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An illustrated look back at longstock - Geoff Merritt

I would very much like to thank Geoff Merritt for providing me with this illustrated look at Longstock in days gone by, the photograph are wonderful with Geoff's narative proving very informative. if you would like to download this document in pdf format please click on this link - Illustrative Look back at Longstock

I have a few postcards of Longstock that I wish to share with fellow Longstockians, I have also added some personal photos, plus a few of my memories of Longstock. Unfortunately over the years that I have been collecting postcards, there have been very few printed containing Longstock, and those that have, all cover the same subjects, the Peat Spade, the Church and so on.

I am sure that the photos used are in the public domain but if any one has an issue with any photos reproduced here please get in touch to have them removed.

Geoff Merritt.

(Left) Looking up Salisbury Hill, from the Longstock crossroads.
Showing that at one time there was a wall built on the left hand side, going a long way up the hill.

On the other side of the road is two lovely thatched barns, the nearest one is the present day “The Body Barn”.

The barns and yard were at one time used by Windover Dairy, before they had the two modern ones built along the Belford Road.

(Right) A before and after set. Viewed from the centre of the old Test Bridge and looking up Salisbury Hill when the granary buildings were still in situ.

The small “roundhouse” was demolished, and the long shed on the right was wheeled up the side track beside Windover Farmhouse, off right, and is still in use, opposite the present day vet’s surgery.

On the left Clarendon House, is covered in ivy, the narrow main road leading up the hill is tree shrouded and there is not a vehicle in sight.

The paraffin oil lamp on the near right was lit each evening, and extinguished in the morning by the Stockbridge Lamplighter.

(Left) Many years later everything looks cleaned up by the removal of the old Granary furniture.

The black shed peeping out behind the cottages belonged to Mr. Cooper from the Carbery Guest House on the left, it was the office belonging to his “Empress Coaches” business, he kept his buses in the yard overnight and he had a supply of diesel from his own pumps installed by the office.

(left) A milk bottle that was used by Windover Dairy, when they served the local area with a daily delivery service.

(Right) This photo was taken after the yard that belonged to “Empress Coaches” was cleared of its garages, its office and its two diesel pumps, for the building of the present day two houses.

(Right) Another before and after treat for you to peruse. This picture is from the 1950’s. On the left the present day semi detached cottages that were originally part of the old Granary, on the right is Mr. Coopers Carbery Guest House. The narrow hump backed bridge that was demolished and rebuilt in 1963, is in the background, this one was built in 1799, so it lasted very well considering the heaviest traffic it was built for was possibly a coach and four. A turnpike cottage once stood where the sign post is.
(Right) I took this photo in the late 1990’s. The small bridge has now been replaced with a much wider one. The cottages on the left have not changed, except that they have gained a telephone pole. The guest house has lost its tall fence, some of its ivy, a large bush and changed its signs giving the building a much cleaner look. We have also lost the trees on either side of the bridge, the last one felled in October 1977 because of disease.
(Left) Viewed from the Test Bridge towards the present day Lillie’s Cottage / Langtry House, once a single building named Hermit Lodge.(before that it was known as Hermit House). Also shown is the renowned footbridge, used by the Prince of Wales when renting Hermit Lodge that adjoined the garden to the White House, on the other side of the river. Legend has it that after crashing through the previous wooden structure, on his way to meet Lillie Langtry at The White House, the soon to be King Edward the Seventh, had the bridge rebuilt using concrete.
(Left) On the right hidden behind a tall hedge, is Windover Farm House. At the end of the road is the Roundhouse and the wooden hut from the old granary. The very low ceilinged Cossack Inn is across the road, initially “The Horse and Jockey”, it was re-named after a Stockbridge trained racehorse called “Cossack”,won the Derby in 1847.
This delightful Cherry tree growing opposite Windover Farmhouse, welcomed all travellers who entered the Longstock Road from the Stockbridge end. On the immediate left can be seen the long concrete wall that is nowadays overgrown with vegetation. The tall red thing in the centre, is the request bus stop,(I am sure many Longstockians can remember them!)
This photo was taken in 1938, from a front bedroom of present day Braehead House, then it was known as The Laurels (but to all the locals it was known as Bradfield's, because the owner of Longstock Flour Mill lived there.

