St Mary Bourne Revisited


Village Industries 19th-20th. Century


At the end of the 19th.Century there were four – Medhurst, Neale, Breadmore and John Page. Lardy cakes, large, and small 1d. Were a local feature. Old brick ovens were heated by “puffs” of wood, burnt till red hot. Loaves were inserted by a “peel.” The oven door was sealed with strips of dough-oven crust. A too hot oven was described as “rash”.

One malt house, now occupied by Tibble’s garage, did some malting up to 1914.

A mild beer for men to take to the fields was brewed in large coppers. The Inns also brewed their own ale.

Various home-made wines were made – parsnip, elderberry, gooseberry, rhubarb.

Or “colley” (collar) maker and rope maker worked in the thatched cottage where the Post Office was until 1946, when it was taken over as a fish shop and for sale of patent medicines, etc. J.Broad made his ropes in his orchard, which after his death was taken into the doctor’s garden.

At the end of the 19th. Century and beginning of the 20th. Two carpenters found full employment in independent businesses – Mr. William Batsford at Yew Tree Cottage (now called Swamptom House) and Mr. William Longman, who lived at Link and had his workshop below the Summerhaugh next to the Fire Engine shed. He was also a wheelwright.

There were two forges, one on the present site with a floor of round blocks on end made of wood, to diminish the heat, and one near the church. They Iron-tyred the wheelwrights wheels. A blacksmith still (1946) works in the first mentioned forge.

Two had businesses in the village – Mr. Wedge and Mr. Sainsbury (none in 1945).

At Miss Gale’s, Parsonage Farm, where was the old tithe barn, up to 1914, three grades of milk were sold daily: new 2d. a pint; 12 hour (once skimmed) 1 1/2d. A pint; and “skim” (twice skimmed) 1d. a pint.

In the hazel copses, cut down every 12 or 14 years. A hurdler contracted for the cutting and hurdle making and sold the hurdles. In 1943 the price was 2/6d. for a standard hurdler, and a good hurdler could make 12 a day. “Faggots” and “puffs” and spars for thatching are also made.

By women in the fields to provide the piles for breaking.

Into the 19th.Century this was done by the roadside by Mr. Butler Cook, where the stones were spread. The stone breaker wore dark gauze spectacles. The coming of the motor and metalled roads ended this profession.

Done at the bridge opposite Portway and at Chapmansford. The “Old Ruddler men” came in a donkey cart to mark the sheep with “reddle”.

At Crystal Abbey and Middle Wyke died out with modern hive development.

At the bottom of Stoke hill, employed several workers (now closed).

Basket-making, netting and wood-work were taught to children in the Band of Hope till into the 20th. Century.

For some 26 years prior to 1946, Mr. William Benham had done regular rounds in the village and hamlets around with a horse drawn cart. In 1946 he retired, and his business was taken over by a young man returned from the Navy and his relatives, and carried on from the old Post Office.

Two proprietors own beds, the extensive beds from this side of Crystal Abbey to the Viaduct were started in a small way in the last half of the 19th. century by Mrs. James, who sold 1d. bunches at Covent Garden. Under a manager they are still owned by members of her family, holding them as a limited company.

In addition to watercress some vegetables are grown, all being sent to London markets. In normal times about 40 men and women find constant employment here.

Mr. Biggs, of Longparish, has two beds opposite Portway. The water in these frequently dries up towards the end of the year.

The shops formerly sold clothes and boots, as well as groceries. In 1946 there are three selling groceries in the village and one at Stoke; all sell also a few other items in most common demand; until 1946 there were two bakeries, one independent, which closed down in 1946, supplies coming from an Andover bakery, and the other at the Stoke shop. Another small shop sells sweets, and at the blacksmith’s there is a cycle repair shop. The Post Office moved in November, 1946, into the adjoining grocers shop. This and the Stoke shop are under one ownership. (Kathleen Innes)