Thursday, December 9, 2021

Website of the Week 2021 – @littlethatchedhouse

Instagram account @littlethatchedhouse shares amusing videos and quaint pictures about life in one of Britain’s smallest detached houses; the videos of cars being “attacked” by stones are hilarious

In December 2016, when we featured the sale of what could be Britain’s smallest Grade II listed detached house, our then resident troll ‘Julie’ predictably offered just two words of description in response: “Utterly vile,” but in the time since the more sane majority have unsurprisingly fallen in love with it.

 

Now featured on Instagram on a page by the name of @littlethatchedhouse, the 258 square foot (24 square metre) The Round House at Stanton Drew in Somerset has over 10,300 followers and its owner, Katherine, has posted 883 images and videos relating to it. She declares on her handle that the account is about: “Life in a unique 18th century thatched Toll House in Somerset – a good sense of humour is required to enjoy this account.”

 

Offered back in 2016 for the bargain price of just £110,000 and then subsequently in November 2018 for £140,000, the 11’10” by 11’10” (4-metre by 4-metre) thatched 18th century cottage in the middle of a traffic island is now the scene of dramas involving cars reversing into stones and badgers and pheasants traversing the garden – all of which get documented on the @littlethatchedhouse account.

 

The Round House Stanton Drew 2
When last for sale, The Round House (AKA @littlethatchedhouse on Instagram), near Bristol in Somerset featured in the ‘MailOnline’ and was described as being “smaller than a school bus or train carriage.” The paper added: “With internal dimensions of less than twelve feet there is just about enough room to swing a cat in the Stanton Drew property – but probably not two cats.”
The Round House Stanton Drew 3
This floorplan of the @littlethatchedhouse provides illustration of just how tiny the 258 square foot house truly is.
Stone attack The Round House Stanton Drew
One of many “stone attacks” recorded on the @littlethatchedhouse Instagram account. In this case, the perpetrator tried and failed to steal one of the stones from outside the property and also managed to wreck their car in the process. The video – available here – is a must watch.
Stone attacks The Round House Stanton Drew 2
Further examples of “idiot drivers” and their encounters with the now infamous stones at The Round House, Stanton Drew are regularly shared on the Instagram account. Watch the respective videos here and here.
Badger The Round House Stanton Drew
The @littlethatchedhouse account also records nocturnal visitors to the property – amongst them badgers.

Of one such “attack on the stones” that border the @littlethatchedhouse, Katherine declared:

 

“The attempted stone napping… The first go was an attempt to render the stone unconscious, but it ran out of the way just in time and managed to hide when the passenger got out to search for it.”

 

“However, on the second attempt the stone couldn’t move quick enough and was knocked unconscious before the attempt to bundle it into the waiting getaway car was made – but thankfully it was too heavy and lives to fight another day.”

 

Within the last year, the BBC’s Andy Bennett conducted an interview at The Round House about her life there. In the 15:50-minute segment about her home and @littlethatchedhouse Instagram account, Katherine stated:

 

“I literally say: ‘I live in a house in the middle of the road.’ People look at me a little bit strangely and I say: ‘I literally do and its three roads; one at the top and one either side and it’s just a triangle in the middle.”

 

“It is a little white house. It’s got a thatched roof. It’s a one-up, one-down and it was built in 1793 and was originally used as a toll house – hence the location. It was a toll house for just over 80 years and then it was turned into a house.”

 

“The stories are that families of eight to ten people lived here. Apparently, the children lived up in the loft, that’s where they slept… Two of us live in this house now.”

 

“I’ve been here nearly two years. I bought this house because I was looking for something affordable in the area and there isn’t anything… It is very pricey this area and this house was in the right place, at the right time and in reality it was very little more than a one bedroom house in Shepton Mallett on a housing estate.”

 

“Originally, I’ve lived in Somerset before and again. So, originally I came from Wiltshire… I was living in Somerset, in this same area, living with a boyfriend who turned out to be a bit of a plonker… I’ve tidied that version up just for radio… It’s much nicer [here] without him.”

 

“My daughter is at the local school, I work local and I needed somewhere that is on the bus route so my daughter could carry on her GCSEs and was looking for something affordable.”

 

“This [the @littlethatchedhouse] came up. It was on the market in November, it was October, with a local agent in Chew Magna. It was a holiday let at the time. It’s been a holiday let for quite a long time, I think.”

 

“I bought it with the contents included, so it was ready to move into. It had knives and forks, a kettle, a toaster, the bed was here. It’s a different sofa now, so everything was ready to walk into. A TV, the lot… I literally bought it lock, stock and barrel.”

 

“When it first came on, I looked it and I phoned my step-mother and I said to her: ‘Am I stark raving mad to even consider this house?’ It was advertised as being the size of a train carriage or something in square feet.”

 

“She said: ‘No, you’re not.’ She said she used to live nearby and her childminder used to live in the village and so she used to come through here on the way from wherever she lived and dropped her child off and then go on to work in Bath.”

 

“She used to come past the [@littlethatchedhouse] most days and was always fascinated by it and she said: ‘You’re not mad. If you’re going to look at it, can I come with you?’ so the agents, because it was a holiday let, did a day of viewings and we came over to see it.”

 

“When I walked in, I thought, yeah, it’s the size it is, it is what it is and then I went in and went upstairs. It’s totally different upstairs, it’s got a big vaulted ceiling. You’re really high up and I was just like ‘wow, actually this is perfectly doable.’”

