House History Timeline

Viewing Rattlerow's Victorian on Rattlerow, Mileham

Mileham appeared in the Domesday Book.



By 2007 Steve Willis, Elaine Hollingsworth and Lyn Coates, all former inhabitants, have made enquiries about this house.



We move in 10th October 2001.
In its first 100 years, 2 Litchfield Cottages had two owners/occupiers; the Bells and the Smiths, in the next 60 years we are the fifth known owners and follow the Taylors, Chamberlains, Hollingworths and Wilsons. We pay £168,000


Good Friday Agreement

A broad cross section of political groups in Northern Ireland, and the Irish and British governments sign an agreement which voted that no change should be made to the status of Northern Ireland except by majority consent. The Northern Ireland Executive is created.



Conditional approval of conservatory and office extension is granted 8.12.1997. David Logan of Horningtoft is the architect. Building work starts 1998. Planning Refn 97.1237 at Dereham office.

New Labour

A Labour landslide results in Tony Blair taking over from John Major as PM.



Michael and Yvonne Wilson buy from Mr and Mrs Hollingworth 16.12.1996 for £65,950


The Gulf War

After a build up of US troops in surrounding countries causes anxiety, Iraq annexes Kuwait in 1990. A coalition force combining 28 nations, including Britain and the US, embark on an 8 week offensive. The war creates millions of refugees and oil spills cause severe environmental damage.



Land registry map



Richard Hollingworth sells 'pightle' (a small field or enclosure, a close or croft) 51'x123' to George Giles of Eastview 20.10.1987 £2,000.
Plans for a 2 storey extension to flint cottage ref. 87.1117 are lodged at Dereham Planning Office.



Elaine Insall (formerly Chamberlaine) sells to Richard and Susan Hollingworth 10.6.1985 for £21,000.
Unconditional approval of extension to flint cottage is granted 25.11.1985. The initial proposal is for a single storey, two bedroom extension to 'replace an unattractive extension'. David A. Cutting of Shipdham is the surveyor. Refn. 85.7377 at Dereham Planning Office.



'May 83' is scratched into the mortar surrounding the kitchen window frame. This window, unlike the others seems to replicate the shape and size of the original.



The Conservative Party gain power and Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain’s first female Prime Minister. Her term lasts until 1991, her policies emphasise central government and private enterprise whilst undermining the power of the Trade Unions.


Winter of Discontent

Eight years of unrest and discontent at the declining economy, continuing inflation and rising rates of unemployment result in a number of trade unions striking.



Steve Willis (born 1956) leaves 1 Litchfield where he lived with the Taylors. When he lived here the two cottages were joined together with an interconnecting door where our cooker now stands. There was no interconnecting door on the upper storey. There had been ten people in the two cottages. There had been a single storey extension to the west.



Sidney and Elaine Chamberlaine buy 2 Litchfield Cottages 25.8.1971 £1,650 from Albert Frederick Taylor who owned 1 and 2 Litchfield. Daughter Christine Taylor then aged 37



Florence Jane Callingham of Whissonsett buys 1 Litchfield from Anna Smith and 2 Litchfield from Charles Smith Jnr. This is the first appearance of the name 'Litchfield'. There are several possible explanations of the name. Perhaps the field closest to Litcham. The 'litch' in Litcham is from the Old English lycce enclosure so perhaps the enclosure field or the 'Litch' may derive from leat, leech or lake all referring to the fact that the field was once marshy fen and is now drained.


Britain Enters World War One

After failed attempts to appease Hitler and settle the future of the Sudetenland, the Nazis invade Poland and Britain declares war. A global military conflict ensues between the Allies; Poland, British Commonwealth and France and the axis; France, Germany and later Italy and Japan.


Edward VIII Crowned king

Edward VIII accedes to the throne and falls in love with American divorcee wallis Simpson. Constitutional crisis ensues and he is forced to abdicate in favour of his brother George VI.



2.5 inch OS map shows cottages





Census records Charles Smith 41 head, Anna 32 wife, Lily 16 daughter, Charles 10 son, Louie 6 daughter, Harriet 3 daughter. Charles is a carpenter in his own account and was born at Beeston. Anna was born at Great Dunham and their children all in Mileham, presumably in this house. The house is not named in the census but is entry 73.
Next on the register is the Walpole family.

Accession of Edward VII

Four years after her diamond jubilee, Queen Victoria dies. Her death is an occasion of national mourning.


Second Boer War

After receiving military equipment from German, the Boers re-armed and fought on the borders of the Cape Colony and Natal. The British army immediately sent reinforcements. The severity of the British actions (including the use of concentration camps in which inmates were subjected to cruel work regimes and fatal diseases spread) in South Africa was strongly opposed by liberal politicians as the extreme of imperialism. The war ended in 1902 with the Treaty of Vereeiging, the two independent republics were lost and absorbed into the British Empire.



Census record 70 shows Robert Bell senior, a bricklayer aged 74 living with Mary his 64 year old wife. However there are three separate listings for Bell families in Mileham.
Next on the register are Charles Smith a carpenter aged 33, living with Anna his 24 year old wife, daughter Lillian 6, son Charles 0, widowed mother-in-law Susan Franklin aged 40 and his nieces Louisa 13 and Eliza 2. The Franklins are all born in Mileham. The Smiths are known to be the owners of Litchfield Cottages until 1941.
William Bird aged 82 and born in Litcham is next on the register and lives with his daughter Ellen Walpole and her family. There are two listings for Bird families and two for Walpoles.
Of the two listings for Gants, J and Jno are shoemakers and bakers, Richard and William are farmers.



six inch to one mile OS map shows a pair of cottages at 1/2 Litchfield. The Neatherd Field and the next have been drained and the Nar flows under the Litcham Road.


