Little Thetford .org

Information & History of Little Thetford

The latest village newsletter is now online. If you’re in the village – a printed copy should have already come through your door.

The Parish Council has applied to East Cambridgeshire District Council to reduce the number of Parish Councillors from nine to seven.  This process requires the District Council to set up a Community Governance Review and to publish its “Terms of Reference”.

A PDF version of  these “terms of reference” can be found on the EDCD web site community review page under related publications. For your convenience, we provide a link to the formal notice (PDF 32.65 KB) and a link to the the terms of reference (PDF 118.35 KB). The terms of reference are also posted on the village hall inside noticeboard or may be viewed by contacting,  Robert Bullen, Parish Council Chairman on 01353 649268.

The latest village newsletter is now online. If you’re in the village – a printed copy should have already come through your door.

Poster for 'Hospice at Home'event

Poster for ‘Hospice at Home’event

The B4′s are playing at the Little Thetford village hall on Saturday 12 April 2014 between 7:30 pm and 11:30 pm. This fund-raising gig is in aid of the Arthur Rank ‘Hospice at Home’ service.

Each £10 ticket can only be purchased in advance. For details, call the fundraising office on 01223 723115 or 07900 504841.

When you attend the event, please send us some photos.

The latest village newsletter is now online. If you’re in the village – a printed copy should have already come through your door.

ECDC recycling leaflet

ECDC recycling leaflet

Our new, er large, wheelie bins have arrived. If your leaflet got a soaking during the rain which occurred during delivery, you may view or print the leaflet by clicking the image on the right.

The July leaflet from East Cambridgeshire District Council describing the new wheelie bins service is reproduced here. You may recall we discussed this service in October last year and more recently in February this year.

The latest village newsletter is now online. If you’re in the village – a printed copy should have already come through your door.

Included in this newsletter is a questionnaire about improvements to the recreational facilities provided for 10–16 age group which the parish council has asked be completed by Little Thetford residents. A copy of the questionnaire can be found here. Follow the instructions to respond to the questionnaire. Unfortunately, there is no way (at present) to complete the questionnaire online.

The Horseshoes (left background), c. 1906

The Horseshoes (left background), c. 1906

Bob Young sends us this document which follows a visit by Mac Dowdy to the Horseshoes. Mac suggests that the main part of the house is over 500 hundred years old!

25th July 2013


One and half storeys: ground floor with dormers.

The sills of the dormers are at WALL-PLATE level, and not on the slope of the roof, indicating an early introduction into the house; c.1620–40.

The main range is a single span wide, but longer than the customary long-house. The roof is thatched with classical long straw capping along the ridge. The alignment is roughly North–South. The roof describes two levels of ridge, the North very slightly higher than the South. Their ratios are 1:1 and like two adjacent 18th century cottages (but the interior shows them not to be).

Two chimneys, one integral with the North gable end, the other placed in a ridge position, centrally to the slightly lower South part of the house. They are of basic 19th century proportions, but could be of any age from the 1880s.

All windows are modern (post early 19th century), sashes or half sashes all but one have segmental heads, a shape supported by the thatch with the dormers. The odd one cut a flat horizontal—and could easily have been a door.

Features on the West garden side echo the street front in style. There are modern additions including an extension.


Low ceilings throughout, and revealed timbers in the quarters except the kitchen. The kitchen has been modernized but the proportions remain no later than the early 18th century. It is indoubtably an extension keeping to the existing dimensions. Anyone creating a modern extension as early as 1910 would be likely to use the current modernizing fashions.

None of the construction ceiling patterns in TIMBER are later than the first quarter of the 17th century. The two chimney-pieces have no easily-seen datable materials, but their positions within their end walls (and not abutting from the exterior) give them a date close to 1600.

The ground floor plan indicates six constructional bays; which is a lot by most standards.

Ground floor plan of The Horseshoes

Ground floor plan of The Horseshoes

The tie-beam and the boxed-in replacement tie-beam are conservatively about 1520, but the slender joists between them are about 200 years later—about 1720 remodeling or improvement, that’s A and B. C is an axial beam of very early 17th century date—if providing an upper storey at the same time as the introduction of brick chimneys. The proportions of the joists could be as early as 1560–70. I would have expected D to have joists positioned like the A/B (probably of older proportion joists—not replacements). This section could easily have been two storey from inception.


Adding to the exterior information. The small area of brick-work I examined was clearly in alternating course of headers (the ends) and stretchers (the lengths). This is English bond (see brickwork), which became fashionable about 1580s until the 1640s. Brick was very expensive until the last quarter of the 17th century.


I feel sure that it is not easy to imagine the Horseshoes without, or out of, its present surrounding. Its environment. The first thing to do is to remove the road and this junction. Then throw out all houses not giving the slightest clue to existing about 1500. If you have not done this then the villagers might like take a walk through the streets some evening and attempt to discover the place where they live.

Even without a thorough survey this house reveals itself to be a significant building of social and economic importance to the settlement by 1500. It is a hall-house of substance, more than likely the manor house to St George’s Church. Timber-framed with no brickwork, therefore no chimneys. Simply an open to the rafters hall, with a central floor-hearth, and two storeys at each end. It is unlikely to be an inn.

Around 1600 the open hall had the axial-beam introduced and it got its complete upper story. The introduction of the brick chimney-pieces and possibly the casting in English bond took place around this time. Certainly in the early 18th century restoration and changes to the proportion and appearance of windows took place. It may have become an inn about this time with the development of roads and coach travel.

The July 2013 thoughts of Mac Dowdy of Architectural Research Group, Wolfson College, Cambridge.

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Gus goes gas

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Gus Pretorius during training.

Gus Pretorius during training.

Enterprising Gus Pretorius of The Wyches, Little Thetford, has worked in Information Technology (IT) for most of his life. At 47 Gus decided that he no longer enjoyed sitting behind a desk every day and getting paid only for using his brain and fingers. He reduced his IT work to four days a week in July 2012 so that he could work as a gas engineer for the fifth day of each week. Gus first qualified to install and service oil boilers because, he says “Our village uses oil and it made sense to do some work while I continued my gas training”.

At the end of November 2012 Gus resigned from his IT employment. Gus is now self-employed and registered with OFTEC (oil) and also Gas Safe. He is qualified to install and service gas boilers, gas fires and cookers.

Gus can be contacted via his web site Ely Central Heating Services.

The attached photo shows Gus during his training where he is setting the gas burner pressure of a newly installed boiler so the gas is burned correctly without producing dangerous carbon monoxide.

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The latest village newsletter is now online. If you’re in the village – a printed copy should have already come through your door.