The Cottage and Garden

Until the eighteenth century most Foresters lived in the ancient villages surrounding the woodlands. As the population grew new settlements sprang up by encroachment.

This consisted of illegally fencing a small piece of the Crown lands of the Forest, on which a small cottage was huiedly built. In the nineteenth century the Crown granted freeholds to legalise the long-standing encroachments, many of which ran together to form small towns such as Cinderford.

As the Foresters now owned their holdings a new generation of neat well-built cottages grew up. Most are built of the local grey Penant or Old Red Sandstone, which was dug from innumerable small quarries. Our cottage is the typical two up two down layout with a lean-to washouse, furnished as it would have been about a century ago.

Right: one of the old encroachment cottages, standing derelict in a backwoods corner of the Forest.

Cottage at the Dean Heritage Centre

A derelict encroachment cottage in the Forest

Downstairs you can see the front room or 'parlour'. This was used only for important visitors, on special family occasions, and at Christmas.

This very limited use and consequent lack of heating combined in this damp climate to create a musty atmosphere in this 'show' room.

the parlour

The kitchen was the hub of the cottage life - here the family ate, the children played, when wet weather prevented outdoor play, and mother cooked and ironed. Here all the family bathed (often using each other's water), in front of the kitchen range, using an oval bath, kept hanging by the washouse door.

In this photograph we see Ernie Hatton, a visitor from America, soaking in the atmosphere of a cottage very similar to the one lived in by his Forest ancestor Cornelius Hatton in the mid 1800s.

there is always a coal fire burning to heat the cooking range

The Cottage - page 2

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