The history of this early 17th century house, Normans, along Benover is connected to the family of that name, who it is understood is linked with William Norman, Bishop of London in 1070.
When the parish registers were opened in 1559, William Norman was a resident cloth-worker, as were the occupants of several houses along Benover. In 1571 he married Elizabeth Furner and in the following year produced their first son Steven, who inherited the property in 1597. He in turn passed Normans to Robert in 1630, then it went to Samuel, and subsequently to another William in 1675. Adjacent to Normans, 24 acres of land were used by a Mrs Alchorne in 1711, to endow a free school for 24 village children.
Some of the carpentry performed at Normans has been linked with similar work at The Glasshouse, further along Benover; a house that could have derived its name from the Glasson family. A tunnel is said to have linked the two houses with a branch off to the Woolpack Inn, proving another link with the cloth trade.
From William the house passed to Samuel Norman in 1746, and after he died in 1775 the property was linked with Mill Place. George Wedd and W T Luck who owned both properties in the early 19th century conveyed Normans in their wills to the Misses Anne and Elizabeth Simmons of Mill Place Farm. These ladies endowed the almshouses to the village in 1863.
Still in the family it is understood that H T Simmons in the early 20th century mutilated Normans by removing much of the oak panelling and mouldings, plus a stone fireplace to a house at Battle in Sussex. Normans and Mill Place Farm were conveyed to Robert T Langridge in 1918, when it was used as farm cottages, until bought in 1956 to be restored as a single private residence, to its former impressive state.
These photographs show the two stages of change during the last century, being transformed back to its former glory. They show the three oriel windows on the first floor underneath overhanging gables, but what you do not see is the splendid open central courtyard.