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TWO VILLAGES, ONE HEART

LACEY GREEN & LOOSLEY ROW

LACEY GREEN & LOOSLEY ROW

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VILLAGE SHOPS

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  • Shops - From a Thriving Industry to Non-existence... almost.

    Vine Cottage; Bakers - Grocers - Pub ?

    1n 1775 a baker and shopkeeper came to Lacey Green. He bought a cottage (later given the name 'Vine Cottage') for 64, together with 2 acres of land. This was one of the few cottages in Lacey Green before the enclosures of 1823.

    His name was Thomas Dell. He was 39 years old and married to Ann. In 1797 he rented Stocken Farm from the Manor of Princes Risborough and then lived there so possibly the cottage/shop was let from that time. He must have been very successful for he purchased considerable property over the years.

    He died in 1811 leaving everything to his wife then to go to eldest son Thomas Jnr of Speen Farm on her death.

    Ann, the widow of Thomas owned Vine Cottage/shop from 1811 but was living at Stocken Farm, so no doubt it was let. It was occupied by her grandson John Carter Dell, b 1796 and his wife Betsy at least from 1821 to 1827, when Ann died. It is not yet known when he took it over.

    When it was inherited by Thomas Dell Jnr in 1827 John continued to live at the property. He is recorded as a Grocer and beer seller. Was it also a pub? Myth has it that it was a pub called 'The Grapes' but no record has been found. Beer houses did not necessarily have to be registered and beer could just be sold to take away if the customer took a jug. It remains to be discovered.

    In 1837 Thomas Jnr was forced to sell up when mortgagees called in all his property. The cottage and several newly attached properties built by Thomas Snr were purchased by John and Joshua Dell, (Thomas Dell Snr's brother.) John continued to live in Vine cottage until he died in 1840. He too had prospered buying a number of local properties.

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    Loosley Row Stores, lastly known as "A.W.Harvey's"

    research to 1982 by Miles Marshall.

    This brick and flint cottage on Lower Road, Loosley Row was built in 1864 for Henry Janes, who in the 1861 census, aged 33, was the publican of "The Spratt". The cottage had a bread oven and grocery shop. There he lived with his wife Mary and their children were born there. By 1881 Henry had built himself a new bakehouse in Lacey Green on the corner of Goodacres Lane. It was demolished in 1976. He let the Loosley Row premises to a grocer, who by coincidence was named Thomas Harvey but unrelated to A.W.Harvey (the name above the shop).

    Harvey's Stores

    Henry was a keen churchman attending St.John's, Lacey Green but when he died aged only 49 he made a gift of a piece of land to his Loosley Row Baptist customers upon which they built a small brick chapel. He had acquired enough to provide for his son Hezekiah who continued the bakery in Lacey Green, and his two daughters. The Loosley Row property he left to his daughter Annie.

    Bakery at Goodacres

    Annie, married to George Floyd with two daughters Daisy and Annie, moved into the shop after giving Mr Harvey notice and waiting some time before he went. They continued with the shop with all the usual groceries and provisions, sweets and tobacco, and they also sold some hardware such as bass brooms, besoms, tea pots and other crockery, coal shovels , needles, cotton and darning wool. Annie paid great attention to the window displays. It became the childrens' duty to dress the windows, turning everything out at regular intervals so that they could be cleaned and polished inside and out. The window nearest the chapel had shelves loaded with rows of large sweet jars. The other window display varied with the season. In spring a large display of garden seeds from John Walkers, nurseryman and seedsman at Thame, for which they had the agency. At Christmas a colourful show of toys and decorations were the attraction.

    George developed other enterprises in conjunction with the shop. He kept and fattened pigs and also bought fat pigs for slaughter. Annie Floyd cured the bacon and the hams and ran down the lard, all of which they sold in the shop. He bought a horse and cart and started a coal business, collecting the coal from the goods yard at Princes Risborough and later he bought a second horse and cart, employing Harry Gomme as driver and started a general carrying trade. Every market day he would collect fish and newspapers from High Wycombe and he carried parcels to and from both stations. He undertook outside catering for such functions as the Chapel outings, and Mrs.Thomas, (daughter Annie) recalled serving tea, lemonade, gingerbeer, cakes and buns from tresle tables at Whiteleaf. Always a keen gardener, formerly a gardener to Mr.Forrest of Grymsdyke, living then at Lane Farm, Lacey Green, he was often in demand to judge the allottments at Longwick. He was also secretary to two local slate clubs1 - at the 'Sprat" and the 'Whip'.

