History - April Cottage (The Garden Cottages)
April & Garden Cottages 1983
APRIL AND THE GARDEN COTTAGES,
Nos.30 & 28, Fore Street.
Believed to be C/R 73
The house, now made up of April and The Garden
Cottages, was probably built as a small farmhouse during the prosperous times of
Ottermouth port in the late 1400ís. Otterton today has survivors of that
period in Anchoring and Houseterns Farmhouses; Horestones at Pinn; Pitson and
April/Garden was a 3 room through passage house, with open fire in the main hall
and has blackened roof timbers.
The earliest record seen is the 1779 Auction Prospectus for Otterton Manor
thus:- Lease No 73 John Mayne, messuage and tenement 15 ĺ acres Rent 12/- pa.
The lives were:- John Mayne 46, Mary Luckis, now Hooper 45.
John Mayne died in 1781/85? and by his Will left his leases in Otterton to his
nephew Oliver Carter. Johnís sister Susanna was married to Olivers father,
John Carter of Harpford. Mary Luckis may also have been Johnís sister. He and
his father, John Mayne senr, had been holding leases in Otterton at least since
1737. John snr.was married to Agnes, who may have been a Luckis. Luckis
Tenement, now Rydon Farmhouse, was held by the Luckis or Lucas family from 1707
(the date on the house lateral stack) and are named in Otterton in 1613 (Malt
Book). John Mayne leased it in 1751. By 1779 it was held by Matthew Butson.
Both the Mayne and Lucas families came from East Budleigh. Both are named on the
1524 Subsidy Roll and further Rolls during the 16th.century. There is a remote
chance that the Lucasí had April/Garden Cottage built. John Lukeys is named as
importing goods into Ottermouth in 1318. Lucas were shipbuilders in Otterton in
The Land Tax Returns from 1781 to 1832 indicate that one of the leases conveyed
by the Maynes to Oliver Carter C/R No. Was known as Braddicks. This family are
first mentioned in 1694 when William was appointed Churchwarden for Otterton.
During the early 18th.century they held small farms in Pitson and Northmostown
and probably also held the cottages in Fore Street.
The 1790 Survey lists C/R 73 thus:- Oliver Carter
a messuage and tenement, divided in 1801 15 ĺ acres. The dwelling house, barn,
home orchard and Rydon orchard held by Oliver Carter and the other part of the
house was let, tenant not known. The lives were members of the Carter family.
Oliver Carter died 1829, and the cottages passed to Mary, his daughter, now Mrs.
Oldridge. She died in 1841. Her tenants were Hermon Robins, farmer and William
Sandford, tailor. The latter was living and had his shop in one half of the
house to 1857. He was also Parish Clerk. Hermon Robins moved from the other half
to Clapps (Basclose) by 1850. His father Richard Robins had been farming there
from 1825. Hermon was followed by his brother Sherman until 1880ís. He was a
wheelwright and carpenter, but was probably working for the Bakers wheelwright
business at Bramley Cottage.
1930ís April/Garden with
Albert Smith carrying garden produce
The next record we have seen is the Estate Survey of
1911. Albert Smith is renting the building, which appears to be one house again
(£7.6/3d). He is listed in Kellys Directory for 1902 as a market gardener and
entering his daughter Olive at Otterton School in 1904. He appears in
Directories to 1939 and to all accounts had a flourishing business with
glasshouses on his land behind the cottages. Albert Smith died in 1954 (age 79)
and his family continued to live in half the house, now known as ďThe GardensĒ
on the east side (1956/1961). The west side was known as The Cottage at this
time, the Andrews family living there. The Smith family lived in The Gardens.
The cottages were sold by the Estate in 1976 and Mr,& Mrs Ron Butler moved
into the newly named April Cottage and Mr.& Mrs. Martin Perryman into The
Cottage, Fore Street
Albert George & Bessie Smith at
the front gate of The Gardens now known as April Cottage.
Photographs provided by Robin Smith
& Gerald Millington