West Street Cottage
- Updated On:
- September 25, 2023
- Year Built: 1790
- Historic House
- Listed Status
- 2 Bedrooms
- 2 Bathrooms
This pretty Grade II-listed detached cottage is believed to date from the late-18th or early-19th century. Located in the heart of Fontmell Magna, opposite the village’s beautiful church, the cottage is brilliantly placed for walks in Dorset’s bucolic countryside. Well located, the village has its own shop and post office, and is a short drive from Gillingham, which has direct trains to London Waterloo station in under two hours. Dorset’s exceptional coastline is also approximately 35 miles from the village. Surrounded by a lovely garden, the house has a sun-drenched south-facing terrace and far-reaching views over rolling countryside, including the rounded hill of Fontmell Down.
The cottage is constructed from stone, under a thatched roof. An Edwardian stable block, built using brick under clay roof tiles, was incorporated into the house in 1925. Over the years the cottage and its stables have had many lives, including as a shop (which gave the house its two unusually large windows,) a bicycle repair shop, and a garage. At one time, it was used as a clay pigeon shooting club.
A large tree, termed the Gossips – or Preacher’s – tree by locals, sits outside on the small green and is central to the village. At one stage May Day celebrations were held around it; pilgrims making their way to Shaftesbury Abbey would stop to pray and take alms from the house opposite. This is where the unique name of this cottage – Gossips Tree Cottage – originates from.
The house and neighbouring stables became one after the sale of the Glynn estate in 1925. Gossips Tree also purchased further land from the adjacent Reading Rooms (now Christmas Cottage) and by 1947 the property was under one ownership. The owner holds all of the old parchment deeds.