The original dwelling on the site of Passford House was here by 1555, the second year of the reign of ‘Bloody’ Mary Tudor, the eldest child of Henry VIII. The house was almost certainly constructed from the nearness of the ford, no form of life being sustainable without a good and constant supply of water.

The names of the earliest occupants are lost to us. Although we know their cottage was small and not by modern standards prepossessing, it was nonetheless a house of importance. Nearly all dwellings constructed before 1750 were considered grand houses in their day, not least because by modern standards the number of people needing a place to live was small. When the first structure on the site of Passford House was put up there were only about three-and-a-half million people in England and Wales – half the population of modern-day London – of whom more than half were the labouring poor. The poor either lodged with their employers or were housed in flimsy huts. These cabins lasted no more than a generation or two before they needed rebuilding.

In 1841- the fourth year of the reign of Queen Victoria and the year Charles Dickens published The Old Curiosity Shop – what is now Passford House was still no more than a small, unnamed cottage. It stood more or less where the oldest part of the modern building now stands and it may have been incorporated into it when the present house was constructed by Lord Arthur Cecil in about 1888.

Have we got your attention………

Read all about Lord Arthur Cecil next time.

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