east of england buildings preservation trust

East of England Buildings Preservation Trust cover the whole of East Anglia
Illustration of Vineleigh Cottage by Chris Godfrey - ex Secretary to CHBPT

East of England Buildings Preservation Trust logoVineleigh Cottage, Wardy Hill

Vineleigh Cottage (judging from surviving fabric) was built at some time in the 17th century and was a quality building for its time and place.  It is significant that in the general survey of the Royal Commission it is one of only two cottages in Cambridgeshire which are illustrated.

The fine, large, double inglenook chimney stacks heated a parlour and perhaps a kitchen, with a further room to the south.  Above the ground floor rooms were three attic chambers.  The walls were all of timber, with wattle and daub panels between the studs.  This would probably have been covered with plaster.

Towards the end of the eighteenth century the south room was provided with its own chimney and a gable wall in soft red bricks.

The next major change to the building came in the mid 19th century, when, presumably because of some problems with the frame, most of it was removed and replaced by a local red/yellow brick wall.  The buildiing was now three one-up-one-down cottages for farm labourers (perhaps it had been for some time).  At much the same time the inglenooks were each extended into a side oven and an oven on the other side of the chimney was removed.  A flimsy timber-frame extension to the north cottage (now vanished) was probably of this time.

A photograph of 1929 shows the cottages with their roof newly covered with corrugated iron. This was placed over the remains of the old thatch, and the half hips of the roof covered at both ends.

The last inhabitants left around 1960, from when it has been used as a store. Its historic interest was only recognised in 1985, when it was added to the protected list as a grade II building.

The problems of the building were highlighted during the East Cambs. District Council survey of the buildings 'at risk'.  This cottage was probably the worst case, and the Trust was contacted by the Council.

A feasibility study and structural advice, with the kind co-operation of the owners, preceded the purchase in October 1992.

In carrying out the works, the Trust aimed to retain all of the remaining historic fabric of the roof, chimney and first floor.  This has been achieved.