    The Floyd Family

    George and Annie had a third daughter Emily and also brought up three orphan girls from about five until fourteen when the vicar of Lacey Green found them employment in Service. They regarded the Floyds as family all their lives.

    It was Emily who eventually took over the business. She had married A.W.Harvey in 1930, born at Bryants Bottom but then living with two brothers at Lodge Farm, Saunderton. He moved into the shop but continued working as a builder for White Bros. in High Wycombe until George became ill and Arthur took over the coal and carrying side of the business.

    When George died the name of the shop was changed from Floyd's to Harvey's and a post office was added to their other activities in 1945. Emily and her mother Annie still ran the shop. During the war Arthur had to work in an aircraft factory in Princes Risborough. He still delivered the groceries after factory hours but the carrying had to go. After the war he worked at Bomber Command until he retired in 1973, dying in 1980.

    In 1935 Arthur and Emily had a daughter Edna who lived and worked at the shop which, with some help from her father, she took over in 1962 when her mother died. She had married Donald J Bailey and they had one son. With both the men working she carried on for eight years but as her father needed more care she decided in 1970 to have a sale and close the shop for good.

    1 Slate club - a group of people who save money in a common fund for a specific purpose (usually distributed at Christmas).

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    Grocers Shop In Church Lane, Lacey Green c1861 to c1911

    In the census of 1861 Joseph and Jane Floyd had a grocery business in a rented cottage, now called Green Hedges and much extended, in Church Lane, Lacey Green. It had been recently built by William Floyd of Lane Farm (opposite).

    In 1868 their daughter Sarah Jane married Jabez Dell who joined them. The following year Jabez purchased the cottage, garden and land from William Floyd.

    Joseph, Jane, Sarah Jane and Jabus continued the grocery business together but by 1881 only Jabus and Sarah Jane are listed. 1891 sees Jabus retired but Sarah Jane carries on. From 1901 she calls herself a grocer and tea dealer. She died in 1912 aged 73. It is thought that the shop closed at that time.

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    Toey's Fish & Chips! Main Road, Lacey Green.

    There was a grocery business in Lacey Green in the 1930's on the side of the house called 'Crooked Chimney' owned by Arthur Lacey, better known as 'Toey'. It was run by his wife as Toey seems to be remembered as a bit of a wheeler and dealer.

    The shop only stocked a few basic things including sweets, for Hickman's Stores, a much bigger enterprise, was not far away.

    Toey is best remembered for cooking fish and chips on Friday evening. This was done in a shed out the back although some thought that later he might have had a van. His children would deliver the fish and chips to the villagers who presumably had pre-ordered it.

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    Loosley Row Grocery Store at Hill Croft Dairy, Loosley Hill.

    John, known as Jack Lawrence moved with his family to Loosley Row about 1932, leasing a cottage and three and a half acres on which he started a smallholding. With extra rented land he started a small dairy herd, probably in 1934 when water was laid on, as cows need plenty of water.

    He started a milk and egg round. Despite Harvey's Stores at the bottom up the Hill he gradually added other items and put a lean-to onto the cottage and opened a shop.

    Things continued to prosper and bit by bit he added several more 'rooms' onto the cottage. So much so that men teased him that what he wanted for Christmas must be more nails and another hammer.

    Eventually he had a sizeable store selling everything from paraffin, hardware, all groceries and of course his home produced milk and eggs. His delivery round naturally thrived in conjunction with the store.

    The shop was largely run by his wife, Mary Ann, with the added assistance firstly of Jean, born 1931 and later of Mary who was born in 1940. They also had a brother Basil who later moved away.

    Hillcroft Dairy & Post Office

    In 1952 Jack became the local sub-postmaster, taking over from Arthur Harvey of Harvey's Stores. He gave up keeping cows and sold his milk round to Wren Davis of Prestwood, leaving him to concentrate on poultry and 'barley-beef 'calves. The shop became known as 'Loosley Row Post Office.'

