Culture minister Nicky Morgan gives Grade II listing to historic Canary Cottage that was built shortly after the drainage of the fens
PUBLISHED: 12:41 20 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:41 20 August 2019
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Culture minister Nicky Morgan has agreed that a 260 year-old shepherd’s cottage in the Fens should be given Grade II level status that will protect it for years to come.
The rare 18th century cottage is off the A47 between Guyhirn and Thorney and is a rare surviving example of a mid-18th century fenland cottage. It was built shortly after the drainage of the local fens.
Canary Cottage has stood empty since farm workers Ken and Thelma Wright moved out in 1965.
A characterful local landmark, the cottage's distinctive yellow door and windows were painted in the early 20th century by the Dixon-Spain family who owned a number of different farms in the area. They used a colour coding scheme to identify their buildings and machinery.
The distinctive yellow door and windows were part of an identification scheme used by a family who owned a number of different farms.
The cottage has been home to many generations of farm workers and has witnessed more than 250 years of agricultural development. It offered basic living conditions with a sitting room and kitchen on the ground floor, two bedrooms upstairs and an outbuilding housing a storeroom and toilet. Amenities consisted of an open fireplace, gas lighting, mains water and a gas-powered water heater connected to the only tap in the cottage.
Canary Cottage was renovated and re-thatched around 1960 but has stood empty since 1965, when it was vacated by the Wrights, who met as workers at Knarr Farm in the late 1950s and lived in the cottage for the first five years of their married life.
Amenities consisted of an open fireplace, gas lighting, mains water and a gas-powered water heater connected to the only tap in the cottage
Mr Wright said it was a tough time in their lives living at Canary Cottage.
"In the fields, we had to use pick-axes to get the frozen soil off the potatoes and our water supply froze solid for weeks", he told us two years ago.
Owner Peter Fox, managing director of Dalton Seeds, has pledged to look after it for future generations.
"We paint it and try to keep it looking okay from time to time. As far as the future of the cottage, although it isn't listed, I would like to have it restored one day and keep its history and all the memories going," he said.
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