Longstock Flour Mill - This magnificent steam wagon, based on a Tasker’s Little Giant was from Longstock Flour Mill. The mill employed over 40 people between 1881 and 1922. As far as I can ascertain there were several buildings which housed the mill workers in Longstock, in the present day Mill House yard, for example there were four terraced cottages. On the awkward bend in the road by the mill is Wayside, this was originally two cottages, (incidentally when I was a schoolboy I recall playing marbles by rolling them across the main road and up to the wall of the house, we did have the occasional vehicle to wait for, which disrupted our game.) I digress, we now move up to Halfway Cottage,this was again originally a pair of cottages, immediately across the road, is present day Kingfisher Lodge, previously named Heron Cottage this was originally three cottages also known as Halfway Cottages. According to the 1911 census, several of the buildings I have mentioned housed mill workers. When Mr. Bradfield died, his son Ernest took over the business. Longstock Mill ceased flour making in 1934, provender milling (food for livestock, especially hay or other dry fodder) continuing until 1935, it then became a store. The Mill house was known as Riversdale.
(Right) This picture was taken at the junction of Southside Cottages, (when they were first built in 1930, they were known as “The Council Houses”), the request bus stop, for them was just out of the picture on the left. I apologise for Jane the dog and the quality of the picture, but I could not find another photo with the Longstock signpost in this position on it. This meant that for many years it was thought that the Parish of Longstock started here.
(Left) In 1911, Edgar Dollar the Stockbridge Town Crier was living in one of the Halfway Cottages aged 66, by then Edgar was a widower.
In 1942, during World War Two, a stick of bombs fell very near Southside Cottages, killing eight of Mr. Burnfield’s cows, and causing several electric wires to be pulled down. The above drawing was drawn by Stan Mawson especially for me many years ago, to illustrate where the bombs fell, and the damage that they had done. Stan was living in Southside Cottages at the time. I was living there as well but was less than a year old at the time. I thought it would be good idea to share it with other Longstockians. Stan has also drawn the allotments, these were a necessity during the war years and was assessed by using the track next to Halfway Cottage. The pond is in a field by Mr. Burnfield’s first dairy on that road. Costa’s field is the field by the house “Butterflies”, and Waters field is now Burnfield's.

At the junction of Bottom Road, is the old South Lodge, now no longer with us. According to the Longstock Tithe map of 1839, the house was then named Elm Cottage, possibly after the magnificent tree that is adjacent to it

The picture shows what a very narrow main road there was in those days, a pony and trap are standing outside the front door, possibly waiting to take the house owner shopping. Present day South Lodge has lost the belt of fir trees on the left and one of the small yew trees from the front.

Test View Cottage in the background, has since obtained a conservatory, and the huge tree opposite it has been felled. Up Bottom Road itself, adjacent to the last dwelling on the right was “The chalk pit” used by the farmers for fertilizing the fields before lime became the vogue, (spreading chalk on the fields was a common practice in the Middle Ages, this appears to have continued into the 19th century). For many years the pit was unfortunately turned into the village dump, but in 1930 the authority's decided to empty everyone’s rubbish bins once a month.

As a lad I would spend many days with the gang in the dump, even though we were told not to visit the place, because of disease etc. it had a steep slope to descend on entry and it was somewhat deep, mainly we were searching for glass pop bottles with marbles still in place in the necks, another favourite find was the narrow glass test tubes, which after breaking the solid ends off them, they made good pea- shooters.

Immediately opposite the Chalk pit was a huge rabbit warren, which was probably encouraged by the locals to exist, for a tasty rabbit pie now and again.

