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The Rother Valley Guide
West Sussex, England

The Heyshott Book
pages 117 to 119


 


The Shops

There are records of only two shops in the village. One was the grocer's shop run by Benjamin Newell and his wife, Louisa, in the 19th century and the other the village shop which was closed down in 1981.
 
Benjamin was a great village character, a farmer, grocer and churchwarden. He had 12 children by two wives ( not at the same time) and died aged 92. Louisa, who was much younger than Benjamin, carried on running the shop for 30 years till 1904.
It was situated at the front of the present Newells and Glebe Cottages when they were one premises.
 
Here are Benjamin and Louisa:


Benjamin and Louisa Newell, Heyshott

In the West Sussex Record office is one of Louisa Newell's account books. It shows that she regularly supplied the Rector and Miss Cobden of Dunford. She held a wide range of goods, including milk, bread, biscuits, coffee and black-lead. There is a record of what she provided for a school treat in 1878.
 
The total bill came to £2.3s.8d for which she provided:


267 gallon cakes - £1.15s
1 pt cream - 7½d
1 lb butter - 1s.10d
7 qtrs milk - 1s.2d
8 lbs sugar - 2s.4d
5 loaves - 2s.8½d


The other shop was started by Edward Pope, it is not clear when.
He was born in 1831 and at the age of 19 was a journeyman cordwainer (a shoemaker working for someone else). He was the younger son of Henry Pope who owned the messuage, consisting of two tenements, now called Heyshott Farmhouse and he ran the White Lion off-licence from there in the 1860s and 1870s.


Page 117



Page 118

However, by the time he was 30, Edward was both a shoemaker and a grocer and operated from one of his father's two tenements.
He is said to be a most industrious and enterprising person and, while running his shop, also did much of the work of building his new shop opposite the Unicorn, which he had bought in 1861. He apparently drew, in a handcart, all the way from the Downs, the chalk for the foundations of the new shop and the road to it across the Green.
His shop supplied most things the villagers needed 'clothing, from boots and shoes to Billycock hats, cooking utensils and general provisions'.
When his wife died in 1889, a niece, Emily Elizabeth, came as his housekeeper and sometime in the 1890s they established a Post Office at the stores.
 
Edward died in 1990 and his niece, Emily, carried on the running of the shop, helped by her widowed mother, Caroline. The latter was a great character who only died in 1928, aged 97, and some people in the village still remember her behind the counter. A photograph of her is on page 46.
 
Emily gave up the shop just before the war.


The Stores and Post Office, Heyshott


 
It was then run by a variety of different people, including the Knights (he used to deliver groceries around the village on a bicycle with a box on the side, making it a three-wheeler like the old Walls ice cream tricycles). They were followed by the Fisks who were a much loved couple and ran the shop exceptionally well. They are both buried in the churchyard near the south gate.
 
They were followed by the Harveys and then by the O'Rourkes. Unfortunately, soon after they arrived, Mrs O'Rourke became ill and had to give up running the shop. Her husband kept it going for some time with tenants but this proved unsatisfactory and, at one stage, various members of the village had to rally round to help with the accounts. When O'Rourke needed to move in 1981, he could get no offers for the shop, so it was closed and incorporated into the main part of the house. It was a sad day for the village.


Page 118



Page 119


 
The Foundry
 
In the nineteenth century there was a foundry upstream from Bex Mill and it was there that the iron overshot mill wheel at Bex Mill was cast. However that foundry was on the west side of the stream and so in Cocking, not Heyshott. The Foundry Pond, which still appears on some maps as part of Costers Brook, used to play a vital part in the running of Bex Mill, as explained in Chapter 9.
 
In Heyshott today the only indication that there was actually a foundry in the village is the name Foundry Cottages for the terrace of small cottages close to the road to Graffham. Although, as mentioned in Chapter 3, iron was being produced in Heyshott in the 14th century, there is no record of there being a foundry in the village until after the First World War.
 
In 1919 a small foundry was built on the site of the present Foundry Cottages car park. It was a private venture and employed some demobilised soldiers. The foreman and pattern maker lodged at Heatherview with the father and mother of Jim West, the present owner.
 
The foundry closed in 1926 when the mould broke, pouring out red hot molten metal. One of the workmen was so badly injured that he had to have a leg amputated.
 
After the closure, Mr Smith, a local builder, built a large warehouse where the cottages are now. It was planned as a paint factory and had two huge doors. However, due to lack of money, it was never operational and Mr Smith sold it to a Mr Cecil Richards Albery of The Foresters Arms at Graffham.
Cecil Albery converted the factory into ten cottages with the help of Jim West's father, who was a bricklayer and who took out the doors and built the partition walls. There was no proper drainage, so each cottage had its own earth closet at the back.
By 1997 the cottages were badly in need of modernisation and, in the process, they were reduced in number from 10 to 8.


Foundry Cottages, Heyshott


 
This transcription is kindly being written by Deidre Millington, of Nottinghamshire
 
Page 119

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