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The Grange

Until recently The Grange had been listed as being of architectural and historical interest and is a timber framed and rendered house believed to have been built around 1720.

In 1883, Joseph Smith, a local builder, bought the Grange and took over the adjoining joinery yard and sawmill for his own building business. He built Temples in 1890, on adjacent land, but this was demolished to construct Bellfield Road. The Grange then had a larger front garden and porch (see photograph below). He prospered until WW1 but then closed down when he retired and became a Justice of the Peace. From 1911 to 1947 The Grange was the home of Hugh Page, the auctioneer at Witham's cattle market which was then on the site of the current Labour Hall just across the railway bridge from The Grange.

In common with a lot of property in this area at that time, it was in a very sorry state of repair after World War II and up to the 1960s when the attempt was made to demolish it.

Former occupiers have claimed it was originally just called 'Grange' and also have evidence that the building contains 'pre-1500 timbers'. Canon Luard lived there and later the Luard family lived there until the early 1970s. The attempt was made to demolish the building at that time, and most of the roof was removed, but a preservation order was made in time (listed Grade II) and the house was restored.

It has recently been de-listed, but has been refurbished as a boutique Bed & Breakfast, and then as a wedding venue, but it is currently under threat of redevelopment in conjunction with Ramsden Mills carpet retail warehouse behind.

Sources: Witham & Countryside Society; Fenn Wright; Cyril Taylor; Janet Gyford.

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