I recall one summer afternoon in the early 1950’s, a pal and I decided to climb a tree, which was right next to the present day gateway, (where the haystack is in the picture). We would climb a tree and look into bird’s nests, but as country lads we knew well enough not to take the eggs or to disturb the nest, we were both perched up the tree, when a tractor hauling a trailer with a load of straw bales appeared from out Bottom Road and the bales were on fire! it pulled across the main road and was blocking it….almost immediately the fire engine from Stockbridge pulled up, and the firemen got to work, of course the police arrived as well, so we were stuck up the tree for a long time, hidden in the leaves, afraid to come down and have awkward questions fired at us by the police…..we were both late getting home for tea that day but at least we remained undiscovered.

The cycle is propped up against the wall of Test Lodge, which has a protective wooden fence perched along the top. Test Lodge in 1847, was named Moineau Lodge, (which means “sparrow” I am sure there were a lot about in those times as they were classed as vermin). The house name was changed sometime between 1931 and 1935. The Grange is in the background. At one time it was the original club house of Longstock Fishing Club, started in 1809, which was the first one of its kind,, but it was dissolved in 1827, when most of its members were elected to the Houghton Fishing Club formed in 1822. It was reconstituted in 1840 and was known as The Craven Club, but ended shortly before World War One. At one time it was a fishing lodge for Lord Harewood, who enlarged the building. I should imagine that the two children are off to fetch the days milk from Waters' dairy in Bottom Road, and were stopped by the photographer and asked to pose for the picture.

An extended view of above, now it can be seen where the wall is situated in the top picture. The slate roofed garage on the left, had a flat above it, today this has become a much larger dwelling with a thatched roof.

I recall that just beyond the garage, above the long white wall there was a one storey dwelling perched in the hedge, if I remember right, but it was someone’s home. As a lad I was enthralled to be allowed up into a tree house opposite Test View Cottage, it was built high in a tree just off to the right in the picture.

Very much earlier, there was a an ancient track leading down to the river from here for the shepherds to bring their flocks to be watered. For many years after, it was used by the villagers as an illegal dump.

The first building on the left is the Methodist Chapel built in 1878, beyond that is the Old School House, adjacent to that the thatched cottage was School Cottage now demolished, for years it housed Jim Mitchell, the dairyman for Water’s Farm in Bottom Road (still known as Water’s Lane to a lot of people),Waters Farm was where the present day Mrs. Burtenshaw’s Riding School has been established. On the right of the picture, (with the Lyons Teas sign outside) was the local shop along with three cottages, they were all destroyed in a horrific fire in 1921.

Legend has it, that a young lad,while in the process of cleaning out his rabbits, set fire to the used straw from the hutch, and inadvertently burnt down the four buildings, today there is just a patch of overgrown waste ground adjacent to the Village Hall to commemorate the tragedy).

According to the correspondent on the back of the above postcard, this was Longstock’s only shop at the time.

Viewed from the field looking towards the main road, is the aftermath of the dreadful fire, all that was left standing was the walls of the burnt out buildings. Amongst the firemen on the scene, was a steam driven fire engine from Romsey, while on its way back home, after attending the fire, it stopped at the pond in Stockbridge High Street (by the present day The Garden Inn), to fill up with water, somehow it toppled through the railings and into the pond, sadly seriously injuring a fireman, who later died from his injuries.On the right is Hillside Cottages, built in 1919, they replaced four very old thatched cottages.
Ivy Cottage and in the background the local shop along with the three cottages, that were all were destroyed in the fire in 1921. In 1878 Samuel Alfred French a farmer resided in Ivy Cottage.

(Above) All of the Longstock Church School pupils and staff have agreed to come out and arrange themselves for the photographer. The Church School was built in 1867 in the Vicarage grounds (known as the parsonage grounds in 1839). The building was in constant use until 1924, when 40 children were transferred to be educated in the school at Stockbridge. (In 1847 there were 80 scholars! ) It was used as a baby welfare centre and a canteen for troops during World War Two

I can remember being pushed in my pushchair up to the school to receive my quota of orange juice (right).

