Darrington Cottage, Jail Lane

A short way down Jail Lane on the left is a building called Darrington Cottage. Originally the Jail Lane Farm Cottage. This photo was sent to me by Richard Hards, who's family use to live there in the early part of the 20th century. Richard writes:

Darrington Cottage, Jail Lane. The sitter is thought to be Jane Wallis (widow Brinn, née Sawyer) widow of William Wallis who farmed at Costain's Farm. Jane's daughter Eunice was married to the farm manager Reuben Smith and lived at Darrington. Jane Wallis died in 1905. The photograph was very possibly taken by William Nelson who arrived in Biggin Hill in 1903. The house has subsequently been extended to the west. Photograph now the property of Nicola Combel (née Smith).

(There are more connections to Darrington, and Crown Ash Cottage, on 'Lower Hook Farm' page.)

Nicola Combel


The present owners of Darrington Cottage are Norman and Rita McKay. Rita, and dog Jack, are sitting in the same positions as Jane Wallis, and her dog, were more than 100 years before.The cottage still looks in good condition and, from this angle, has changed very little. The veranda has gone and the windows are new (as you'd expect) but it's now a little larger with extensions to the side and rear. Norman showed me the deeds to the house and there has only been 5 owners since it was built in the late 1800's. One previous owner was a local thatcher.

Tony Lewis 2011


Once I'd taken the photo I noticed that the front door looked familiar. Looking at the old photograph I thought it might have been the original door. On closer inspection (and I thank Norman and Rita for their patients whilst I closely examined their front door for clues) I noticed a mark on the inside just under the lock. It would appear that it IS the original door and it has been turned around so it now opens inwards.


Tony Lewis 2011


One final piece of the jigsaw, I had an email from Edwina Brown saying that her great grandfather, William Hallam built this cottage when he moved down to Biggin Hill from Yorkshire. She asked if I could check with the deeds to confirm this. Sure enough, Norman confirmed that William Abraham Hallam did indeed buy this cottage on 11th November 1884.

And where in Yorkshire did William come from? From a small village called Darrington of course.