    Mrs Lawrence died in 1963. Jean married and left so it was decided to reduce the shop/post office leaving only one little extension for Mary to run. From now on it only stocked a few useful things including of course eggs, so could hardly be classed as a grocery. In 1970 Jack became ill and Mary was appointed sub-postmistress. Mary continued with her little shop and Post Office until 1997 when she decided to close it.

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    Hickman's Stores, Main Road, Lacey Green.

    In 1915 Harold Hickman purchased a cottage (Kia Cottage) with adjoining land on Main Road, Lacey Green. In 1924 he built a house called 'Wembley' on the land. He and his wife Emily ran a grocery 'The Stores' there, living above the shop.

    Their nephew Bert Dell had been almost brought-up by them as his father had died young and when they died it was left to Bert in 1965. He ran the shop with his wife May until 1986 when they retired, selling it to Brian Thomas and Barbara June Norris. It was subsequently sold to Derek and Maureen Woodbridge.

    Hickman's Stores as it became known was a hub of village life. It was a place to meet people so if you needed a bit of company, think of a reason to go to the shop. It had sold petrol, the pump advertising it at 1/5d a gallon (7p). Years later the pump had to go when such small fuel deliveries were no longer possible and safety laws on the underground tank impinged.

    Hickman's Stores, Main Rd

    Bert would deliver orders and they looked after their customers. For instance, when a sugar crises arose causing a shortage they made sure they had enough held back for their regulars. They were workaholics, especially May. Bert made sure he took time on Saturdays to attend the Sports Club. They had no children of their own, but their nephews and neices could be found filling shelves, no doubt for a bit of pocket money.

    The Woodbridges also sold newspapers and wines and at first all seemed to be going well. But a village store is not necessarily the cheapest place to shop and loyalty is very personal. By the nineteen nineties folk were no longer tied to the villages through lack of transport. About 1996 Tescos opened a store in Princes Risborough. Maybe that was the last straw because about then Lacey Green grocery shop was closed for good; but see the next item....


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    Entertainment House

    Clive Houghton started a DJ business part-time in 1980, becoming a full time DJ, three nights a week, in 1992. He bought and sold equipment from his mother's home in Flackwell Heath. By 1999 it had grown so much it was time to get a shop. He came to Lacey Green.

    Entertainment house, Lacey Green

    Clive bought the shop that had been built in 1924, then known as Hickman's Stores. It had been empty for three years. He gutted it and refurbished it to a very high standard and Entertainment House was born. It opened in 1999; not a noisy disco venue, but a shop supplying everything electronic needed to lay on an occasion. There were no other shops left in Lacey Green or Loosley Row at the time.

    Catering for DJ's, karaoke, presenters, bands, singers, children's entertainers, schools, places of worship, village halls, and even home parties, the business went from strength to strength. Clive admits that little did he know that it would be such a success and take over his life as much as it has. He and his team are always busy, due in no uncertain terms to their commitment and specialist knowledge.

    In a survey in 2005 his customers voted it "The best disco shop they had ever seen". ln 2008 it was
    the first UK DJ shop to be awarded a full "Bose L 1 Professional Retail Partner" dealership.

    With the shop busy he then extended the workshop and added repairs, PAT testing, Installations, refurbishments, exhibition displays, lighting and PA hire to the services provided. They have already accumulated an impressive portfolio of installations.

    Now in it's 18th year it is renowned amongst local entertainers for good service, prices and, importantly, high stock levels. The customers pull up outside from far and wide, fifty or sixty miles is nothing in this day and age if you are putting on something that is important to you.

    Clive has proved that shops in this village can be a success. He would not be able to rely solely on the local community, although they number amongst his customers. He provides a special service in a specialised market. His shop is unique here in the way it is run.

    Clive quickly became part of the village community joining the Residents Association at the outset, becoming their representative on the Village Hall committee. When the two amalgamated as "The Village Hall Committee" Clive soon found himself Chairman, a position he has held for some years.

    2017 - see's the shop up for sale, so what next??

