Sunday 25 January 2015


Wheatbutts was built by William Lydford, a butcher from Eton, between 1704, when the land was described as 'All that close of arable land called wheatbutts', and 1716, by which time the house had been built in the corner of the close and the rest converted into an orchard. Whether William Lydford ever lived there is not clear, but by 1716 he was living in Old Windsor and the property sold to the Eton Poor estate.

- from "The Story of a Village" by Judith Hunter

Russell Haggerty writes:

I lived in Wheatbutts Cottage in the early fifties. My father was in the US air force. We moved in just after David Niven moved out (so we were told).

At that time the 'cottage' had a nine acre orchard, a large garden in front and a nine room thatched cottage on the left from the front door. This was down a ways from the 'carriage house' also on the left. My father was a photographer and took many pictures of the cottage and grounds. Outside the fence in back was a bicycle path and a duck and swan pond. Beyond the pond was a small dairy farm.

This was a cherished memory for me. My bedroom looked out the front on the first floor and Windsor castle was on the horizon.

David Cawsey writes:

There are several mentions of David Niven's occupancy of Wheatbutts, and I have another story about this.

My cousin tells me that she and a friend learned that David Niven was at home at Wheatbutts and went there to ask for David Niven's autograph. The housekeeper said that Errol Flynn was with David Niven at that time and asked them to return later for the autograph, which they did. (David Niven and Errol Flynn were known to be great personal friends.)

If you have anything to add about Wheatbutts Cottage, let us know by sending a message from the Guestbook page.


  1. John Le Carre claims to have moved in after Niven.

  2. Am reading the biography by Adam Sisman which mentions John le Carré & family moving in after Niven & living there during the 1950s.

  3. Whose biography were you reading - we have lived in Old Wheatbutts for 11 years now and would love to know if its true as we heard they both lived there but there was nothing in print.

  4. Read either of David Niven's biographies - The moon's a ballon, or Bring on the empty horses. Tom

  5. There is mention in David Niven's biographies: The moons a balloon, and Bring on the empty horses. Tom

  6. I'm here because I'm listening to 'The Moon's a Balloon' audiobooks YouTube. I used to know Eton well & love to research. Fascinating stuff & what a gorgeous cottage. Now I have to find out if it's still there!

  7. Yes the cottage is still here and has been a much loved family home for about 13 years

  8. So interesting. I was also told David Niven lived in a house I grew up playing in in Dorney Village off the village road right before the Pineapple pub. The property had a paddock for keeping horses. My friend’s family lived there in the late 70s and 80s and claimed Niven had live in the house sometime prior. I grew up on Dorney common (right next to Eton Wick)with a similar view of Windsor Castle from our house - from late 70s through the 80s. A beautiful place to grow up x