These three Townsend properties were part of the same small estate in 1932 along with two bits of land on the opposite side of the road. They were owned by Francis George Perrett who ran a General Stores from number 17. Now, number 16 is owned separately and number 18 has become part of Number 17. How come?
Jacob Smith, a carpenter and farmer, who came to Chitterne as a young man and married the school assistant Elizabeth Holloway, acquired 16 and 17 and the two bits of land opposite. By 1888 he had the General Stores built at number 17 and a bakehouse built on one of the bits of land over the road on the site of an old pigsty. Number 16 was used to store the shop goods. Elizabeth ran the shop and bakery with two of their sons, while Jacob worked with wood; he made the funeral bier commissioned by Nathaniel Gibbs, and farmed at Glebe Farm. Jacob died in 1899 and Elizabeth in 1917.
The property passed down to their children, and their second son Henry John Smith, a farmer like his father, bought out the lot in 1918 and leased out the stores. His tenant at the stores was Charles Frederick Farnden, shopkeeper. Meanwhile in 1905 a little cottage, number 18 alongside the stores, came up for sale and was purchased by Willie Chant, who was married to Margaret Smith, H J Smith’s sister.
By all accounts the shop became run down in the early 1930s under the Farndens and Willie and Margaret Chant moved in and built up the trade again, using number 18 as their storage area. In 1932 Francis Perrett bought the shop, bakehouse and number 16 from H J Smith and also number 18 from Willie Chant. Willie and Margaret went on to run the stores in Tilshead High Street for many years.
Number 16 remained a part of the estate until 1967 when the owners Ernest John Brown & his wife Eileen sold the shop, but kept number 16 for themselves. John Brown was a carpenter and Eileen ran the shop from 1954 to 1967. John Brown made the church notice board and the model galleon sometimes used in Flower Festivals. They renovated number 16 for their retirement. The site of the bakehouse across the road had been sold off some time before, but the small piece of land opposite the shop remained a part of that property and is now used as private parking.
From about 1967 the shop became the post office after the earlier post office at 65 Bidden Lane closed. The Stevenson/Purle family ran the Post Office Stores at number 17 from 1974 to 2000 when it closed for the last time.
Grateful thanks to EE for the chance to look at the deeds relating to these properties.