The postcard is from 1904 and shows a ‘Smithy’ at the front of the house with the blacksmith looking out of the door. The house was known as “Blackwool”. The 1898 OS Map indicates there were also two small units attached to the building which are just out of the picture.
The house is thought to date to the 15th century and may have originally been built as two oak framed, semi-detached cottages.
The fields behind the house were known as “Black Hole Meadows” and “Black Hole Coppice” and the house was once known as “Black Hole”.
The route of the modern road was created by the turnpike road of 1757 which replaced the ancient ‘drove road’ that ran at the back of the house.
A Butchers Shop was trading from premises beside the house in the early 19th century and there was a 150 acre farm.
When the Nave of the oak framed medieval Chapel of Ease was demolished in 1822, it is believed the ancient oak porch and door were saved by moving them to create a new ‘enhanced’ entrance at the house.
During the 1850’s Felix Foster an early follower of John Sirgood, moved to the property and opened a grocers and drapers shop.
Felix operated the shops for 40 years and their success inspired the Brethren to build the Combination Stores in the centre of the village in 1885.