ShopsTithe Plots

Tithe Plot 46 – Village Shop

Figure 1 below shows the area highlighted in turquoise as the location of the village shop which was owned in 1840 by James Dance and occupied by his son Robert. The building next door highlighted red is now called “Devoran and Rivers Edge” it is unclear who owned or lived in this building in 1840. Opposite highlighted yellow was block of thatched cottages, 4 of whom belonged to James Dance and one Plot 38 that belonged to Richard Colebrook. These cottages have now been altered to just be 3, named The Cottage, Hansdel & Langley (right to left on the map).

Figure 1 – Extract from the Tithe Map of 1840 for St Mary Bourne1

Figure 2 below is the oldest image I’ve seen of the marked areas on the 1840 tithe map. The thatched cottages on the left past the tiled roof houses are the properties highlighted yellow, on the right you can see “Devoran and Rivers Edge” cottage highlighted red and part of the shop from the turquoise highlighted section as it was in 1910 then under the ownership of the Neale family.

Also in this image you can see A. Cook on the first building on the left, this was the home and studio of Alfred Cook the local photographer. The woman outside is likely his wife Elizabeth and their oldest daughter Dorothy.

Figure 2 – Postcard posted 18th January 19102

How does Plot 46 look in the 21st century?

Figure 3 below shows the view of Plot 46 from the cottages highlighted yellow. This image shows what is now called the “Post Office” and some old stables called “Post Office Outbuilding“. Both these buildings are listed buildings, the links will take you to their entries on the Historic England website.

Figure 3 – View of plot 46 from the main road3
Figure 4 – View of plot 46 from Spring Hill Lane4

Figure 4 above shows Plot 46 from Spring Hill Lane and that whatever was situated there in 1840 no longer exists and has been replaced by a modern bungalow.

When did this plot become the Village Shop and who ran it?

James Dance married Rachel Smith, on 4th August 1808 in St. Mary Bourne parish church, at the time of his marriage he was living in Kensington, Middlesex. He wasn’t from either place but from nearby Hurstbourne Tarrant where he was born on the 24th March 1782.

James & Rachel went on to have four children in the village James (b. 6th May 1809), Robert (b. 1810), John (b. 1814) and Mary (b. 27th February 1818). The baptisms for the later two give the occupations Dealer & Grocer which suggests that at least as early as 1814, James was running some kind of shop, most likely in the location shown.

At this time Tea was becoming the drink of choice for many with prices becoming lower than beer and was considered a necessity by the poor labourers5. Was James a dealer in tea & coffee? He had no doubt visited the tea & coffee shops in London during his time in Kensington. Whatever he was dealing in it no doubt had relevance to the village shop.

On the 6th November 1834 James’ son Robert married Ann Ruddle in the parish church of nearby Kingsclere. The following year their son Henry was born and it is then that we find that Robert is now running the family business and is described as a Grocer on his son’s baptism record. This is the same occupation given when his daughters Mary Anna & Ann are baptised in 1837 & 1839. The shop was run by Robert until his death on 17th January 18486. His death certificate gives his occupation as Baker which is the earliest confirmed source of the shop also being a bakery found at this point.

By the time of the 1851 census7 the shop is now being run by George Neale & his wife Olive. I suspect mostly by Olive as the baptism records for their children Jeanette (b. 1849), Harriet Edith (b. 1850), George (b. 1853), Sarah Olive (b. 1856), Mary Ellen (b. 1858), and James John (b. 1860) give George’s occupation as either Carpenter, Wheelwright or Builder so clearly he was doing a lot more than running the village shop.

In 1855, George is stated as being a Grocer in the 1855 Post Office Directory but at this time his shop doesn’t appear to also be the post office as Moses Butcher is stated as being the receiver of the post. Moses was the village School Master8.

By 1859 we find George listed under Bakers & Shopkeepers in a Whites Directory9 and on the 1861 census10 he describes himself as a Baker & Grocer.

Another directory from 186511 gives further clues with regards to the Post Office, Moses Butcher is stated as being the sub- postmaster as well as the “collector of taxes”. George’s occupation is again given as Grocer.

By the time of the 1871 Census12, George’s business interests have grown he is described at this point in time as “Shopkeeper, Wheelwright & occupier of 77 acres of land, employing 2 labourers and 1 boy”. It’s clear too that the shop is a real family affair daughters Jeanette (21) & Harriet (20) are both stated as being shop assistants and 17 year old George junior is a Baker.

