On a warm August evening (22nd) 31 people gathered for the private tour of Bridge Cottage in Uckfield organised by the Lewes History Group. Bridge Cottage was built in 1436 during the time of Henry VI for a wealthy yeoman. It originally had 4 bays with the two central ones making the hall, open to the roof with a fire burning in the middle.
This recently restored example of a medieval Wealden hall house is due to open to the public in September 2016 and LHG members got a sneak preview which consisted of a very interesting talk by Mike Harker (chairman of the Bridge Cottage Heritage Centre), followed by a self-guided tour of the building.
Mike told us about the 600-year history of the house from a time when Uckfield was a clearing in the most wooded part of the country, through to the 1970’s, and then about the work that’s recently been done to restore it. The Uckfield Preservation Society saved it from demolition (to make way for a bypass) and successfully applied for £1.5M from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore the property and develop it as a community asset. The cottage is fitted with the latest 21stC technology to make it sustainable & eco-friendly. It boasts LED lighting, underfloor heating, ground source heat pump, sheep’s wool insulation and of course, lime plaster & limewash paint.
Photos copyright Neil Merchant