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The house that lied about its age

Chatting to a neighbour (who shall remain anonymous), I discover that her house is considerably older than she thought it was when she bought it.  She knew it was old - maybe 18th century or so.   But having looked it over thoroughly and burrowed through some of the paperwork, she thinks that parts of it are 15th century, or possibly even earlier.

So, she checked her insurance.  And found that insuring very, very old houses is really rather expensive and difficult. It seems likely that at least the last two owners of the place have been a little discreet about its age, at least in public.  She plans to follow their example.

I wonder how many other houses this applies to.

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
helflaed
16th Jun, 2011 14:58 (UTC)
Other half's cousin and her husband have absolutely no idea how old their place is, but it is mentioned in the oldest records of the village, dating to the 1600s. Any older records, and probably most of the village as well, were destroyed in the 30 years war. They have found an entire room bricked up with valuables (such as the good furniture and cloth) bricked up and plastered over. It could, in places, be even older than 17th century, and it wouldn't surprise them in the slightest if it turned out to be the case.
bunn
17th Jun, 2011 08:28 (UTC)
Wow, that sounds exciting! My neighbour has not found anything as dramatic as a sealed room.

I was mostly amused by her being almost as annoyed as interested that the place was older than she had thought.
demon_rum
16th Jun, 2011 16:37 (UTC)
speaking as one who lives in one of the "newer" corners of the globe, and who lives in an apartment *almost* 100 years old (a fact that makes all my friends' eyes glaze over with delight at my ancient, ancient living room--crown moulding!), may I just say that by any standards a house from the 15th century kinda makes my head spin?

All relative, of course; when I studied in Rome I lived in the "new" apartment building in the piazza, the one built in the 1700s. Everything else had 2000 year old basements. Nothing like spending your evening smoking in a support vault of Pompey's Theatre to really put your lousy essay in perspective...
wellinghall
16th Jun, 2011 20:18 (UTC)
I suppose that one of the houses my father has lived in was post-1700 ...
bunn
17th Jun, 2011 08:44 (UTC)
Well, rather him than me. Much as I love old buildings, I feel that damp proof courses, proper foundations and double glazing have a great deal to commend them, particularly in January.
wellinghall
17th Jun, 2011 11:23 (UTC)
Damn' right. Give me a glowing radiator over a glowing fire any day.
bunn
17th Jun, 2011 11:42 (UTC)
I like a glowing fire when I am on holiday, and know that I shall only have to clear the grate a couple of times - in no rush - before going home!

During a working day, I like stuff to be more turn-off-and-onable.
bunn
17th Jun, 2011 08:38 (UTC)
Never been to Rome, but I went to Istanbul a few years ago : similar feeling of extreme mindboggling age. Photo in icon is a recycled medusa head in a sixth century cistern : I liked the fact that it was *re-used* in the sixth century, so was presumably 'that old medusa head' even then!

A lot of the lanes around here are probably even older - Iron Age - but I don't think you get quite the same feeling of 'Whoa! This is OLD!' from a lane, particularly when it's almost impossible to tell the Iron Age ones from the 19th century ones!
wellinghall
16th Jun, 2011 20:22 (UTC)
So, she checked her insurance. And found that insuring very, very old houses is really rather expensive and difficult. It seems likely that at least the last two owners of the place have been a little discreet about its age, at least in public. She plans to follow their example.

Although if she doesn't / didn't* tell the insurance company, making a claim could be difficult.

And found that insuring very, very old houses is really rather expensive and difficult.

God, I wonder what buildings cover costs for Belvoir Castle. And all the other buildings that are owned by the estate.

I wonder how many other houses this applies to.

I would guess a small but non-trivial proportion of houses have old bits in them.

*I'm not quite sure what position she is in.
bunn
17th Jun, 2011 10:04 (UTC)
I think she was going on the basis of being prepared to take a gamble on not being able to claim for anything specifically 15th-century related. Or at least, not necessarily demanding to replace like with like.

This is a house with double glazing and central heating, so it may well be 15th century in a 'my grandfather's axe' kind of way anyway.
endlessrarities
19th Jun, 2011 12:03 (UTC)
Ooh! All this talk of old buildings is making this building detective drool at the thought of blocked up rooms and hidden features!!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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