POST OFFICE.-George Neale, receiver. Letters through Andover received at 9 a.m.; dispatched at 6.25 p.m. The nearest money order office’s are at Whitchurch & Hurstbourne Tarrant

Post Office Directory of 187513

The Post Office Directory of 1875 is extremely useful in telling the story of the village shop on Plot 46. Not only do we find out that it is now the Post Office but also gives George’s occupation as Grocer, Draper & Postmaster. Draper gives further clues as to what the shop sold.

George’s time running the shop ended on his death on the 25th August 1879. His death certificate gave his occupation as Farmer & Grocer14.

At the time of the 1881 Census15 the now head of the family Olive is is stated as being a Grocer along with youngest son James who is stated as being a Grocer shopman which gives the impression that Olive is now in charge.

Moving on another 10 years and the 1891 Census16 tells us the shop is now in the hands of James who described himself as a General Store Keeper. James had married Helena King on 2nd April 1888 in the parish of St Mary’s Church,Teddington, Middlesex. They had 4 children Norman George James (b. 16th July 1890), Millicent Olive Helena (b. 31st May 1892), Roland John (b. Q2 1894) and Lawrence King (b. 14th February 1898).

Post, M. O. & T. O., T. M. O., S. B., Express Delivery, Parcel Post & Annuity & Insurance Office. Neale & Son, sub-postmasters. Letters through Andover received at 7.45 a.m. & 12.5 p.m.; dispatched at 11.5 a.m. & 6. p.m. Stoke Wall Box cleared at 5.30 p.m.; sunday,. 10 a.m. Swampton Box cleared at 5.50 p.m.; sunday, 10.20 a.m

1898 Kelly’s Directory of Hampshire & Isle of Wight17

By 1898 the Kelly’s directory gives the business name Neale & sons rather than the name of an individual and that it is a grocers, drapers & post office.

1901 and James is still running the shop the census18 states “general supply stores” in the occupation, it also tells us he’s an employer and that he works there telling us the family also lived there too.

The 1911 Census19 tell us James is still running the shop stated as being a General Supply Store assisted by his son Roland, who is a Grocer & Draper. Like in 1898 the Kelly’s directory of 1911 states ” Neale & sons. Grocers, drapers & sub- postmasters”

Post, M. O., T. & Express Delivery Office. Neale & Son, sub-postmasters. Letters through Andover received at 7.5 a.m. & 11.45 p.m.; dispatched at 10.45 a.m. & 6.20 p.m.; sundays, 10.45 a.m. Swampton Box cleared at 10.10 a.m. & 6.20 p.m.; sundays 10.45 a.m. Railway Inn box, cleared at 10.25 a.m. 6.10 p.m.; sundays, 8.30 a. m

1911 Kelly’s Directory of Hampshire & Isle of Wight20
Figure 5 – Postcard from 192821

Figure 5 shows the flooded road outside the shop in 1928, you can just see the railings visible on Figure 2 on the right. We do get a better look at the thatched cottages on the left, the properties highlighted yellow on the map and again we can see “Devoran and Rivers Edge” cottage highlighted red on the map.

At this point in time it is unclear who was running the shop & post office. It is known that at the time of the 1921 Census James and his family were no longer living in St. Mary Bourne.

The last two images below embedded directly from the Francis Frith website under their non-commercial use license show the shop in 1955 when it was owned by S.H. Mullins. When S. H. Mullins took over the shop is unknown they are not found living in the village at the time of the 1921 Census or the 1939 Register.

Note: Establishing the details about who was running the shop from 1911 onwards was not possible at this time but may well be established in the future.


Precisely what was sold is difficult to say but as we can see from the various descriptions over they years and what would be expected in a small village community it would seem most likely that it sold general goods, baked goods and drapery items. Unlike in towns like nearby Andover & Whitchurch were there were specific grocers, drapers and bakers the village shop on Plot 46 would have been a one stop shop.

Grocery – would be things like tea, coffee, flour, sugar, dried goods such as split peas/lentils/fruit, spices etc. Fresh goods like eggs, milk, butter and cheese were most likely sold too, some people may have chickens to supply their eggs or a cow for milk and to produce butter/cheese but not all. Vegetables would also likely have been sold, not all had land upon which they could grow their own. It would also sell essential items like candles & soap.

Drapers – the drapery part of the business would be selling cloth, wool, needles, pins and sewing threads etc.

Bakery – likely a large part of the business as bread was the largest part of a labourers diet. Each day hundreds of loaves of the most basic nature would have had to be made. The vast majority of the local labouring workforce would not have ovens in their homes so bread would have been bought from local shops/bakeries.

