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Shelford house mystery


Last weekend I had an email from a cousin of my late mother who lives in Hayling Island, she asked me if I knew of a house in Shelford that was at one time lived in by her great grandmother in Eaton Socon!  Apparently the eight bedroomed 14th century house was bought by a Mrs A W Topham-Smith of Kings Farm, Shelford (actually in Little Shelford).  From the newspaper cutting (undated but thought to be around 1966) it would appear that Mrs Topham-Smith had engaged a local builder Keith Pearl to dismantle the house from beside the Great North Road at Eaton Socon & rebuild it in Shelford, again I assume this was Little Shelford. So one would assume this would have been somewhere near Kings Farm. Looking at the houses in High Street, Little Shelford there is obviously nothing like the house depicted in the newspaper cutting, & from what I have found out so far it is doubtful if it ever got rebuilt. Apparently Mrs Topham-Smith was a bit of an eccentric who made a hobby of moving houses. I would be pleased to hear from anyone who may know more about the house, and what happened to it, Its incredible that permission would have been granted even back then for such a move. 

John Wakefield

On August 1st, John North sent in this comment:

I came to Cambridge in 1963 and for a couple of years I still played hockey and when the fixture was in the London area I was picked up on the A1 where this house was being demolished. On moving to Little Shelford I was told that some wooden structures at or near King’s Farm house were the timbers from this property. What happened to them I cannot recall they disappeared over time I thought they may have been used to repair some of the houses in the High Street. At the time I had expressed interest in purchasing one of the two detached properties planned to replace the demolished Brewery on Hauxton Road. The plans were changed to three bungalows so we rented a house in Church street and bought 28, Hauxton Road when it came on the market.

My wife Sheila has just told me that the house in the High Street which was rebuilt was the house where the Myers lived. All the bricks were numbered and the property was rebuilt as an exact copy of the house from somewhere else by Mrs Topham Smith . I think the house I wrote to you about was a timber framed building.