My great great grandfather John Kingshott eventually settled down in a lovely cottage in the woods, at a hamlet called Gatwick, near Shackleford, Surrey, England.
Kingshott Cottage, as it subsequently became known, was originally built in the mid 1700's and had remained largely untouched since that time. However, by the late 1890's the house was becoming very cramped due to the growing number of children present. As a result of this, an extension was built.
The house had no water or electricity until 1948 and John's children used to queue for meals by sitting on the stairs. It was not as bad as it sounds as although there were at least 19 children, by the time the little children came along the older ones had grown up and started to move out. It was still said to be fairly cramped at times.
This photograph used as the header for this website was taken in front of the cottage. It was on the occasion of my great-great grandparent's Golden Wedding in 1929. You can recognise the cottage in the background.
Shortly before his death in 2002, the famous wood craftsman Jim Kingshott (really called Raymond) saw a website - the Shackleford Village Website - that talked about Kingshott Cottage. He wrote the following letter to the website owner and sent a copy to me. I have edited it and also added bits that Jim told me verbally to give a picture of what it was like. He wrote:-
"I am Raymond Kingshott the son of Finisher Coronation Kingshott. In the late 1940s I was apprenticed as a carpenter and joiner at A J Tracy & Co Ltd. One of my most memorable jobs was working on the conversion of Kingshott Cottage. At that time we lived at Cutt Mill so father was still close to his roots. He was most annoyed when granny Kingshott's cellar was filled with rubble and concreted over. She used to have a larder down there where she salted the bacon from the pigs that she killed herself. She would have been really angry that it had all been filled in and she was certainly a little ball of fire! A pump was installed in the kitchen connected to the well outside. Every evening father would cycle to the cottage and spend half an hour pumping by hand to fill the tank in the roof. There was a small barn where the garage now is. A generator was installed in this building and it supplied electricity to light the cottage. The extension was added by Lord Midleton when my grandparents with all their children moved from Lurgashall. The extension was not completed when they moved in. The builders were burning off cuts of wood in the living room grate and my father at the age of three went to sleep in front of the fire. A large spark jumped from the fire and stuck to his face leaving a prominent scar, which he carried to his dying day. In the soft brickwork beside the front door there were the initials FCK cut fairly deeply, I would think they are still there. The bit about the body in the well on your web site is the first I have heard of it. The bottom of the well was renovated and cleaned when the pump was installed and apart from a few frogs nothing else was found"
I have visited Kingshott Cottage myself a few years ago and found the owners to be very kind and accommodating. They were so used to various descendants coming down and having a look around that they have a visitors book, which goes back to the 1970's! You can view some of the pages of that book here. Sadly, however, the house came up for sale a couple of years ago now, and it has new owners. I hope that they are as accommodating.
Part of my Kingshott archive includes the sales brochures for Kingshott Cottage, for the last two occasions, it was sold.
It is certainly a very desirable house, tucked away in the woods. If I win the lottery, which, of course, I will one day, one of my first tasks would be to make the current owners an offer for it!