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Manor Cottage, Middleton Cheney

Manor Cottage was built as a farmhouse sometime during the 18th Century and was then known as Ivy Tree Farm. The original inglenook fireplace remains, inside of which is the salt cupboard and a cast iron door leading into the domed bread oven, which can best be seen from outside the house.
The current single storey kitchen was once an earthen-floored cowshed and where our guests now enjoy their breakfast used to be the farm's dairy. Although it has since been bricked up, there is still an arch in the stone wall through which milk churns would once have been lowered to cool in the cellar below the main house.
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During 1963 the then owners, the Law family, undertook considerable restoration of the house, removing the thatch and enlarging the upper floor. Attractive stone mullions were added together with a carved stone depiction of the religious symbol of the Agnus Dei (lamb and flag) above the front door. This was the device of the Middle Temple, a legal society in London which was given a charter in 1608 to occupy lands formerly owned by the Knights Templar. It is one of the four Inns of Court and still training barristers today. Perhaps the Laws chose the symbol as representative of their lives, as over generations they had been loyal and active members of the local Baptist Church and also ran a family legal practice in the nearby towns of Brackley and Buckingham.

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In the garden is a working well, the shaft of which drops some 30 feet, and as yet, has never run dry! A stone path (now mainly concealed beneath the lawn) leads from it to adjacent properties, in one case via an ancient doorway.
The remaining orchard in which there are several very old apple trees is all that is left of the land which used to stretch beyond the "washle", the stream in which the sheep were washed, at the bottom of where is now called Washle Drive.


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