Our house, Froggarts Cottage, is in School Lane, Peggs Green, currently within Coleorton Parish but until 1936 was in Thringstone. We moved here in 2006, myself, my husband, two grown-up children, along with my 90-year-old mother. It was an ideal home for us having lots of space and an adjoining annexe where Mum could live close to family but with some privacy. The previous owners, Hilary & Pat Howden, had transformed 4 small cottages into a family home in 1979, and to accommodate their family of 3 they added an extension for a modern kitchen and master bedroom with an en-suite. They added the annexe when they needed it for their own parents.
The cottages were originally built in 1860 for the Kidger family who lived in the big house opposite (now known as Yew Tree House, but previously The White House) and who ran a small abattoir and butchers shop next door. Mr Kidger had various businesses including a share of Peggs Green mine which closed down in 1858. Records show they were originally 2 cottages – occupied by Mary Kidger and the other by Joseph Hickling. However, by 1883 they were occupied by 4 families - Davis, Barnett, Elliott and Grant (still owned by the Kidger family) and in 1932 by Bradford, Walker, Elliott and Grant families. The 4 cottages were at one time known as “Kidgers Row” but by 1979 they had become “The Terrace”. The Howdens renamed the now single dwelling “Froggarts Cottage” because at one time School Lane was known as “Froggarts Lane”.
They were small, brick-built cottages – two up, two down – with outside loos at the top of the garden. Mains sewerage didn't arrive until the 1970s. Each of the 4 cottages measured 20ft from front to back and 12ft wide, 2 up 2 down, to accommodate whole families.
The original cottages had straight pitched roofs. To raise the height of the ceilings the Howdens installed 4 dormer windows at the front. Now rendered and painted, the original cottages were solid brick, cavity walls not coming into general use until the 20th century, and no damp-proof course, so were probably quite difficult to heat. From the remaining chimney-breasts and flues it would appear that each cottage had two fireplaces, one in each downstairs room. The small front rooms were used as the kitchen. No mains water - they had rights to access to water from a well in Froggarts Lane.
It's interesting to see how houses were adapted to the lives of the people who lived in them, and the structure, methods and materials used reflected the industrial history of the time.
Sometime ago we acquired a small leather bound book with parchment pages. This was owned by Canon William Beresford Beaumont who recorded all the tenants who lived in the houses in Coleorton between 1875 and 1900. We'd like to do the same and have launched a “House History Project” to record present day homes, their history and their current and previous occupants.
If you live in Coleorton and you'd like to help with this project we'd love to hear about your house. Email Terry or Shaelyn Ward on email@example.com or phone 01530 835701.
Elliott family outside back of cottage around 1930. See Kidgers slaughterhouse and butchers in the RH background.
Froggarts Cottage in 2006