Buildings of Kingsclere
The cottages in the Market Place are well over 200 years old and used to house the Post Office and Ironmongers shop. This was when Edward Chance lived there. In 1867 Frederick Twitchen had the shop which was a combination of ironmongers, chemists and grocers. The present older residents remember the Twitchen family selling a wide variety of commodities including sweets, tobacco, tacks and shoelaces. They also remember Mt Twitchen delivering mail on Christmas Day and in the summertime he wore a straw boater hat. After the last war the premises were sold to the local council who converted it into three dwellings. The end facing George Street reveals the timbers which were common in property built in a bygone age.
The building at Swan Street Stores is thought to be 18th or early 19th century and at one time was thatched. Taskers had it as a tailors at the end of the 19th century until 1932 when Mr and Mrs Tom Riley moved in serving the village as chemists. After they retired the place was considerably altered and it re-opened as "Jays" the village grocers. The name was derived from the fact that the owners Messrs Bradley and Hillier and their wives all had the initial "J". Although it changed ownership it still remained a grocers until it closed in April 1986 and reopened under different ownership in February 1987. [ed:- It is now again called Swan Street Stores and is a privately run convenience store.]
The Old Blacksmiths House which houses the Pine Studio and the present Chemists shop dates back to 1649. There is a wealth of beams in the house both in the upstairs and downstairs rooms. At one time the house was two cottages but this may have been before it became a blacksmiths shop. The Wallis family had this as a blacksmiths forge within living memory of the older villagers. Some of the residents have told the present owners that horses were taken round the back for shoeing. Some years after the forge was gone, the fire engine was housed in the present chemists shop, the engine moved out in 1960.
Past the Swan Hotel is Warham House which is one of the oldest in the village. Richard of Kent held it in 1382. In 1477 Thomas Fauconer sold the house to Robert and Elizabeth Warham and in 1482 it was given to William who lived here. He was born in 1456 and became Chancellor of the University of Oxford and Master of the Rolls in 1485 and became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1503. He crowned Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. He gave the house to New College Oxford in 1529.
In 1620 the house was altered, the roof was raised and a stairway installed. James Jackson of Overton in 1735 made it into two houses. The south was the entrance hall and a further stairway added. After James Jackson had the premises, Edmund Rolfe was the owner. Later John Carter sold them to john Bishop a surgeon. The Bishop family lived in the house for three generations and when Eliza was married in 1857 she made her cottage over to her fiancée William Humble. Mrs Mary Ellis and Miss Eliza Bishop bought land adjoining the house on the south side called High Street, this evidently is where the Albert Hall stands today. When the Prior family owned the house there was a croquet lawn where the telephone exchange stands today. In addition to the house there was a barn, stable and granary. In 1867 Mary and Anna Neate used the house as a Ladies Day and Boarding School. One of the day pupils was Ann Prior, who became Mrs Robert Munday in 1891. Mr Kynoch, a dentist had a room in the house from 1935 - 1950 in the northern part. During the alterations prior to 1975 plaster containing horses hair was found in the upstairs rooms.
On the opposite side of Swan Street is number 20, there was probably some kind of dwelling on this site as far back as Saxon times and it may have begun as a hut. The present house contains a wooden framework of oak timber and roof timbers that date to about 1380. It was a two-bay hall house with a solar wing. The roof truss dividing the two bays of the hall still exists and has carved into it a decorated boss in the form of a head wearing a medieval masons cap. It is this that provides the clue to the age of the building. The brick front was added in the early 18th century, a common feature of many old house in Kingsclere. The chalk foundation blocks for the original timber front were uncovered behind the existing brickwork. The house as originally built had a hearth in the centre of the earth floor, the present large inglenook fireplace being a later addition. At the same time as the fireplace was built it is probable that the hall was divided vertically to provide bedrooms.
Excavations for laying a new ground floor revealed pits probably used for grain storage and subsequently filled in with rubbish. This material contained shards of domestic pottery dated to be 9th to 14th century, also a chalk loom weight and a hone or sharpening stone were discovered. The latter would have been carried by the owner on a thong attached to his belt. In the garden two objects of Romano-British period were discovered an iron latch lift and a fragment of a Purbeck marble basin or bowl. Similar objects to these can be seen at the Reading Museum from Silchester.
That a saddler and harness makers business was carried on here for three centuries is likely. A harness fitting from the mid 1640's was picked up in the garden. The Hobbs family took over the business in 1830, continuing it until it was no longer viable financially. They continued to live here using it as a private residence until Mr Florance bought it in 1950.
Nicholas Pevsner described 24 Swan Street as being the best house in the street. The older part of the building was built in 1720, but the rear wing was added about 1928. There are two pointed gothic windows, rectangular fanlight and ornamental tracery. During the 1914-18 war three Belgian families were in residence, the children attended the local schools. Sweets have been made and sold on the premises, while at another time Dr Edwards lived here. Mrs Cramp was the last person to live here. In 1928 it was refurbished and the Kingsclere District Council occupied it and after they amalgamated with Whitchurch they continued to use the building as their offices until they joined up with Basingstoke to form Basingstoke and Deane Council in April 1974.