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    The First Grocery In Lower Road, Loosley Row

    Believed to have been started by Jesse Ward and his wife Ruth (nee Eggleton). In the 1841 census he is listed as a carpenter there and he certainly had a shop where he did general carpentry including making coffins. They had recently moved from Speen with their 4 children. Shortly after that he became a sub-Postmaster combining it with a grocery shop. This was passed on down the family. Jesse to son Alfred, then to his daughter Mary Ann (Polly) and lastly to Polly's husband Henry Allen. These people became the Post masters and mistresses (see Post Offices). Alfred's brother John also worked in the business but it would appear that things were not as harmonious as it appeared when John's wife took Alfred to court. The following is the report of the case:

    Aylesbury Petty Sessions 26th April 1879

    Alfred Ward was charged with having assaulted Mary Ann Ward. She had been sent to the Post Office/shop, Loosley Row for some barley meal and asked for the payment to be taken out of her husband's wages as a carpenter of Mr Ward. He said he would not let her have the pay in money but she might in goods. She was accordingly going to take two pairs of stockings from the shop, having helped herself on former occasions. She put the stockings under her shawl, but the defendant tried to throw her down and tore her hat. In the scuffle, he upset a tub of butter and pushed her headfirst into it, cutting her lip and knuckles. His wife there at the time laughed and told her husband to throw Mary Ann out. He took her by the shoulders, pushed her out of the shop and threw her hat after her.

    Cecil Ward aged 14, son of Mary Ann Ward said he saw his mother's lip cut and bleeding.

    Sarah Hickman said the complainant had come to her house and had butter all over her clothes.

    Sarah Barefoot, a nurse at Loosley Row, attended Mary Ann for 2 days. Doctor Warren was called and ordered hot fomentations and medication.

    Charlotte Claydon was in the shop and heard the dispute.

    It is not surprising to find that John, Mary Ann and family had moved to High Wycombe by 1881.

    Jesse lived to be 80, dying in 1881, Alfred married twice 1st to Jane Maberly (1823-1871) then to Elizabeth Steel, the miller's daughter in 1872. Their daughter Mary Ann (Polly) (1874-? ) married Henry Allen in 1913 when she was 39 and they then ran the business together.

    She had met Henry when he came as a visiting evangelist to the area and he had become friendly with the family. He added watches to the goods they sold having a large display in the window all showing the correct time, priced at 1/6d (7.5p) He also acquired second hand books from the libraries which were sold at about 1p.

    They gave up the Post Office side of the business in 1945 and it is presumed the shop closed at the same time.

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    Lacey Green Community Stores

    Shop open sign

    Following long negotiations The Community Planning Group (CPG) successfully opened Lacey Green Community Stores in the village hall in July 2009. The Plunket Foundation agreed that the village needed a village store so it was set up as a pilot scheme for an initial six months.

    The Methodist Chapel having closed, the District Council transferred their community obligation to the village hall. The equipment, minor building works and initial stock were paid for using the section 106 monies available via Wycombe District Council.

    Staffed by volunteers it opened on Mondays and Thursdays from 8.30am to 1pm. to coincide with the Village Post Office, whilst providing extra security for the postmaster. The average hours staff worked was about 5 to 6 hours every 4 weeks or so. The shop stocked basic foodstuffs and household goods.

    One year later Tony Molesworth of the CPG reported:

    The stores have now been opened for over a year, twice the length of the pilot period. It is now set to run at least another six months. Initially opening two morning a week it has been opened every weekday morning since November. It is not intended to be profit making in the usual business sense but it is obviously important not to make a loss. What it does do is provide a valuable service to the village.

    In the event there was a small net profit. The steering committee intends to use any profit to contribute to village facilities and services whenever practicable.

    About 180 items are stocked. There is a regular and building trade.

    In January, movement in out of the village was very difficult because of the weather, which demonstrated the benefit of having a shop locally.
    Inside the shop

    Tony Molesworth gave a short update in April 2014:

    "The stores are still going strong. We now supply newspapers, but they must be ordered in advance.

    There is a proposal to operate an on-line library book ordering service in Lacey Green as a replacement for the mobile library. It may make use of the stores as a distributing centre, possibly also including an internet terminal. But this is still only at the proposal stage."

    In January 2017 Mike Piercy the editor of Hallmark, the local magazine reported on the Shop now in it's 8th year:

    The fridge is full of milk and dairy products, local eggs and frozen local Beechdean ice-cream, also the availability of freshly brewed coffee if you cared to stop for a chat.

    As the volunteers go first thing to collect the day's newspapers and stock-up they will also get things ordered by you the day before.

    The Post Office is still there on Thursdays and some Mondays.

    The Click & Collect library is running smoothly. The customer goes on-line to choose books from Bucks Library. These are delivered to the shop for you and you pop them back there. A much greater selection than the old library service.

