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Otterton History - Rosemary Cottage

Rosemay Cottage Fore Street, Otterton
Tithe No 1070

This early 16th. century cottage is first recorded in 1734 ( 30th. October) when Joseph Copplestone was granted a 99 year Lease with lives by the Duke Estates. It was on the life of his tenant Mrs. Sarah Pinn. (DRO 96M/Box 61/9). This lease must have been surrendered as another lease dated 26th.July 1756 was granted to John Staple, Gent. & Arthur Dyer, tobacconist, this time on the life of Mrs. Sarah Pinn’s daughter Sarah, who was now the tenant. From 1753 to 1763 the Pinns and Mrs. Elizabeth Potbury as tenants held licenses to sell ale at Pinns House as it was known at that time as a beer house.

John Duke, the owner of the Duke Estates died in 1775. Prior to his death he had granted the cottage with garden and orchard, together with 7 parcels of land in the Parish to his wife Susanna as a Freehold. 9th. April 1783 she sold the Freehold to Mrs. Elizabeth Potbury for £94 10/-. (DRO 96/M Box 63/8) Mrs. Potbury was a daughter of Mrs. Sarah Pinn. 3 years later Denys Rolle of Bicton bought the whole of the Duke Estates from the Duke Family, leaving Pinns House as a separate Freehold within the Estate. Mrs. Potbury died in 1812 and her sister Sarah continued as tenant. By her Will Pinns House, now divided into two cottages, together with fields in the Ladram area, was held in Trust for her two nieces Susanna and Mary Rugg.  Elizabeth Potbury had two sisters, Sarah who was unmarried and Susanna who was married to William Rugg, the village blacksmith. They both worshiped at Salem Chapel and their daughters were baptized there – Susanna 1771, Mary 1786. Mary married John Carpenter in 1815 – a son, Thomas born 1816 and Susanna married William Hazel in 1823-no issue. Following John and Mary Carpenter deaths in 1862 & 1869, son Thomas was the sole owner. Various tenants rented the Cottage during this period, including John Merchant and James Bridle.
Thomas Carpenter died in 1880 leaving the cottage to his six surviving daughters Mrs. Mary Jane Bennett, Mrs. Caroline Gibbs, Mrs. Harriet Rice, Mrs. Rose Noble, Mrs. Susan Smith and Miss Emily Carpenter. Pinns House, divided into two cottages were named Rose Cottage, east side and the west side Rosemary Cottage.

In 1838 a Meeting House was built to the rear of the Cottage, probably by Mr. Merchant. By 1878 there were 27 “Plymouthians” Plymouth Bretheren, living and worshiping here in Otterton. This Calvinist Sect had been founded in Plymouth in 1830.
1884 Harriet Rice decided to mortgage her 1/6th share of the cottages which, with the land were occupied by William Pratt, James Bridle and Edward Pile. The lands are listed:- Ladrum Field, Chocknoll, Boy in Bush, an orchard and another field. By December 1887 probably disagreements had arisen between the sisters and the cottages , lands and Meeting House were auctioned and bought by William Pratt, lace-dealer for £217. The following year he dies and his wife Anne inherits the properties and land, dying 6 years later. Their children John, Henry, Alfred and Helena (Mrs.Tom Page) succeeded to the premises. 1903 Alfred and Tom Page purchased the cottages from their brothers for £125. Brother Henry purchased the Meeting House from them for £71. Alfred Pratt was a Market Gardener with Tom Page cultivating their lands until after the Great War.

Then in 1921/2 a series of transactions took place which make interesting reading. 17th. May, Petty Officer Walter F. Prew RN. bought the cottages from Pratt and Page for £400. 38 days later (24th. June) he sold them to Miss Gertrude I Warren of Budleigh Salterton for £440. Over a year later ( 29th. September 1922) Miss Warren sold the cottages back to Alfred Pratt for £450 and the next day he sold Rose Cottage (east side) to Alfred George Baker for £250. Described as “All that cottage with Coach House, yard and front & back gardens”. Two days later (2nd.October) Alfred Pratt sold 1) 1/4th. share of Rosemary Cottage (west side) which was unoccupied at that time to William Bastone, Refreshment House proprietor, of Exmouth for £50. 2) 1/4th. share of Rosemary Cottage to Mrs. Helena H. Collings, widow also £50. Pratt retained the other ½ share.
March 1927 Bastone dies and his share goes to Miss Gytha Bastone who sells it to Mrs. Collings for £50. Mrs. Collings dies in 1930 and her share passes to her brother W.J.White who sells it back to Alfred Pratt making him the full owner of Rosemary Cottage (west side).

Meanwhile in July 1929 the Meeting House, no longer used by the Plymouth Bretheren, was sold by Henry Pratt to James W. Gorman, Southern Railway Engineer working from East Budleigh Station, for £25. He lived at “Spinning Wheel” Cottage, Fore Street where his wife ran a lace-dealers shop. In April 1931 Mr. Gorman sells the Meeting House to Horace Walter George Baker.

1932 Alfred Pratt sells Rosemary Cottage (west side) to Mrs. Ethel Peacock for £212.10/- and in 1936 she sells it to Horace Baker for £210 .1952 Alfred Baker dies and Rose Cottage (east side) passes to his widow Florence, then vested in Horace Baker, son of Alfred in 1956.  He then owned both cottages and the Meeting House, retaining the name Rosemary Cottage for the whole.

1980  Mr.Baker sells the whole to James King for £25,000 . Later owners are Mrs. Wendy Selby 1988, Ronald Curven 1996. The Meeting House was demolished by Mr. King and a “Granny” flat has been built to the rear since.

Between the wars probably both cottages were shops. Mr. Bastone may have had Refreshment Rooms in Rosemary Cottage in the 1920’s. By 1950’s it was a newsagents (H.Baker). Today Nicholas and Angela Marshall reside there.

William Pratt first appears in Billings Directory of 1857 as Shopkeeper and lace-dealer. Following his death in 1888 his wife Anne or Hannah continues with the shop. This is known to be in Lawn Cottage, Fore Street (next to Kings Arms). By 1902 Alfred Pratt is the shopkeeper to 1939, also Market Gardener. Dorothy Miller worked there in the 1920’s.

Devon Records Office
Mrs. Wendy Selby who gave me access to the title deeds.
Salem Chapel Archives
Listed Buildings Schedule

Gerald Millington. Archivist, Clinton Devon Estates