(Bottom left) The cast of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, assembled in the School yard, Easter 1921. (Bottom right) A photo of the pupils of Longstock Church School.
Longstock Village Hall, was originally an army hut from an occupied camp in the First World War and was given by Mrs. Beddington, who lived at Longstock House. She opened it in 1921 and a sub-committee of the Parish Council was formed, to look after all matters connected with it. In the Second World War the Hall was let out to the Portsmouth Municipal Collage as a school for the evacuated girl and boy pupils, aged 14 to 16, who were billeted throughout the villages nearby.

Post Office Directory for 1847

In the earliest directory for Longstock that I have of 1847, the Vicar was the Rev. Walter Blunt. William Barnes was the landlord of the Peat Spade and was also a carpenter.

Robert Baverstock was listed as a beer retailer and shopkeeper.
Thomas Etheridge was a beer retailer and shopkeeper.
William Kingstone was a beer retailer and a gardener.
Jacob Martin was a shopkeeper.
William Atwood was the farmer at Lower Manor Farm.
John Kellow was at Hazeldown Farm.
Edward Ranger was at Charity Farm.
Isaac Saddler was at Oliver’s Farm.
William Russell was at Upper Manor Farm.
Robert Cole, William Cole, George Tribute and John Wilkins were also farmers, but it does not state where they were farming.
Charles Marsh was a shoemaker.
James Russell was a Miller.
Job Winkworth was a Bricklayer.
The School Mistress was Eliza Smith.
Henry Hams was the Parish Clerk.
Alfred Day was a Jockey living in Pyrrhus Cottage (Present day Sarum, Salisbury Hill). He later moved to Hermit lodge and became a well known racehorse trainer.

The population of Longstock in the 1841 census was 497.

Grateful Thanks

I am very grateful for gleaning some snippets, and several of the dates, from Winifred G Beddington's book that was written in 1951, “Our Village-Longstock”.

The top picture was taken on the approach to the junction with Church Road. Circa. 1930. It depicts a “telephone from here sign”, but there is no Telephone box, possibly as this was the Post Office for a while, one had to go inside to use the telephone, in the lower picture it has appeared, no, not by magic! it was installed at the request of the Women’s Institute in 1937, and now has a preservation order on it.

On the right, once part of Church Farm, Ken Bookham’s farmhouse, very much covered in ivy in the top picture, but all of it has been removed in the lower one, note also that Ken’s cows have left their mark in the middle of the road.

The black door next to the two cottages on the left, was once the door of the village Blacksmith, Jacob Martin, who had a shop as well, James Martin also a Blacksmith, possibly his brother lived in one of the cottages further on opposite the peat Spade Inn.

The bottom picture is Circa. early 1960’s

Facing the Lychgate from St. Mary’s Church in a pre-1920 photo. With what appears to me to be a magnificent Elm tree (I shall hope to be corrected if wrong) growing on the side of the road. The Peat Spade Inn can be seen peeping through in the background. Ivy does seem to be in abundance everywhere.

Oxford University carried out a three year project on ivy. They found that ivy acted as a thermal blanket, warming up walls by an average of 15 per cent in cold weather and cooling the surface temperature of the wall in hot weather by an average of 36 per cent. The ivy was also found to absorb some of the harmful pollutants in the atmosphere. Walls where ivy was growing were less prone to the damaging effects of freezing temperatures, temperature fluctuations, pollution and salts than exposed walls without ivy.

Possibly a 1950’s view from the same pathway. The Lychgate was donated by Mrs. Trask in 1907 in memory of her relations, who are among those buried in the churchyard. In the Middle Ages when most people were buried in shrouds rather than coffins, the dead were carried to the Lychgate and placed on a bier, where the priest conducted the first part of the funeral service under its temporary shelter.

Our huge tree has now gone, along with the protective ivy from the buildings, but I must admit it does clean things up a bit.

With the Inn now uncovered, telephone poles have arrived and there is a solitary milk churn waiting to be collected from Church Farm.

