Avery Cottage (circa 1830)
photograph circa 1988
Avery Cottage which is now owned by Kris and Paul Woods, dates back to circa 1830 when it belonged to the Church Commissioners who held it for at least a hundred years. I have not yet found out its original function for the Church but it was let as a private residence in 1920 to John Paton Minchell. Mr Minchell bought the freehold in 1926 then sold it to Isabella Sams 1st April 1931 for the magnificent sum of £70. Mrs Sams took out a mortgage of £55 to make this purchase, then in 1934 she took out a further mortgage for £20 and agreed to repay it at the rate of two shillings and sixpence (25p) a month. The timing of this mortgage corresponds exactly with the timing of the building of an extension to the house and since the mortgage agreement was kept with the house deeds it is likely that this is what it was used for. In the aerial view of The Folly, Avery Cottage is the house backing onto the churchyard where the 1934 extension can vbe clearly seen to the right of the main old stonehouse.
Aerial View of The Folly, West Boldon, May 1991
The St Nicholas' churchyard wall dates back to Saxon times and contains stone which is believed to have been taken from former Roman structures. This was discovered when the wall was deemed to be unsafe by the Local Authority but before it was removed it was found by the experts to be of great historical interest and was therefor preserved.
Mrs. Sams died in 1957 and left the house to her son James William Bingham Sams who had lived there all of his life. When he died in 1982 he left a wife, Mary Elizabeth, who continued to live there till 1989 when she sold it to the present owners, Kris and Paul Woods for £50,000. Quite a remarkable increase in value since that of £70 in 1931. Woundn't it be great to time travel back to this time with £100 in your pocket?
Kris and Paul have a son Jack who is quite interested in the history of the house and has discovered in the grounds the remains of a wooden wagon way which runs down from the cemetery wall from a place where there has obviously been a gateway at some time in the past. This is the slope which can be seen in the top picture of the house. Perhaps this was a former entrance for carriages and hearses. Other pictures can be seen on the album "The Folly, West Boldon".