first floor area to be constructed. Later a large internal chimney was constructed, and the house was divided into two to become tied cottages accomodating two agricultural workers for the Abergavenny Estate and their families.
1925 The house is mentioned in a prospectus for the Abergavenny Estate, as part of the Upper Nash hamlet within a hamlet, along with Upper and Lower Nash Farms and 92.5 acres of arable land.
1964-2003 The house was renamed a number of times, at one time or another being known as The Thatched Cottage at Upper Nash, Sparrow Hall, Sparrow Thatch, Shepherd's Cottage before becoming Shepherd's Thatch. The references to sparrows are a tribute to the birds that nested in the thatch before the house was restored.
2010 Discrete wire netting prevents the birds from spoling the thatch of this elegant family home that retains its fifteenth century charm, with evidence of the original timber frame still clearly visible internally.
Shepherd's Thatch, an elegant fifteenth century timber-framed house at Nutbourne, West Sussex, pictured before it was restored and reinstated. It is believed that this picture dates from the 1960s.

Shepherd's Thatch (then known as The Thatched Cottage at Upper Nash), pictured in the 1960s.

Shepherd's Thatch in Upper Nash, Nutbourne, West Sussex - which is a fine example of a fifteenth century timber-framed house that has been loving restored as an elegant family home

Shepherd's Thatch, pictured in 2004

Shepherd's Thatch is a fifteenth century timber-framed, thatched house that was built in the early 1400s.
It is believed that the original design was as an open hall, with the two end bays built into two stories.
There is evidence to support this in the roof space. It appears that subsequently a smoke bay was installed,
allowing the main first floor to be built and then, at a later date, a substantial internal chimney was
added to the building. In its early days the house would have been one of the largest and finest in the area,
before being taken on by the Abergavenny Estate and sub-divided into two tied cottages for agricultural workers.
At some stage stone cladding was added to the south wall to protect the timbers from weathering.

Nesting birds presented a major challenge for much of the twentieth century, with both sparrows and starlings
making the thatch their home and causing frustrating damage and water ingress. Ernie and Margaret Jane,
were long-time residents during Mr. Jane's employment as a farmhand and herdsman for the property's owner,
farmer William (Bill) Harmer from The Granary. They told neighbours that they had to contend with many leaks at the
east end of the house, where there was no ceiling and the underside of the thatch was visible from the ground floor.
At the time the cottage had a staircase at either end, with no windows in most of the north side, save at the far west end.
As well as the puddles, the unfortunate Mrs. Jane had to contend with the daily chore of removing death watch beetles!

Mr and Mrs Jane moved to nearby Timber Cottage on his retirement, while Shepherd's Thatch was sold
and extensive renovation works were carried out. Over time the reconstruction include the addition
of a new porch, front door and a number of additional windows in the north wall, the removal of the outside privy
and garage / shed at the south east corner of the plot. This work was completed while retaining many of the original
features of the timber-framed house. Discrete wire netting has been used to protect the thatch from marauding starlings.

Recent research has revealed the brick floor and footings of the walls of the original privy, but has not so
far located the well which is shown in the garden on early Ordinance Survey Maps.

Today Shepherd's Thatch is a fine example of a fifteenth century timber-framed house
that is also a practical, modern family home.


Shortcut links to the web pages for other historic houses in the Nutbourne area

Atmyres Farm   Bramfold   The Camber   Darkdean   Drovers   Ebbsworth   Hobbs   Holly Tree Cottage   Lyons Cottage Farm

The Manor   Mill Farm   Mill House   Nutbourne Place   The Old Manor   The Old School   The Old Store   The Rising Sun

Cottage by Mill Pond   Shepherd's Thatch   Shorts Farm   Stream Farm   Timber Cottage   Wheel House

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