Three views that have changed little over many decades. The important one is there is no Lychgate in the top photo, so it is pre-1907. There is a flag pole by the Lychgate in the centre photo. A tree felled here and a telephone pole introduced, and that is about it, apart from the fence and hedgerow on the right. In all three photos there was no access for a car into what used to be Mr. Child the wheelwright and coffin maker’s old cottage dating from the 1600’s.
The Church dedicated to St. Mary was built in 1880, it replaced a very ancient chalk walled building probably of the 15th century, the long list of incumbents start in 1315. One of the oldest tombstones in the churchyard is of Alice Pearce who died in 1632. The cemetery in Church Road was given by Mr. J Spedan Lewis, who also planted the hedges and the flowering cherry trees, the ground, was consecrated by the Bishop of Winchester in 1944.

The Vicarage was a gift of Sir John Barker Mill Bart. The Lord of The Manor. A view from the church depicting that the huge tree seen in one of the previous pictures, is in fact two!

The Peat Spade Inn is in the background, and four children are squatting in the shade, posing for the picture.

The Reverend C. E. Crowley from Chilbolton officiated the dedication of the War Memorial in 1919. It was designed by Mr. Atkinson the architect to Winchester Cathedral, who always said that he was proud that this memorial was his first work in the county. The sculpture was carried out by Messrs. Blackwell of Winchester. The Parish Council now has the responsibility for the upkeep.

On the left of the picture is the old barn, that belonged to the Peat Spade Inn, it was demolished for the present day building.

As a lad I would sit at a table outside the pub, with my glass of fizzy lemonade, enjoying the bubbles going up my nose and munching a packet of Smith’s crisps, while watching Shield Blackburn the Landlord’s son, swing backwards and forwards in the open sided barn on a rope suspended from a beam in the roof.

On the right of the picture was the old Post Office, the entrance being the door nearest the camera at the front of the building. As far as it is known Longstock Post Office had the three different sites, the first one was in a small house next door to School Cottage (now demolished), Ken Bookham’s farmhouse, and lastly the one above.

Now there is no longer a daily bus service, we seem to have moved right back into the past, a Mr. Wolstenholme started up one such service in 1930, taking passengers to Andover and Romsey. The first electric light arrived in the village in 1934.

Danger signals were erected in 1925 at the crossroads which meet at the bottom of Salisbury Hill, which had long been a cause of anxiety for many motorists, also a warning sign at the north end of the village indicating the dangerous corner.

Tins and paper were collected by the Rural District Council in 1935, The Hampshire Cleansing Service was to follow much later, with the pumping out of cess pits and the emptying of sanitary buckets.

The first jet plane from Chilbolton aerodrome, “The Swift” flew over the village in 1950 at 660 MPH, flown by Mike Lithgow, who lived at Sarum on Salisbury Hill. And it took awhile to get used to the loud bangs every time it flew through the sound barrier.

This personal photo of Jane our Alsatian, (we were not allowed to call her a German Shepherd dog, back in 1952) was taken, at the picnic spot round The Bunny, nowadays the nearby background has now become overgrown.

In these parts ”Bunny” is the name given to a small aqueduct or carrier of water.

Until this bridge was built in 1938, this crossing of the River Test was a water splash, the other two smaller bridges were built much later with private prescriptions.

There was a main route from Danebury, which progressed down Church Road, through the Bunny road to Leckford, then onto Winchester via Winchester Street. It is said that another river 20 feet ( 6.096 meters) down, runs under the present one and, when sinking an artesian well at the Mill, some small blind shrimps were bought up from this water. In 1853 it is recorded that a Crayfish (or Crawfish) was caught the size of a man’s hand.

As a lad in the early 1950’s,it was always a delight to ride in the back of the wooden seated Bedford OB school bus, driven by “Ernie” and travel over the other two very humpbacked bridges at great speed urged on by his excited passengers. The bridges are almost flattened today.

White Shape Bridge, is named after the chalk pit in the background,( indiscernible today) which provided the chalk to fill in the Andover - Redbridge Canal, for the succeeding railway line to be built on.

Viewed from White Shape Bridge, looking towards Leckford.