In addition it is likely that much of what was sold was also delivered. It was a time consuming process packing orders, everything would need to be weighed out and packaged. We’ve seen above when looking at who was running the shop the family affair that it was, each member of the family would play their part.

There would be someone at the front of the shop serving customers with small orders likely dealt with there and then, others out the back, who might be doing things like roasting coffee beans, blending tea, packing cheese & butter which needed to be kept in a cold store. Someone would need to deal with incoming deliveries, flour for instance would be delivered from the local mill in a large sack. This would need to be brought in and stored. Towards the end of the day it would have been necessary to ensure that everything was delivered, in St. Mary Bourne this may mean not just in the village itself but also out to the many hamlets nearby.

Adulteration is another thing worth mentioning with regards to the shop. It is highly likely as was common practice at the time for food to be adulterated. Part of the flour in bread replaced with chalk, alum or plaster and water added to milk & beer were common practices at the time along with many other nasty things added to food. The bread additives would cut costs as flour was expensive especially in the early part of the 19th century, alum was also good for whitening the bread something consumers wanted. Watering down liquids also cut costs, at this time water came from the village water pump or a well, no charges to water companies as we have today.


Bates, M. (Director). (n.d.). Victorian Bakers (viewed via Amazon Prime) [Television Show]. Viewed December 25, 2023
Brown, J. (2011). Tracing Your Rural Ancestors. Barnsley: Pens and Sword Family History.
Turn Back Time: The High Street (viewed via YouTube Absolute History Channel: What Was It Like To Be A Victorian Shopkeeper? (2010). [Television Show]. Viewed December 26, 2023
Wilkinson, P. (n.d.). Turn Back Time: The High Street. Quercus.


  1. ↩︎
  2. From a collection of images sent to me by Sarah Barton (2023) ↩︎
  3. Google Maps street view, dated August 2011 ↩︎
  4. Google Maps street view, dated July 2011 ↩︎
  5. ↩︎
  6. ↩︎
  7. Findmypast. “1851 England, Wales & Scotland Census.” Database with images. Findmypast. ↩︎
  8. 1855 Post Office Directory of Hampshire, Wiltshire & Dorsetshire (available at ↩︎
  9. 1859-Directory-of-Hampshire-and-the-Isle-of-Wight (available at ↩︎
  10. Findmypast. “1861 England, Wales & Scotland Census.” Database with images. Findmypast. ↩︎
  11. 1865 Harrod & Co’s Directory of Hampshire & Isle of Wight (available at ↩︎
  12. Findmypast. “1871 England, Wales & Scotland Census.” Database with images. Findmypast. ↩︎
  13. 1875 Post Office Directory of Hampshire Wiltshire & Dorset (available at ↩︎
  14. ↩︎
  15. Findmypast. “1881 England, Wales & Scotland Census.” Database with images. Findmypast. ↩︎
  16. Findmypast. “1891 England, Wales & Scotland Census.” Database with images. Findmypast. ↩︎
  17. 1898 Kelly’s Directory of Hampshire & Isle of Wight (available at ↩︎
  18. Findmypast. “1901 England, Wales & Scotland Census.” Database with images. Findmypast. ↩︎
  19. Findmypast. “1911 Census For England & Wales.” Database with images. Findmypast. ↩︎
  20. 1911 Kelly’s Directory of Hampshire & Isle of Wight (available at ↩︎
  21. From a collection of images sent to me by Clive Wedge (2023) ↩︎

4 thoughts on “Tithe Plot 46 – Village Shop

  • Mrs Ros Bailey

    I was born above the post office May 27th 1947. Rosalind Mary Stevens. Daughter of Josephine and Ben Stevens. They moved from Southall Middx summer 1946 to Egbury, before moving to the PO.(I don’t know who owned it )Dad was a Baker for Mr Hopkins in Hurstbourne Tarrant. Later we moved to live with them. They had 3 boys the youngest Christopher was my age. When they had their daughter Hilary we moved to Ponds farm to a tied cottage dad then had to work work there. Mum and dad started up Cubs,Scouts, Brownies and Guides. They helped organise Concerts and OAP events. I loved living there. Sadly after foot and mouth we had to move as there was no longer a job. We moved to Weston super Mare Somerset February 1954. I remember my teacher at the Village school was Miss Cockram. She went to Canada and brought back a totem pole.

    • Wow Ros lovely to hear your story. So much history in buildings and you being born there is another small part of a giant jigsaw. The local children must have loved your parents setting up the clubs. Life must have beenn so different after the move to Western Super Mare small village to seaside town is definitely a big change. The totem pole sounds interesting not the sort of thing you’d expect to see in SMB.

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