Too small, too big or just right? Cottage of Goldilocks author up for sale

Robert Southey
The cottage in Burton where former poet laureate Robert Southey lived with his wife Edith

IT might be too big, too small or for some buyers just right – the cottage once home to the author of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the former Poet Laureate Robert Southey, has gone up for sale.


The Grade-II listed house in Salisbury Road in Burton, near Christchruch, was where the prolific literary scholar, essay writer and historian lived with his wife Edith between 1799 and 1805.

Legend has it many unsent letters authored by Mr Southey were found in its cellar after the couple moved to the Lake District.

Robert Southey
Letters apparently authored by Southey were found after he and Edith departed the cottage in 1805

It is also claimed it is where he may have first started to tinker with a version of story, then entitled The Story of the Three Bears and featuring an old lady, when telling it to friends.

What is certain is it was not until many revisions later, and after he had changed it to feature a young Goldilocks, that he published the tale in 1837 as part a collection of stories called The Doctor.

Robert Southey
Estate agents Fine and Country claim it may have served as inspiration for Southey’s famous fairytale

The picturesque is being marketed by Fine and Country for £995,000 after the original asking price of £1.15m was slashed.

With four bedrooms, dining and breakfast rooms, kitchen, bathroom, laundry, study and entrance hall, the property is homely but spacious.

It has been modernised by the current owners, Ian and Debra Fidler, although they have retained features such as the exposed timber beams, wood burners, cottage windows and wooden floors to keep the essential character of the property.

Robert Southey
The Burton cottage has gone on the market for less than £1m to prospective buyers

“Burton Cottage is a delightful, four-bedroom, quintessential Grade II listed thatched cottage which has recently been completely renovated to provide the perfect countryside residence,” a spokesperson for Fine & Country said.

“This unusually large, light and airy cottage is wonderfully traditional from the outside and inside retains the unique character that only an older property can give.”

Robert Southey
The kitchen has been renovated by the owners to give the cottage a homely yet contemporary feel

The spokesperson added: “The Poet Laureate who wrote the story and once lived at Burton Cottage must have taken some inspiration from this magical home.”

Robert Southey
The exterior of the cottage features a decking area perfect for spending summer evenings