    Currently they have 15-20 shoppers a day. There are a dozen volunteers each doing a few hours per month. They receive "Bucks Volunteers Reward Tokens" that can be swapped for local theatre visits or leisure activities.

    This is perhaps the last and remaining shop in the village. We have yet to see what will become of Entertainment House currently up for sale.

    Index To Shops In Loosley Row And Lacey Green

    Now 2017. In the last 220 years the census gives a number of grocers. Without exception they are from enterprising families which all feature as "Movers and Shakers", the people who improved the villages.

    These groceries were mostly general stores, supplying the needs of the community, having other specialities as well. Nothing imported except tea specially mentioned in 1901.

    By 1990 the supermarket Tesco had opened in Princes Risborough, most people had their own transport and the village store was doomed.

    I775-1836 In 1775 Thomas Dell set up shop as a baker and shopkeeper at Vine Cottage Lacey Green. At least from 1821 to 1836 his grandson John with his wife Betsy ran the shop as a grocer and beer-seller.
    1841-1945 In 1841 Jesse Ward opened shop in Lower Road, Loosley Row. He was a carpenter making coffins and other general woodwork. He added a grocery shop and soon started the 1st Post Office. The business passed down to his son, then his granddaughter and the Post Master's title went into her husband's name when she married in 1913.
    1861-1901 In 1861 Joseph and Jane Floyd started a grocery store in Church Lane, Lacey Green, on rented land. 1869 the shop was purchased by Jabez Dell, who had married Sarah Jane Floyd, their daughter. In 1901 Sarah Jane, aged 70 is listed there as a grocer and tea-trader.
    1864-1970. In 1864 Henry Janes built a shop in Lower Road, Loosley Row. He was a baker and sold groceries, even though the Ward's shop was just along the road. In 1881 he let the shop to Thomas Harvey, a grocer from High Wycombe. Henry Janes left the property to his daughter Annie, who was married to George Floyd. They moved in, adding many more services. Emily, one of their daughters eventually took over. She had married Arthur Harvey in 1930 and he joined the business. When George Floyd died it became known as "A W Harvey's". In 1945 they took over the Post Office transferred from Henry Allen. Emily and Arthur had one daughter Edna, she helped her mother run the shop, her father and husband running other services. After her mother died she carried on alone until 1970 when she closed the shop for good.
    1891 & 1901 Census William and Ruth Anderson had a grocers shop in Loosley Row, the last property on the left before the left-hand bend going down Woodway.
    1891 Census Ellen Brown, widow is listed as a grocer and shopkeeper at No.1 Belle Vue, Lacey Green. In 1901 no longer a grocery but continued as a sweet shop both by Ellen then daughter Min.
    1924-1995 In 1924 Harold G Hickman built Wembley Cottage in Main Road, Lacey Green and started a grocery store. He died in 1946 leaving it to his wife Emma. In 1964 she left it to Bert Ralph George Dell, their nephew, who was already its occupier. Bert & his wife May retired in 1986, selling the shop to Thomas and Barbara June Norris from Gerrards Cross. About 1995 it was closed as grocers shop.
    1935-1950. At some time during these years, Arthur Lacey (Toey) from Downley area open a small grocery at The Crooked Chimney, just up the road from Hickman's Stores. Run by his wife, it didn't stock much, mainly sweets and tobacco, but Toey did cook fish and chips on Friday evenings.
    1934-1997 John (Jack) Lawrence at Hill Croft, Loosley Hill started a round selling milk and eggs from his small farm in 1934. Soon it was a comprehensive shop including grocery. In 1952 Jack took over the Post Office from Arthur Harvey. It was reduced in size about 1963, but retained the Post Office and was then run by his daughter Mary who closed it in 1997.
    2009. In 2009 after prolonged negotiations a Community Stores was opened in the Village Hall, Lacey Green, staffed by volunteers, to join a sub-post office recently opened there.

    1911 census. Herbert & Alice Witney, grocers shop on Woodway, was Eli Dormers beer-house & eastern end of property previously grocers shop, 1891 & 1901, of William & Ruth Anderson

    All the above stores are written up in detail on this website.

