Yew Tree Cottage

The sculptured yew tree that gives this cottage its name can be seen in many of the pictures of The Street at various stages of growth.


  Buried treasure is secret of Yew Tree Cottage   A young couple begged and borrowed to buy their dream home at Birdbrook near Haverhill.  Now the timber and thatched cottage has given up a 100-year-old secret that could end their money troubles.

While digging out the stone floors Michael and Susan Wrintmore unearthed a coroded container and 99 gold sovereigns worth more than £10,000.

Michael, 29, an aeronautical engineer, said, "I thought it was a kid's money box with just halfpennies in it.  When I found they were gold I knew it was buried treasure." 

The couple's first excitment has been tempered by the discovery there will now have to be a treasure trove inquest to decide the future of the coins which are at present being examined by the British Museum.

Braintree coroner, Dr. Charles Clark, said, "We will make some effort to trace the previous owners of the cottage, but unless the original owner of the coins turned up I would very much doubt that the couple would lose their fortune."

Michael and Susan and their baby son Paul are living in Dunmow Road, Bishop's Stortford, while renovating the 250-year-old Yew Tree Cottage.


The cuttings above and below we have no source or date for but a guess would be Haverhill Echo and 1970's.

The Plough

Please click for history of the Plough

Cottage next toThe Plough

The cottage below was once next to The Plough adjacent The Street (in Geordies garden).  Does anyone know what it was called? 

 The Old Post House

On the back of the postcard that these images come from the lady in the doorway was named as Elizabeth Rawlings, should it be Ralling?  It looked as though the store sold everything.  Thanks Keith for the scanning and enhancing. 







Above Birdbrook shop around 1950 apart from a new shop window and the addition of the post box very little had changed from the previous picture. The pictures above and below were sent to us by John Kendall whose grandparents Alice and Herbert Kendall ran the shop and post Office for many years.


Herbert Kendall at the rear of the shop 1963


Alice Kendall behind the counter

The Old Post House as it is today.

The School

Rent received by Birdbrook parish from the 1840's was used to educate poor children but it was not until 8th January, 1872 that a school board was formed.  This resulted in the school being built in the centre of the village in 1873 for 70 children and the adjacent mistress' house.

After 74 years the school was closed on 8th September, 1947.  The building was later demolished to make way for the Community House which now stands on the old school's foundations. The above photograph was taken in the early 1900's.

The text and photograph of school pupils for 1937 (see below) is taken from Schools and Scholars in Halstead and District by Mary Downey and Doreen Potts dated 1986.

The photograph shows Grace Hitchcock (School Headmistress) with husband Percy, ???, in the doorway and their daughters Ruth and Jean in the gateway.  Date 1927ish.  Thanks to Christine Smith for contacting us and naming her mothers family.

Grace and Percy Hitchcock with family in the front garden of the school house.  Date 1930ish?  Photograph sent to us by their grand daughter Christine Smith.

The Hitchcock family moved to the village school house in 1925 when Grace became the Headmistress.  Ruth, the eldest daughter, sadly was blind due to contracting meningitis when she was just a year old, this did not stop her achieving a place at Cambridge University and graduating with a First-class degree. 

From the Ruridecanal Magazine, September 1925:

THE DAY SCHOOL- We are glad to welcome the new schoolmistress, Mrs Hitchcock, to the village, and hope that she and her family will have a happy time amongst us.  She comes with excellent references and we feel sure that she will soon win the confidence and affection of the children.

Can anyone remember the Hitchcock family?  Please contact us if you can help with information, stories or maybe pictures either through the comments page or email

The above cutting comes from the Halstead Gazette, Friday, March 25, 2005. The water pump can still be seen in the corner of The Old Rectory's garden.

Birdbrook School, 1935, with the thanks to Mary Sare this picture has been passed around the village and we have now named several children.  Back row: Bill Swallow, Jimmy Barnes, Don Kendall, Harold Blyth, Tommy Hayes, Jack Wallis, Toby Hunt, Percy Coote, Unknown.  Middle Row: Unknown, John Coote, Unknown, Jean Coote, Unknown, Doreen Swallow, Unknown, Tim Ralling, Ted Wallis, Unknown.  Front row: Unkown, Unknown, Unknown, Marjurie Coote, Maud Ray.

Can you help us name the rest of the pupils?  Picture from The Kendall Family Collection.

Above Birdbrook School Football Team 1920/30ish, again thanks to Mary Sare's efforts we can now name all but three.  Back row:  Unkown, John Ford, Bert Travis, Eric Kendall, Unknown, Toby Hunt.  Front row:  Victor Manning, Victor Hinton, Albert Hinton, Bill Jay, Unknown.  Picture from The Kendall Family Collection.

Birdbrook School Football Team 1931/1932ish, thanks to Mary Sare we only have one name to find.  Back row:  Harold Blyth, Bill Jay, Eric Kendall, Jack Wallis, Victor Manning.  Middle Row:  Albert Peters, Tim Ralling, Henry Peters.  Front row:  Will Swallow, Unknown, Ted Wallis.   Can you help with the last name?  Picture from The Kendall Family Collection.

The Community House 

Click here on Community House for details and history.


The Old School House.


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