Doctors at one time lived in Pheonix House and it has been the home of the Chance family for generations. The firm of Chances was established before 1769 and one hundred years later Frederick Richard Chance was the sub-postmaster who was selling groceries and drapery. During the 20th century Lin and Charles, nicknamed "Chinky" sold a wide range of hardware articles. When Captain Dunn took over the shop there were plush red waist coats, also violet ones and old fashioned oil lamps, one of which Captain Dunn had fitted up eith electricity in Phoenix House. With the exception of the eastern end the shop has been closed for several years. The shop was converted to three swelling in the 1980's
Number 8 George Street is an old timber framed house re-fronted in the 18th or 19th century. For many years this was the forge and the half glazed door remained until alterations were made and the bay windows put in, not many years ago. It is a cob house thought to be 16th century and at one time there were no stairs, just a hole cut through the upper floor to allow people to pass into the top room to sleep. Nuremberg tokens (which were used as a medium of exchange in England in the early part of the 15th century) have been found in the garden and writing belonging to the 18th century has been found in the house.. The census of 1841 shows that John Seward, blacksmith lived here. He had the house, two cottages and a blacksmiths shop. By 1867 Charles Seward had become the smith and farrier. His grandson known to the older villagers as Sam carried on the business. Mr Sam Garrett shod Dama, Dandy and Berry all owned by the Knightsmith family.
Number 2 George Street has a dragon beam. Two dates have been suggested 16th or late 18th century, if it is the later date then the old chimney stacks set diagonally on a moulded octagonal brick base suggest the core of a row of early 17th century structure. Walter Priest had this shop as a dairy, Mr and Mrs Fred Hopkins carried on the dairy with greengrocers, tobacconists and caterers for a time when Mrs Myrtle Holleys elder daughter Doris worked in the dairy. Mrs Hopkins turned it into a general stores, keeping it as this until she retired in 1972. This used to be known as Yew Tree House and used to be part of Yew Tree Farm on the Old Wolverton Road.
The re-fronting of number 18 is of the 18th century but the timber frame structure is an earlier period. The exposed gable side shows timber frame with brick noggin. Mr R Walton was the dairyman in 1920, followed by the York and Nunn families, who had it as a greengrocers and dairy. It closed down when Mrs Baikie ran the shop.
The Village Club and House were given in 1921 by the Holding family for the use of the village. There was a reading room here when Mr J C Holding was President in the 1890's and Mr J M Carter Treasurer. In 1891 there was a complaint of "bad language", when it was hoped that it was the first and last time there would be a complaint. At this time monthly concerts were given in the wintertime. The reading room supplied six daily newspapers and periodicals and coffee was also on sale. It was here that soup made at Elm Grove could be purchased by children who lived over a mile from the school, at the end of the 19th century.
For years the rooms were let to the Women's Institute, Choral Society, Red Cross and Brownies and the third pack of the latter still meet here . At the end of the last war the local Food Office was here weekly to distribute orange juice and cod liver oil. The present library room is where the children came a generation ago to have their dental inspection and treatment.
John Cribb lived is the building that has become known as Sasso's Restaurant. He was listed in the directory of 1855 as sack and twine manufacturer. Charles Cribb sold the business to the Carter family in 1868. Mr John Carter senior was the eldest son of John Carter of Thatcham. His son John Junior was born here in 1872 and took over the management in 1895 until 1904. John M Carter senior opened up businesses in Basingstoke, Winchester, Southampton and Emsworth. All the rope was hand made, there was a rope walk in the yard at the back. All the waterproof covers were hand sewn by both men and women. This was usually done in the large building in the yard but the late Mrs Annie Hutchins remembered her mother sitting up late at home to get the tent cloth finished. Mr Baker was the chief rope maker who spun the yarn. Two ex-sailors walked daily from Headley to the rope works to make the tents. Mr Bennet who lived in Union Lane normally made the plough reins.
The rope works closed down in 1937 and it must have been just before their closure that I bought a length of rope from the premises for a swing. Skipping ropes at one time were sold for 1d each. Newbury Road
There was probably some dwelling on Priory House site in the 12th century, which may have housed the Canons while the church opposite was being built. The existing house has been suggested as being of late 18th century. Ann Cribb, a baker lived here in 1841. A mantrap, which was capable of breaking a mans leg used to be set in the grounds. \before 1932 it was to Priory House that ratepayers went with their dues to Mr Harry Garrett, entering through the east door and during the 1960's it was through the same doorway, which no longer exists, that patients came to visit the dentists.
