The Willows, New Road

Building Status: Listed Building

Norman & Rita Kenyon moved into The Willows in the summer of 1988, and this picture was taken the following winter.

Between 1985 and 1988 two different couples had owned the house. The first couple renovated it, removed a false interior wall in the oldest part, and opened up the inglenook there; they named the house ‘The Lilacs’, as the previous name was no longer significant. The second couple (O’Neill) called it ‘The Willows’ (one willow was destroyed in the 1987 storm, the other still stands) – they were here only 10 months and left no forwarding address!

Bill and Eve Armstrong owned the house from 1948 to 1985, and Bill’s long association with the village was recognised by naming a close off Bennett Avenue after him. Mary (?) Mulley, mother of Alan Goymer (one of our local postmen, 2001), was born in the house in about 1909 – sadly she died in the 1990s without the Kenyons meeting her. We know from the Tithe Map and Apportionment that the house was owned and occupied by Mary Cook in 1841, and probably still in 1848, though she is not to be found in any census or parish register. The Lord family, who owned Street Farm for many years in the 19th century, seem to have acquired some interest in the house, though the matter is far from clear. Other than this, the Kenyons’ researches have so far proved rather disappointing!

See also the outbuildings on the aerial photo below.

Roseacre is at the centre, with the smithy (since demolished) to its left, and then existing cottages…. Opposite Roseacre, at the foot of the photo, is …, which must have been fairly new at the time. To its right are the two outbuildings of The Willows (then known as Bevilly) whose entrance is to the far right, a corrugated-roof pig-shed and another hut along the roadside, visible in the street photo and believed to have been acquired by Mulleys from the bacon factory site, where it had been used as a scout hut! These outbuildings and the land there were sold off in about 1970, and Haywold constructed.

Aeriel View

Pictures Description

This is the earliest picture we have, probably dating from 1920-25. The downstairs windows are still of the old 3×3 pattern, the middle-lower two panes being an openable window. The middle upstairs window is false – quite possibly there had been a real window there before window-tax days. T hree windows seem to have blinds as well as curtains…

The roof, previously thatched, has already been replaced by tiles, probably not long before the picture was taken.

The porch you see today was added by Bill Armstrong in the 1950s.

Mary Mulley is the girl on the left; the other chap is unknown.

The fine trade sign to the right announces “Mulley Bros. Builders Contractors & Undertakers”

Just past the right of the house one can see an outbuilding, long since disappeared. The 1904 map shows an outbuilding in that position, though I’m not sure about the orientation!

This picture, date unknown, is clearly later than that above, but we don’t know whether it antedates the one below.

Notably, the downstairs windows are now sash windows (the current ones), and the false window has been painted as 4 panes. The side windows are as now, except that the attic has none. There are two terminals above the false window – electricity or ‘phone?

There is a bare rose-climber over the front door, and a flower box above.

The gent is unknown

I cannot prove this the later photo, but perhaps the path/driveway has changed and maybe there is a flower bed to the left? No rose-climber, but the bench is there and a bush by the door, visible also in the photo with the car.

The business has changed – only “Undertakers and Funeral Furnishers” now, and the sign is crummier.

Dorrie and Bill Mulley.

This picture, taken outside the back door, date unknown, shows Bert Mulley with Dorrie and Gwen the dog.

Nowadays a large wistaria screens the back wall, which has been uniformly rendered, but still where the clapboard was, and above it to the roof, the wall is thin – just studwork with rendering outside and plasterboard inside.

This picture, date unknown, was taken by the flint-faced stone wall which still exists. Gwen the dog is unmistakeable; the lady could be Susie or Dorrie.

There is a 6ft gate into the front yard, bricked up some time ago. You can just make out that the false upstairs window is in its 4-pane period.

To the far left you see one of the white uprights of the (later) signboard.

Date unknown. The Goymers told me that Luther’s wife, presumed to be the demonstrative lady here, was “on the stage in London”. The other person is not recognisable.

Date unknown, but note that there are now some flowers to the left of the front door. Fred Mulley and Dorrie Goymer – from the confetti on his jacket I presume they are the happy couple, not father and bride!



The Willows, New Road

1. The Willows, New Road

The Willows, New Road

2. Around 1925?

The Willows, New Road

3. Late 1920s or -30s?

The Willows, New Road

4. Late 1920s or -30s?

The Willows, New Road

5. Back door

The Willows, New Road

6. Walled Garden

The Willows, New Road

7. Actress and motor

The Willows, New Road

8. Wedding

The Willows, New Road

9. The Willows, 1960s?