Jack the Ripper

Five prostitutes are brutally murdered in the Whitechapel area of London’s east end. The killer, “Jack the Ripper”, have never been definitively identified, and the case resulted in worldwide press coverage and hysteria.



Census records William an agricultural labourer aged 70 and Hannah Bird living with their daughter Susan Franklin aged 40 and three grand-daughters. No road names are given.
John Gant and his brother, James are at The Bakehouse.


First Boer War

This was a conflict between the British and the Dutch settlers (Boers) in South Africa. After the first Boer war, William Gladstone granted the Boers self-government in the Transvaal region in 1881.


Artisans and Labourers Dwellings Improvement Act

Law past for the reconstruction of insanitary areas. Areas which are unfit for habitation must be destroyed and rebuilt.


Return of Owners Act

Known as the New Doomesday, this survey revealed that less than 7,000 men own four fifths of the land in Britain.



There are four returns on Rattle Row and eight on Rattle Row Road.
Census shows Elizabeth Bell aged 64 living on Rattle Row Road with grandson George, a bricklayer aged 19, son-in-law Robert, a bricklayer aged 52?, and daughter Mary aged 44.
The Birds are also on Rattle Row Road and next on the register.


Sanitary Act

This act increases the control of the sewer authorities to dispose of waste and is passed simultaneously with the Artizans and Labourers Dwelling Act, which compelled owners to get rid of unsanitary dwellings. This is the first legislation to tackle the growing problem of slums.


First Underground Train

The underground railway running from Paddington to the city of London opens. It becomes known as the sewer.



Census shows William Bell bricklayer aged 55 is living on 'The Common' with wife Elizabeth 56, daughter Mary 34, sons George 25, Thomas 20 and Edward 17 all bricklayers and his grandson George, a scholar aged 9.
The Bird family is also on The Common.


Crimean War

To stifle Russian expansion after she occupies parts of the Ottoman Empire, Britain and France, with the support of the Austrians, declare war. It ends in 1856 when the British and the French force the fall of Sebastopol and the Treaty of Paris is signed in 1856. This war raised the profile of the nurse Florence Nightingale, leading to the creation of modern nursing.



Census shows William Bell bricklayer aged 47 living on the Common with his wife Elizabeth aged 46, daughter Margaret 24 a dressmaker, sons William 22, John 20, daughter Eliza 18, sons Robert19, George 15 all described as bricklayers, and sons Henry 13, Thomas 10 and Edward 7 scholars. Mr and Mrs Bell were both born in Mileham. They probably first lived together in Tittershall where their two eldest children were born. The seven youngest children were born in Mileham, presumably in this house.

The Body family is also on The Common and again next to the Bells on the register, The Bird family is also on The Common.
Richard Gant is a farmer with 80 acres and 3 labourers, his son, William has 55 acres and 5 labourers. 21 year old Ann Walpole is their servant.

The Labour Classes Lodging Act

This act authorised local authorities to establish lodging houses for the labour classes.


Corn Laws Repealed

The long standing campaign of the Anti-Corn-Law League, manufacturers who wanted to sell goods overseas as well as in Britain, end when Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel repeals the Corn Laws.


Irish Potato Famine

As a result of British economic interference, the “blight” potato fungus, and destructive farming methods, there is widespread famine in Ireland resulting in 500,000 deaths and mass emigration.



Census shows William Bell a bricklayer aged 35 living at Gant's Cottages with his wife Elizabeth aged 35, daughter Mary14, sons William 12 and John 10, daughter Elizabeth 8, sons Robert 6, George 4, Henry 2 and Thomas 1. Also in the 4 cottages are the Boddy and Alby families and pensioners Jeffrey and Mary Rawsthorn.
William Bird aged 35 and his family live in Gant's Buildings.



The tithe map valued by William Beck of Mileham and John Beck of Longham shows what are now known as Litchfield Cottages owned by William Gant and rented to William Bell and another. What is now Grenstein Farm is called 'Beck's Farm'.
At this time Eastview is owned by Richard Gant and rented to William Bird and others. The pightle is owned by Mary Griggs and used by Richard Gant and Charles Alby. Richard Gant also uses Neatherd land, Holly Field, Graver's bungalow field as well as owning Baines farm and land at Beeston. William Gant owns fields at Beeston and the last house in the village opposite the chalet.


Reign of Queen Victoria

The beginning of the Victorian era.


Reform Act

Repesentation is given to previously underrepresented urban areas and qualifications for voting are extended.


First Corn Law Introduced

This law inhibits the import of foreign corn into Britatin untiol the domestic price reached 80 shillings a quarter.



The enclosure map surveyed by John Glegg and Richard Jayson for the commissioners William Unthank and William Yarrington, shows the land or allotment for 2 Litchfield Cottage is assigned to Edward Holley. He also has land allotted on Back Lane near the Bakery. The land is described as 2 rood bounded by a private road, by other allotments and by the Neatherd land.
It appears that what is now called Eastview is part of this plot but that 1 Litchfield belongs to Alice Boniger or her heirs John Stroulger and William Bear. Buildings are marked at Eastview but nothing for the cottages. Holley is directed to keep the fences in repair. Ref NRO C/Sca2/187


The Battle of Trafalgar

Horatio nelson dies from a snipers bullet in battle against Napoleon.


Act of Union

This Act merged the Kingdom of Ireland and the Kingdom of Great Britain into The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.



Faden's Map of Norfolk shows no sign of buildings except what is now called Wyken Farm on Rattlerow which is the northern boundary of the marshy valley of the River Nar.

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