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Timber and thatch evoke the charm of old England in Gnosall

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: May 17, 2014

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RIGHT in the heart of Gnosall stands one of the very few examples of a thatched, timber-framed cottage in Staffordshire.

When it was built, the Civil War was raging across England. The men who cut the oak for its beams would be astonished to think the house would be still standing more than 400 years later.

"It'll probably be here for another 400 years," says its owner, Chris Blunt.

"It's a lovely old house, and I shall be very sad to leave it. It's a house to love and cherish," she adds.

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Mrs Blunt and her late husband Cliff moved here in 1992. Cliff was a well-known craftsman who worked in oak to create many items of furniture, but who was best known for his grandfather clocks.

"We know it was built in the early part of the 17th century," says Chris. "We found a letter dated 1657, written to the local constable. And it was a public house, called the Old Duke's Head, up until 1953, so it has quite a history."

This sturdy old building comes with plenty of extras for the keen buyer. For instance, there's a shop – a dressmaker's business – included, which provides a regular income.

There's also a self-contained flat as part of the deal.

"There's also planning permission for a two-bedroom bungalow in the grounds," says Chris. "I decided to leave the decision on whether to build or not, to the next owners.

"They may want to sell the plot, or keep the garden as it is."

Although the house fronts the main road through the village, it is a place of peace and quiet.

"When you're in the back garden it's lovely and peaceful," says Chris, a former parish councillor in Gnosall. "All you can hear are the birds. And the outlook is unchanged, too. We overlook the church, which is considerably older than even this house."

The property was re-thatched in the late 1980s, and the thatch is good for at least another 40 years. Mrs Blunt had the ridge thatch repaired earlier this year.

Mrs Blunt, whose two grown-up daughters live nearby, says: "I love the house, but the reality is that it's too big for me now. It's full of memories, but it's time for someone else to take it on and put their mark on the place."

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