Leafield cottages

Most Field Towners were humble folk with few possessions. Many would have been too poor for an inventory to be made but the better off cottagers, the Surmon family are perhaps typical. John Surmon and his elder son Stephen lived in a pair of similar cottages in Purrants Lane built from the ruins of a mediaeval building in 1602 by John, who was a carpenter.

John lived in the cottage now known as Purrants Cottage, which in the last 150 years has been extensively rebuilt and extended. John’s inventory, made in 1625, does not say what was in each room, but lists all his tools including 2 saws, 2 axes, 3 augers, 2 chisels, a spoke shave, an adze, a square and 3 wedges. His goods were worth £5 2s 6d.

His son, Stephen, who lived in Dawn Cottage, was richer, the value of his inventory totaling £66 15s, but £50 10s of that was “money due upon land”. The house was of single-cell construction and consisted of a hall, chamber over the hall, a cockeloft above the chamber and a stable. Stephen died in 1671 and his wife Edith 4 years later. In the upstairs chamber they had a bedstead with a flock bed and bedding including 3 pairs of sheets, 2 chests or coffers and a press (an early type of cupboard). In the hall downstairs they had a table, a cupboard and a chair “with other small lumber”; this presumably included at least one stool, or only one of them would have been able to sit down at a time! Their brass and pewter is lumped together in the inventories but Edith’s will mentions a large brass kettle, 2 pewter platters, a brass pot and a brass warming pan.

 

Lower end pre 1905

 

Lower end post 1905