The King's Norton Hovel
Our hovel is not only the last surviving thatched building in our village, but also incorporates what we believe to be the only exposed ‘mud’ (i.e. wattle and daub) wall in the vicinity.
The hovel was renovated and re-thatched about 25 years ago. We had previously encountered difficulty in finding a contractor with the skills necessary to undertake the work. This included the renovation of the mud wall and the replacement of the neglected corrugated iron roof (which we had inherited) by new thatch, to try to restore the building to its original appearance. Eventually we were put in touch with Messrs. A Goode of Slawston by Miss Rosalind Willetts, Conservation Officer for Harborough DC. Tony Goode proved an excellent find and we were delighted with the finished article.
Sadly, the ridge had started to deteriorate somewhat, having proved attractive to birds seeking nesting material, and further work became necessary. I happened to spot a Master Thatcher, one Lee Miller, at work in Burton Overy last year and he has recently renewed our ridge. We are extremely pleased with what he did for us in a most conscientious fashion and his work has drawn favourable comments from many walkers and others passing along our frontage to Gaulby Lane. I would not hesitate to recommend him to others.
Lee has supplied these images taken during and after completion of the project.
Our hovel shows all the signs of having been used to accommodate livestock in the past. We don’t know when it was first built, but rather suspect in the late 18th century. This is because the mainly brick structure incorporates not only some exposed ‘narrow’ bricks such as were used then, but also some substantial pieces of dressed stone. It may be no coincidence that our original mediaeval parish church was demolished around 1750 to make way for the present neo-Gothic structure which now forms a well known landmark. Numerous lumps of dressed stone found around our village (several within our own garden) over the years suggest masonry from the original church may have been distributed for further local use.