 

“Everybody knows it… It’s really famous. Everybody knows it. It’s really sweet because people from Instagram, they message [the @littlethatchedhouse account] and your read different comments people are putting on different posts that people have put up. People always remember it as whatever they have called it. They’ve called it ‘The Mushroom House’ or ‘The Toadstool House’ or ‘The Witch’s House’; all sorts of funny little names.”

 

“This is my own little sanctity; I’ve got my own little island in the middle of the fields. For the percentage of time it is busy with cars and the percentage that it’s not, the time that it is not massively outweighs the time that it is.”

 

“I think you just get used to [the noise] and because it’s not constant, you sort of get ‘rush hour.’ I know when I wake up, I can tell you what time it is by how much traffic is outside. The airport, particularly, that brings the early traffic… And then you’ve got rush hour. It’s probably not a good time to go and mow the lawn at rush hour. You just sort of work round it.”

 

“I absolutely love it for the charm of what it is and I think: ‘Could you extend in some way and make it a little bit bigger and just move the door from the front to the side… Things like that and I think, no, it’s just the charm of it, it is what it is.’”

 

“I came here because it had to serve a functional purpose in a desperate situation… I’ve just absolutely fallen in love with it. I talk to this house when I come in. ‘Well hello housey, how are you?’ You know, that’s the feeling it gives you.”

 

“People have called it ‘Hagrid’s House’ from Harry Potter, er, ‘Ron Weasley’s House’… There’s plenty of spiders for ‘em.”

 

“With lockdown, particularly this year, lots of people have found it and been stopping and taking photos. I do get a bit narky about people coming on the lawn, I have to admit. That does get me. All the time, it gets me a bit chopsy. I think some people genuinely don’t realise it’s a house. I think some people, some people say: ‘I thought it was there for the tourists’ and then this angry lady comes out and says: ‘Excuse me!’”

 

“I love people coming here, standing here taking photos, but there’s plenty of road to stand in to do it. You don’t need to stand on the garden. That’s all. You can’t walk round naked because of all the people taking the photos… It might add to it, ha ha.”

 

“It’s got a thatched roof.  It was thatched end of 2017, so done before I got here. The same thatcher came back and put the hares up on the top that I had put on – which was really good of him. He’s John Harman, down from Sparkford, quite a way away. He thatched it before I ever knew him and then I met him in a different role and purpose… so when I got the hares to go on top, I asked him if he’d come back and put them on.”

 

“He very bravely came with a very long ladder and climbed up there… He did it on a ladder. It was a very long ladder and he wore his brave pants and even he said when he got up there, he was a bit ‘woaah.’ It’s a bit high, but fortunately the road was closed at the time, so he was just able to park in the road and climb up.”

 

“You’re really high up [here]… It’s like being Rapunzel… It’s a bit like a wind tunnel here. I think it goes west to east, the wind. It comes and whistles through, so it is definitely chilly and all the walls in the house are quite cold because it is getting battered from each side.”

 

“You know this little house, because I think it had been a holiday let and because it’s sort of an unusual location, I think it had been dismissed by a lot of people.”

 

“On the day of viewings, it went to sealed bids like immediately and I didn’t get it first time around and I then harassed the estate agent. I phoned them up, I went into see them and I kept saying: “Erm, is it all still happening? If anything changes, please tell me if anything happens’ because it was the only place that I could afford that would answer my prayers.”

 

“I saw it in November, day after New Year’s Day, I had a phone call to say that it had fallen through and I had first refusal before it went back on the market and I had missed it by £900.”

 

“So, it all worked out in the end and then it took another four months to get in and it was well worth the wait. Some people said: ‘Um, er, what did you buy that for? What would you do with that?’ But I love it, absolutely love it. I think we’re all a little bit out of the ordinary. Boring, normal is quite boring.  We’re not all the same.”

 

“My parents have always bought a house, done it up, two years, sell it, buy another one, so we’d lived in like nine different houses by the time I was 18. So, I’ve always loved houses, old houses, Grand Designs, all those things. And I’ve got my own little Escape to the Country. I’ve had my own little lockdown island.”

 

“I have met Prince Charming because of this house… Prince Charming used to drive-by all the time and then Prince Charming plucked up the courage to ask me out one day. Prince Charming had driven by lots of times and then he saw myself and he saw my daughter and he thought we were a pair of ladies living together and he didn’t bother doing anything.”

 

“About a year later, he thought: ‘Oh well, I’ve got nothing to lose so I’ll just say hello’ and he did and nearly a year later, a year down the road we’re very happy. But he doesn’t live here. He wouldn’t fit in here.”

 

Follow @littlethatchedhouse on Instagram here and be sure to look out for the “stone attack” videos.

 

 

The Round House Stanton Drew 1
Katherine, the owner of @littlethatchedhouse, has to park her car further down the road (left); the tiny house is situated on a traffic island (centre) and the hares that now grace its roof.
The Round House Stanton Drew 5
An old image of @littlethatchedhouse along with a drover passing by.
The Round House Stanton Drew 4
The @littlethatchedhouse account includes all sorts of images of this quirky building amongst them people passing in a horse and carriage on their wedding day.
The Round House Stanton Drew 6
The setting of the @littlethatchedhouse is truly idyllic.
In May 2021, @littlethatchedhouse featured in a video (from 7:02 minutes) shared on YouTube.
Matthew Steeples
A graduate of the London School of Economics, Matthew Steeples is a writer and marketing consultant. He conceived The Steeple Times as a media arena to fill the void between the Mail Online, The Huffington Post and such organs as the New York Social Diary in 2012.
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2 COMMENTS

  1. I loved this story too. It sounds like Katherine is a jolly lady and I’m glad she found her Prince Charming because of the cottage too.

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