In 1871, he returned to Ugley to design a shop and six cottages for a Mrs. Chamberlayne, the widow of Major General Chamberlayne, who lived nearby in Orford House.
On 4th April 1873, The Building News & Engineering Journal printed the following article: –
COTTAGES AT OAKLEY, NEAR BISHOP’S STORTFORD.
These cottages were erected in 1871, by Mrs. Chamberlayne, on her estate at Oakley, near Bishop’s Stortford, in the place of others dating from the sixteenth century. Tradition asserts that the original ones were formerly the old ” White Hart” Inn, with its stabling and out-buildings, but upon becoming too dilapidated for use as such, a fresh inn was built adjoining, the old premises being turned into cottages. The plan of some of the old buildings seems to confirm this statement: one story high, the floors of the bare earth, no windows to open, two rooms only in a cottage — such were some of the loading features of the old buildings; but, on the other hand, a decided picturesqueness must not be denied them.
In arranging the new buildings, an attempt has been made to avoid such discomforts, but at the same time not to forfeit natural picturesqueness.
Every cottage has an entrance lobby, out of which the staircase opens, a large sitting-room, a kitchen, larder, coal-cellar, w. c, and three bedrooms, except the cottage to the left of the middle block, which has only two bedrooms. All bedrooms have of course separate entrances from the staircase landing. The ground-floor rooms are 8ft. high, and the bedrooms 8ft. 6in. The larders and bedrooms, in addition to the ordinary means of changing the air, are ventilated. A laundry and bakehouse have been provided to be used by all.
The front cottage to the right is also the village shop, and has the addition of a good basement cellar. The shop is 16ft. by 14ft. and 9ft. high. In the kitchen of every cottage is a sink, placed against the external wall, the pipe from which is taken through the wall, and empties itself on a grating, from which it runs off into the drain ; this was done in order that there should be no unpleasant smell in the kitchen, where the family necessarily spend much of their time ; brick and slate traps in cement are everywhere used ; the sewage is conducted into cemented cesspools, one to each block, with overflow pipes to a fourth cesspool at a little distance, out of which it is intended to be pumped and used on the land.
There is a plentiful supply of good water. The rain-water from the roof is conducted into a tank in the centre of the quadrangle, and a well has been dug adjoining the tank, the two pumps, as seen in the drawing, being within one case.
Local features have been kept to in the design, and the materials which the neighbourhood supplies, red brick and tiles, made use of. The timber of the half-timbered work, and much of the other woodwork, such as doors, porches, &c., is of elm, and was grown on the estate. The upper floors are partly hung with plain tiles, partly plastered between the timbers, the plaster being pargetted, as is general in Essex.
The contract was carried out by Mr. Edward Brown, of Saffron Walden, from the designs of Mr. Alfred W. N. Burder, architect, 47, Manchester-street, Portman-square, W.
The cottages and shop, occupying what is today, known as the Square on Cambridge Street, are still extant and Grade II listed. The development consists of three sets of buildings, a detached shop, which operated as a post-office and dwelling; a pair of semi-detached cottages; a block of three cottages.
The Builder News, 4th April 1873
The old Post Office, which has long since closed, was offered for sale in 2014 for £575,000. The sales brochure, described it as “a beautiful four-bedroom grade II Listed detached property with a delightful rear garden approximately 0.7 acre. The property benefits from a host of period features, exquisite fixtures and fittings, open fireplace and solid wood doors. Outside there is ample parking with a double length garage and lovely views across open fields from the garden”. It possessed a cellar; an entrance hall, sun room, playroom, cloakroom, kitchen, dining room, lounge and study, all on the ground floor; with four bedrooms on the first floor.
The listing describes the old post office as:
Mid-19th century brick and part timber framed house. ‘T’ shaped plan form with ‘crosswing’ block at western end and lean-to extension at rear. The north front has a two-storey gabled porch. Roofs are gabled in plain tiling and most of ground floor is in red brick. Upper floors are part exposed timber frame with plaster infill or decorative brick nogging and some tile hanging and cross wing is jettied on the west side. Windows are contemporary casements with leaded lights. Two large 17th century style brick stacks with multangular shafts.
One of the semi-detached cottages was also offered for sale several years ago for £299,995 being described as having three bedrooms on the first floor, an entrance hall, reception room, kitchen/dining room, utility room, conservatory and bathroom on the ground floor; together with a 120ft. long garden.
The listing describes these semi-detached cottages (Nos. 6&7 The Square) as:
Mid-19th century pair of semidetached cottages omes (sic), part red brick and part exposed timber frame with plaster infill. The south elevation has two linked two storey gabled projections, with tile hung first floors. The roof is of peg tiles, half hipped, with a ‘gablet’ on the west and gabled to the east. Central 17th century style clustered shafted brick stack. Windows are contemporary casements with glazed bars and there are decorative panels of pargetting, brick nogging and arched window heads with shingled infill to the spandrels.
The remaining block of three cottages (Nos. 3-5) is described in the listing as:
Mid-19th century two storey block of three cottages in red brick with upper floors of red tile hanging. There is a hipped roofed ‘crosswing’ at the north end and a block at right angles projecting from the rear, near the centre. The front elevation has a lean-to, double porch in the centre with a brick plinth wall and turned baluster supports. Windows have segmental arched brick heads and are contemporary casements with glazed bars. There are two tile hung dormers on the west elevation and 17th century style red brick stacks.
The cost of building the cottages and shop was not inexpensive. The work was put out to tender with Mr. Edward Brown winning with a tender of £1,702 2s. 6d. against one from a Mr. Roberts of £2,200 and Cole Bros of £1,597.