An article about 'Old Sarum View' was written by David James for the Friends of St Lawrence Newsletter issue no. 12. The newsletter was published and distributed to Friends' members * in Autumn 2009. We are grateful to David, Ian & Mary McGill and to the Friends of St Lawrence Committee who have all agreed to allow extracts from that article to be reproduced here on the village website.
The existing house, which stands on the corner of Mill Lane and the Stratford Road, is thought from its architecture to originate from the first part of the 17th C or slightly earlier. It was built as a two storey thatched timber-framed cottage and the original beams can still be seen on the northwest and southwest sides.
The remaining two sides were rebuilt or cased in brickwork as part of refurbishment work carried out in 1703 and recorded by the inscription on the southeast wall.
The original building was constructed using a typical medieval design of two ground floor rooms with a central chimney-stack against which there was often a lobby entrance and/or stairs to the floor above [Ref 1]. The roof space was used an as attic.
Since the refurbishment in the early 18th C the house has been subject to a number of additions, the most recent being in the 20th C to accommodate a general store and later Post Office. Maps of the 19th C record the property as being a freehold tenement, only three other dwellings in Stratford were listed in this manner.
Establishing the names of occupants is not easy until the last 100 years or so of its four centuries of existence. First mention of a grocery store/sweet shop at the premises occurs during the First World War in 1915 [Ref 2]. The first person to run it as a general store selling groceries, tobacco and providing refreshments appears to have been Mr Fred Grace.
A number of people have lived there either as owners, tenants or lodgers. "My grandparents were lodging at the house in 1919 when my mother was born. It was a bit of a fluke as my grandmother .. was from Aston, Birmingham but had been working on aircraft tyres on the first aircraft at Old Sarum Airfield when she married .. at Salisbury. My grandfather was a soldier who had not long returned from serving in Ypres in WW 1. He was soon to be demobbed and return to Windsor where he came from." [Ref3] This short extract paints a fascinating picture of lives in the immediate post WW 1 period as does the picture of Mrs Grace standing outside the shop with its prominent adverts.
The Graces continued to run the shop until the end of the Second World War, having raised its status to a sub Post Office and grocer's store towards the end of the 1930's. Fred Grace is listed as sub-Postmaster from 1939. The Old Sarum View shop and Post Office was taken over by George Janes (the son-in-law of Fred Grace) [Ref 3] , who is listed as sub-Postmaster from 1947 in Kelly's Directory. He continued to operate the shop until the latter part of the 1970's when it was run as just a grocers for a short time by Kay White and then from 1980 by Brenda and Peter Henocq. They continued to run it until 1992 when they ceased trading and the house reverted, after over 70 years as a business, to becoming just a private dwelling.
1 'Ancient and Historical Monuments in the City of Salisbuiry, Volume 1' Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England) 1980.
2 Various Brown's and Kelly's Directories of Salisbury from betweeen the years 1904 and 1974.
3. Information contained in personal correspondence belonging to Mary McGill.
* The Friends of St Lawrence is a local charitable organisation. (Registered Charity No. 1063271).
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