The cottage with five lives: Open hall built in Middle Ages that went on to ...

Cats have nine lives but some homes have almost as many – if you only know where to look. 

Take, for instance, The Old Post Office in Kings Worthy, Hampshire, which was originally built as an open hall in the Middle Ages and has since undergone several dramatic transformations.

In the 1750s, it became the farmhouse of James Spearing, alderman and mayor of Winchester. It was turned into the first post office in Hampshire almost a century later, and then operated as a bakery until 1929. 

For the past ten years, it has been the family home of lawyer Martin Barrett, who loves all the subtle historical detailing that can be traced throughout his home.

The Old Post Office (pictured) in Kings Worthy, Hampshire, which was originally built as an open hall in the Middle Ages

The Old Post Office (pictured) in Kings Worthy, Hampshire, which was originally built as an open hall in the Middle Ages

‘It’s a big property but it looks small from the outside,’ he explains. ‘When you come in, you can see it’s like two cottages coming together to form an L-shape. And what’s really nice is the walls are thick and the house sits on very light foundations, so it has a warm feeling throughout.’

The Grade II listed six-bedroom property may date back centuries, but internally it has plenty of contemporary mod cons. For example, a brand new kitchen and bathrooms have been installed.

After a very happy decade at the house, the Barretts are now selling because their children have all grown up

After a very happy decade at the house, the Barretts are now selling because their children have all grown up

During the renovation work, the house’s former use as the village bakery was particularly highlighted. ‘Above the kitchen there was an attic room where they used to store flour and so on, and there was a window in there where they used to hoist the flour bags up,’ Martin says.

‘We changed that by putting in an internal staircase in the kitchen to the storeroom above, and converting that room into a little en suite.

The Grade II listed six-bedroom property may date back centuries, but internally it has plenty of contemporary mod cons

The Grade II listed six-bedroom property may date back centuries, but internally it has plenty of contemporary mod

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