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Cedar Grange - Cedar Road

Cedar Grange was built early in the seventeenth century. It was originally a tall house, two storeys and attic, with an imposing axial stack. It stood three bays wide just away from the green and faced south. Later,in the next century, a low range was added to the left and a single bay outshut of one storey with attic to the right rear. During the nineteenth century a two-storey porch was built on the front and the outshut was replaced with a ridged roof and gable. The axial stack was replaced by two cross stacks each carrying three tall octagonal shafts. It was called Lynch Green Cottage in the days of the green, Grange Farm following the nineteenth-century additions, and now, Cedar Grange after the cedar of Lebanon growing at the front by the gate.

The brickwork is Flemish bond with the exception of the bay to the right of the porch and its return gable. These retain their original build in English bond on a flint plinth. Tiles are plain on the front three bays and the rest are pantiles. The gables of the early range, the porch and the rear bay right, are crowstepped. Windows at the front are mostly sash and several openings are under brick arches. The porch has its door set within a four-centred chamfered brick arch and other openings including Gothic lights, are set under square hood moulds. Openings on the gables show signs of earlier windows. The French door to the ground floor and sash above are nineteenth century, and openings to the right under brick arches have an early casement to the ground floor with later sashes above. All gable openings are decorated with recent square hood moulds in wood. Various extensions to the rear are all in colourwashed brick. Some fine period pine joinery inside includes sash windows with their folding shutters, panelled doors and stairs with twist balasters.

The early inhabitants of the property are not known, but we do know that in 1791 a John Luke Iselin was buying land in Hethersett which included this cottage. He was born in Basel, Switzerland, and with his wife Margaret, became an English national in 1772. He was a partner of a Norwich firm of wool-staplers, Patteson and Iselin, and in 1783 was living in St Giles - Broad Street, Norwich. He played an active part in the campaign for land enclosure as it was said that "the grounds in their present state were incapable of improvement" and it was after the Enclosure Act in 1798, that he not only owned Lynch Green Cottage but also built a mansion which is probably Hethersett Hall. This latter had a coach house, stables, cottage, lawn and gardens, a total of around 30 acres. He also had part of the Great Common allotted to him under the Enclosure Award, which he sold to Sir John Lombe, of Great Melton, in 1800.

After his death in 1816, at the age of 70, the cottage, by then updated to a farm, the mansion house and a further small cottage were auctioned. By the terms of his will, most of the proceeds of his estate went to his family in Switzerland, but he left some of the money for his old housekeeper, Sarah Addey, and some to a farmer and his wife by the name of Eke in Hethersett. He also requested that his coffin be not screwed down until putrefaction had set in! A memorial stone to him can be seen in the floor of the parish church.

In 1838, 110 acres of Cedar Grange land was gifted by Spooner Nash to his daughter Ann Nash.

Occupiers of the house in the twentieth century were the Bainbridges from 1908 until 1916 and Judge Charles Herbert-Smith from 1922 until 1934.

Outside to the rear of the house, two wells had been sunk close to the range which is once thought to have been used as a dairy. In the last fifty years some of the land around the property has been developed for housing, but estimates of the ages of trees which would have been in the garden of the big house indicate the enthusiastic tree planting which must have taken place. The cedar by the front gate is 5.65m in circumference and is a fine specimen. Its age is estimated as around 190 years and it could have been planted by J. L. Iselin himself. Later occupants would have planted the sweet chestnut (girth 3.35 m) about 1880, a copper beech (girth 2.52 m) about 1892 and, around 1917 a rare semi-evergreen oak, a Turner's oak (girth now 2.07 m).

See also the Then and Now feature by clicking here.