White House (The)
The White House dates to at least the 16th century and possibly earlier, for the cellars of the house are medieval and there is a theory that they are connected to the Church by an underground passage, now bricked up, which was used by smugglers. The back of the house is 16th century, but the front white painted brick elevation was added in the early 19th century.
In the 19th century (and 20th century), The White House was known both as Park Cottage and Lower Park Cottage. It was referred to as Park Cottage in the 1870 Sales Particulars of Hall Place (held in Leigh Archive) and in the 1871 census. By the 1881 census it is referred to as Lower Park Cottage (and still so in the 1911 census), perhaps to distinguish it from the more recently built Park Cottage (later Park House) located next to the Goat House pub/Porcupine House.
The 1841 Tithe Map shows that all the lower part of today’s White House garden was open ground included in the triangle by the bus stop and the path to Church Hill started opposite Orchard House. On 5th October 1852 Thomas Farmer Baily (1824-1876) proposed to the Vestry that the brick wall that he was building between the Park and the High Street be extended and that there should be a straight pathway from the road to the churchyard gate. This was agreed and the wall was extended to the stone and brick pillar on the corner by Church hill, thus enclosing the lower part of The White House garden.
In the 1870 Sales Particulars referred to above, “Park Cottage” is described as a comfortable residence, built of brick and tile, part weatherboard, containing 9 rooms and a cellar, with good garden, chaise house, 2 stall stable, with loft over, brick and tile, newly erected, and wood shed, timber and tile. It was situated on an area of 1 rood and 13 perches. It was described as in the occupation of Dr Cresswell, a yearly Michaelmas tenant, at a rent of £30 per annum. (Although Dr Cresswell is named as the tenant, it is unclear for how long, if at all, Dr Cresswell lived in the village: Dr Nathaniel Engleheart Cresswell had been selected to replace Dr Charles Gregory after the latter’s death in 1869. But it appears that Dr Cresswell never took up the post. By 1871 he is a doctor in Sidlesham, Sussex).
According to Lawrence Biddle, in 1851 The White House was tenanted by Henry Barden, widower aged 61, whom he describes as a Steward, presumably at Hall Place, although the property was owned by Humphrey Constable (and was sold on his death to Thomas Baily in 1867). In the 1858 Melville’s Directory, Henry Barden Senior is described as a Farmer. It is not clear from the 1841 and 1861 censuses which household is that of Park Cottage. Occupiers become clearer from 1870 onwards. As mentioned above, at the time of the sale to Samuel Morley in 1870 the tenant was Dr Cresswell. In 1871 the occupier was George Dixon, Doctor of Medicine; 1881 Mr Maxted, Minister of Leigh Chapel; in 1891 James Richards, Dissenting Minister; in 1901 James Graham, retired private secretary; and 1911 Charles Davis, Superintending Institute.
In the 1914 Kellys directory it appears occupied by Alfred Sales. Then known as Park Cottage, the Rev. Bill Simmons remembered that when you went in the front door there was a small lounge on the right and the dining room was on the left. Leading off the kitchen where the family ate was a tool room where his grandfather worked – Arthur Sales, the Hall Place Engineer. Kath Fautly remembered working there as a cook.
On 11 November 1955 the Hall Place Estate sold Park Cottage into private hands. “Conveyance dated 11 Nov 1955 Rt Hon Geoffrey Hope Baron Hollenden; Claude Hope Hope Morley; Lawrence Austin Biddle and Walter Brindy Worboys and Annett Isobel Worboys piece of land with the abuttals and boundaries thereof together with the messuage and buildings erected thereon or on some part thereof respectively and known as Park Cottage”.
The Worboys lived at Park Cottage until about 1994/95 and at some point changed its name to the White House. The current owners have lived at the White House since 1994/95.
March 2015: Joyce Field
Lawrence Biddle: Leigh in Kent 1550-1900
Censuses 1841-1911: Historical Directories
Hall Place Estate Sales Particulars 1870
Epitome of Title: Hall Place Estate Documents