The picture was taken a while after the rails had been removed and the track had become overgrown. Note the width of the original footpath, as to how we know it today, also the long row of telegraph poles running alongside it. All the trees on the left, that my brother David Merritt and Brother-in-Law Les Povey, help plant in the 1950’s, have recently been felled.

The Peat Spade Inn

(Left) Formerly a thatched cottage, the inn has changed very little over the past decades, outside, only the inn sign itself perhaps.

The picture was used on the cover of the Longstock Newsletter for many years and does not need any introduction.

(Centre) The picture is now showing a new sign and has gained a bus stop.

The inn has also inserted white posts to protect what looks like a little garden along the frontage.

(Bottom) The picture has gained telephone poles and it has a good wooden seat for passengers to sit on to wait for the bus. The bus shelter (now defunct) a long time off in the future.

Fitzpatrick's general Store in the right background has two greenhouses to keep the store supplied with fresh produce.

What is clearly shown on the left hand side, is the vacant plot awaiting the building of present day Verlynch Cottages. The three trees at the end of the long wall on the right hand side, which has dominated the other two pictures has now been sadly felled.

There are no TV aerials or satellite dishes to be seen anywhere!

In 1951 the inn was owned by The Peoples Refreshment House Association

The Old Thatch across the road, has had some new thatch in places and we have a different view of the Peat Spade Inn sign.
An early 1920’s photo taken from the entrance of the present day children’s playground.
The same view but from the early 1960’s with telephone poles added. The two cottages on the left appear to have been whitewashed then. They have moved on from the latticed windows in the earlier photo.

Today's changes include, the front door has been swapped with the smaller left hand window, and the wooden gate and hedge along the front bank have been removed .

(Above left) W. Fitzpatrick, Longstock Stores, was just past, and on the same side as the present day Moat Cottages. It is not a quirky photo, a drift of snow has just been blown off the roof.

Hopefully all is revealed as to where the shop was situated. It was The Old Farmhouse, built in 1743. William and Marjorie Fitzpatrick bought the stores in 1924 and sold it when the store was closed in 1948. William and Marjorie had two sons, Michel and Gerald. Gerald has written a book on his childhood memories of Longstock, and it is from this book that I have gleaned the information for this page. The store was indeed a general store and it was also a parcel depot for the Wilts & Dorset bus company.

Opposite the shop was the Recreation Ground, it was first rented in 1895 for the benefit mostly for the children, it was hoped that the swings and see-saws would prevent them playing on the roads. I fear that the cows used it more than the children in later years, then Verlynch Cottages were built on the field.

St. Catherine’s Cottage. The old wooden fence has long gone, the front door has been replaced by a window, but little else tells us that it is of a different era. St. David’s Cottage further along does not seemed to have changed at all.

Viewed from suicide corner, looking towards Stockbridge.

On the right at the end of the white wall, is the entrance to the model dairy that was built in 1950, with all mod electric appliances and a herd of Ayreshire cows.

The cricket ground was behind the two cottages on the left, present day, it is used by the cows, and annually, as a car park for the Longstock Fete. Prior to using this field, the cricket field was just above the Vicarage in Church Road. In 1916, it was moved to this field, known then as “Mr Chandler’s Field “, as Mr. Chandler was living at Charity Farm at the time. The pavilion was originally the Parish Room, (used as the Village Hall at that time) and was situated at the entrance to the vicarage, it was enlarged considerably for the Cricket Club when it was moved.

When I was a small boy, I would be given a lift on the crossbar of my brother’s bike, all the way from Southside Cottages to Mr. Saunders house, (the entrance by the long white wall) to have my haircut, and a jolly good job he used to do as well.

This view is approaching suicide corner from Hazeldown. There were three semi-detached cottages, barns and sheds with outside loo's, and they were all eventually condemned and demolished to make way for the building of the present day New Cottages.
The top two pictures are both looking up the hill towards Hazeldown from suicide corner. I am unsure of which picture is the earliest, all I can say is that the house on the right, in the bottom picture, was almost on the bend itself, the footpath to Longstock Park started alongside it. The centre picture starts alongside the small thatched barn, where the telephone pole is shown in the bottom picture.
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