The Old House is thought to be medieval in origin. It was a farm in the 17th century and a date of 1684 is on the outside wall. The bread ovens have been sealed off, likewise the priests hole. Mrs Barnes had this bricked up because she considered it too dangerous for her young sons. This hollow cavity extends into one of the bedrooms which has a round end. There is 19th century panelling in some of the bedrooms. The stairway is regency, but it is thought that it could have been at the other end of the house in an earlier period. The attic is medieval and there is a canvas door leading into one of the attic rooms. Near one of the dormer windows servants have carved their manes with the date 1915. The downstairs windows are 18th century whilst those upstairs belong to the Jacobean period. There are timber beams made from ships timbers. One of these shows the remains of a sconce which in an earlier period provided the room with light. Although the pump in the scullery is not used now it was still in use when the Barnes family lived there. There is a 17th century door with original brass lock and knobs and an outside shutter. A northern window has been blocked up, no doubt due to window tax.
There are several farms whose land has either been sold for building or the land has been sold separately from the house. Elm Grove used to be a farm. The house was built early in the 19th century but enlarged and altered at the close of the century when some panelling was used from the old Parsonage House that was demolished behind Pheonix House in George Street.
Land at Nutkins Farm has also been sold away from the house and cottage. The farmhouse has beams in every room and was built by 1763. When my [the authors] parents lived there they had the beams covered up with beaver board in the scullery, but when Mrs Lezard lived there she had them uncovered when she had the house modernised and enlarged. When the renovations were carried out upstairs it was discovered that the wall consisted of wattle and daub. A modern window replaced the lattice one in the bedroom which overlooks the yard and barn. Nearly 30 years ago when the copper was pulled out, a bread oven was discovered and sealed off. The stable has been converted into a lovely lounge with a huge fireplace in the centre, while the original beams in the stable remain overhead with holes cut out into which slats fit. Bricks from the house have been preserved and used as tiles on the floor.
There has always been a well a few yards from the back door, but during the alterations a water table was discovered amounting to three wells, one of which was found near the dairy. However dry the season was the well, from which the water came when my parent farmed there until 1963, never ran dry.
The garage in the yard was originally the barn and until 1932 was thatched. My great uncle James Manchester put on a new roof of corrugated iron that year. So that the roof would be clear of thatch and the cows milked when uncle arrived, my father commenced pulling the old thatch off as the church clock struck five in the morning.
When my parents moved into Nutkins in 1926 the only bridge over the stream was a wooden one. All traffic, which was largely horse and cart or the annual threshing machine had to wade through the water. Before 1939 my father had a new bridge constructed using iron posts they purchased from the post office and a concrete bridge was made which in later years took all the milk lorries and grain lorries that came to the farm.
Across the stream is Nutkins Cottage which has a ate on the wall of 1847. although the cottage was on the Tithe Map of 1841 and the date on the wall was probably when the stairs were inserted or some other alteration was made. Before the stairs were put in, a loft type ladder would have been nailed to the wall and used to get to the upper storey. Daniel Smith used to live here in the early part of the 20th century and later the Jewell family too up residence until some time during the 1940's.
Hall Farm is said to be 400 or 500 years old. It used to be two cottages. The northeast elevation shows wooden beams in the brick structure, while the southeast elevation appears to have had an additional building such as a coach house joined to it.
George III gave a large quantity of land in this area to the Marquis of Wellington for services rendered in fighting in the war and the battle of Waterloo in 1815. This land was handed down to the Duke of Wellington who died in September 1943. When the land was sold, Hall Farm was lot 53 and the conveyance took place in May 1944.
We [the author] owned 1.5 acres of this land with a bungalow from 1958 until 1986. The names on the deeds were Stanley Baldwin, Winston Churchill and Clifton Brown of the Speakers House. Fosters lived at Hall Farm over 200 years ago.
Frobury Farm which is off the Kingsclere to Ecchinswell Road was probably held by Ranulf de Bro in the 12th century. His widowed daughter was holding £6 worth of land. In turn her daughter, Edelina had five daughters who became co-heirs with Beatrice, wife of Ralph de Fay. It passed to Beatrice, succeeding her daughter, Philippa, wife of William de Neville. In 1249 Philippa granted this in free marriage to her son-in-law William de Wintershull. The manor remained in the Wintershull family until 1420, passing to Agnes, wife of William Basset in 1546. Joan Wintershull, widow of Richard Bassett sold the manor to William Paulet, Lord St John, and it eventually descended to Lord Bolton who still owned it until 1923 when he sold it with 310 acres of land with many other farms in the area.
On the eve of the Battle of Newbury, "King Charles lay at Kings Cleer at Mr Towers at Frobury a moated house." There was still a priests chamber in Frobury farmhouse in 1911, but this has since disappeared. The house was considerably altered and enlarged in 1935.
At the end of the 13th century there was a free chapel of St Thomas belonging to the manor of Frobury. Beatrice de Wintershull presented the Chapel's chaplain during episcopacy of John de Poroise (1262-1304). It became Crown property during the reign of Edward VI which continued until 1554. In 1561 Queen Elizabeth granted the chapel to William Paulet, the Marquis of Winchester. From then the chapel has had the same descent as the manor. The late Mrs Alice Dollery remembered seeing the chapel ruins, but all trace of it have now disappeared.
A free chapel was an independent ecclesiastical chapel under the jurisdiction of, and founded by, the King or other powerful person with the King's permission.