These are the notes made by Nicholas Butler who interviewed Roger Finch in the mid 1980s as part of his research for his book “The Story of Wivenhoe”. These notes have been re-typed by Ann Jones from Nicholas Butler’s original notes and posted here by Frances Belsham.
About Roger Finch
Mr Finch is a writer and artist who recently gave a talk to the Wivenhoe Society. He lives in Ipswich.
What Mr Finch told Nick Butler
16 Colchester Road. (Now Toad Hall) Normal domestic house. It has now been renovated. Prior to this was three largish cottages. Prior to that Workhouse. Long workroom on ground floor, It was a purpose built house for domestic use. Not attached to a farm. Presumably the three men mentioned in the Deed were tenants. Perhaps it was three cottages then.
It is obviously transitional, between brick and half-timbering. About 1700. The hipped roof is to me a later addition. Just possible constructed with a simple pitched roof three feet lower. At the same time the roof line was raised by about three feet and a pitched roof put on. At the same time the three windows in the upper storey were installed.
Lower storey windows were punched in when the building was converted back again. In about 1830 The Lexden Hundred Workhouse came along, as it became the thing to have workhouses for every hundred. Reasonably humane to pretty grim.
The sleeping arrangements probably were: single gents at one end, single ladies at the other and families in the middle.
I looked for a large bread oven but couldn’t find one. (Mr Butler confirmed that there was one next door in No 17 Colchester Road, the Masters House)
Note: See also this page which has pictures of the renovation of the building to which Roger Finch was talking about – Click here