    1841 Census. Jacob and Rebekah Dell are listed as shopkeepers at Darvills Hill. Smoked Fish 1851 & 1861 Jacob and Rebekah are shopkeepers in Lacey Green at "Lieu de Repos", later "Highlands", now "Ardengrove". They smoked herrings (kippers) there, reportedly making a very fishy smell.
    1862-1871 At some point during these years Albert Joseph Floyd had a butchers Shop at Wayside Cottage Main Road, (since demolished and rebuilt), next to Belle Vue Cottages. Wayside Cottage was later occupied by a Mr Tilbury, baker.

    Bakery 1864 Henry Janes built a bakery in Loosley Row and then 1881-1959 the Census gives Henry Janes, baker, in the new bake-house he has built in Lacey Green on the corner of Main Road and Goodacres Lane. This business flourished through three generations. Henry, his son Hezekiah, then grandson Sidney. Sidney is remembered for his bread, baked longer if it was liked crusty, even to the point of black if that was the request. His wonderful "lardy cakes" oozing with fat and dried fruit. He had a delivery round using a pony and trap, gave jobs to schoolboys to deliver by bicycle with a big basket on the front and in latter years got himself a scooter. Not many cottages had ovens and he would roast meat for people for special occasions. Especially popular at Christmastime. He also delivered chicken meal and flour. He sold up in 1959. 1959-1976 The bake-house continued in the hands of a Mr Houghton who didn't sell bread but turned it into a tea rooms. Probably the only tea rooms ever here.

    Haberdashery 1950-1970 For some time during these years Mrs Belcher ran a haberdashery at "The Crooked Chimney", Main Road, Lacey Green, specialising in knitting wools. Bert, at Hickman's Stores bought her stock when she retired. The general stores also stocked some of these goods.

    Footwear was extremely important at a time when most people travelled on foot. A light boot was the normal wear for most women and girls, while the men and boys needed stouter ware. In 1851 there were 6 shoemakers in Lacey Green alone. Three of them were Jessy Hawes & his two sons Moses and Jesse. The other three were Peter and Dan Floyd & a cousin Benjamin Hawes. They made and sold their wares from home. Dan Floyd had a shop for many years in one of the 3 original cottages that comprised Wimble End, Church lane, Lacey Green, where he made and repaired boots. Jessy Hawes Jnr. was the only bootmaker remaining by 1911.

    Buildings and wooden goods. The 1841 census at Loosley Row lists Jesse Ward with a carpenters shop, making coffins and other wood work as required. The Ward family were famous carpenters, mostly living in Speen, but did much work here building big wooden barns on the farms. Most people built their own houses at that time. There was still a brick kiln in Kiln Lane, Lacey Green and flint could be collected or purchased. There was a sawmill on the road to Hampden for their wood requirements. Not until the1911 census is there a builder listed, at Darvills Hill. But by then 7 bricklayers and 3 carpenters are in business in Lacey Green, coffins being a considerable part of the latter's trade. There are 3 chair-makers working at home, although they could also sell their production at High Wycombe. By 1950 people no longer built their homes and numerous building enterprises had sprung up in the villages, employing the bricklayers and carpenters.

    Blacksmiths and iron-founders Before the enclosures in 1823 there was already a blacksmith's shop in Church Lane in Lacey Green, built by a John Redrup of Hampden, adjacent to the three cottages which later became Wimble end.

    Another blacksmith's shop was at Loosley Row before 1823, then rented from The Manor by Joseph Tomkins. In 1840 this tenancy was passed to John Gomme, who was already occupying it from Tomkins. He took out a mortgage to buy it in 1843. It is still run by the same family in 2017. In 1978 they added a shop to their showroom. In 1871 & 1881 a blacksmith named Thomas Randell is living next to the foundry maybe continuing the blacksmithing side of Gomme's enterprise.
    There had for many years been a smithy at Flowers Bottom at times actually owned by the landlords of the adjacent Old Plow, (the Plough) pub. From the census 1851 Simeon Balwin is the blacksmith there until his death in 1900.

    Wheelwrights. There were wheelwrights in Lacey Green in the 18th century, possible in what was to become the blacksmiths shop at Flowers Bottom.
    In Loosley Row there were wheelwrights. William Tomkins, born in 1778 and two sons, Thomas and Moses, born 1817 & 1820.
    Edward Ernest Anderson was wheelwright at Darvills Hill in the 1891 and 1901 census