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The post card above was bought by myself, John Nicklin, from eBay in 2005 for approx. £20. It shows The Chandlery, then run by Mr HE Roberts, around 1916-1924.

The Chandlery was originally built on the Witley Court Estate (Foley era), the earliest parts dating back to before 1736. We have a map from that date depicting the property in those days.

It was a shop from its earliest days, being registered as a chandlery (literally a storage place for candles (nothing to do with ships!), but generally meaning a shop selling candles, ropes, wax, tin cans etc) and general store in 1820, becoming the Post Office in the 1850's (to 1930's). When we arrived it was called Maple Cottage, which we thought strange and unsuitable for such a fine house. Lucky investigation found that it had been called that because when I spoke to Mrs Peet, owner from 1947, she said they named it after one of their previous homes and that it was nothing to do with Martley local history (as I had been told)! The east end used to house a large commercial bread oven, and in the 1891 census, it was recorded that two master bakers lived at the property. Although the old main Martley butchery was situated behind The Chandlery, the latter acted as a butcher's shop for many years (from present living room!), and was a most successful and much loved village store until its demise in 1990.

The following tabulates some of the history:-

Reference Occupant Services Other Notes
1793 Rent Accounts, Foley Estate Owned by Witley (Court) Estate Premises shown as a shop
Lewis's Directory 1820 Mr John Rastall, tenant, owned by Foley Estate (Witley Court) Registered as a Chandlery--i.e. candles, rope, cans
Tithe Map 1840 & Tithe Lists Mr John Rastall, owned by Baron Ward of Witley Court Premises shown as portion 1351--house, shop and garden with grounds Tithe payable was 1 shilling and threepence, with 2 shillings to Rector
Post Office Directory 1854 Mr James Merrick Post Office, Saddler & Shopkeeper
Cassey History etc 1860 ditto Shop Mr Joseph Ball also ran a shop in Martley
Kelly's Directory,1868 Mr William Box Post Office, Groceries A Mr John Hill ran The Crown and was also a shopkeeper; Mr John Holliday was the local butcher
Post Office Directory, 1872 Mr William Box--Post Office receiver, but noted that James Potter was the shopkeeper Post Office, groceries, provisions
Littlebury's Directory 1879 Mrs Harriett Potter Post Office, Baker, Shopkeeper
Kelly's 1880 Mrs Harriett Potter Post Office, Groceries, Provisions
Ordnance Survey Maps, 1st Series Premises shown as Post Office
Kelly's 1884 Mrs Harriett Potter Post Office, Grocer, Provisions Mrs Mary Jones also a shopkeeper; Mr John Holliday, farmer and butcher.
Kelly's 1888 Mrs Harriet Potter Post Office, Groceries, Provisions Mr Albert Fidow (sic) at Tan House
Census April 1891 Mr Leonard Charge (grocer and baker), wife Frances, children Arthur, frank, Leonard, Beatrice, Ethel, Albert plus a Thomas Margell (Journeyman Baker) & a General Servant (female, 20 years) Grocery and Bakery
Kelly's 1896 Mr Jervis Hall PO, Money Orders, Telegraph Office, Groceries Mrs Ann White, also a shopkeeper, Mr Charles Holliday, butcher
Ordnance Survey Maps, 2nd Series, 1902 Premises shown as Post Office
Kelly's 1904 Mr Robert Farquhar Rogers Post Office, Money Orders, Telegraph Office, Groceries Mrs MA White, shopkeeper; Mr C Holliday, butcher
Kelly's 1908 Mr Jervis Hall
Kelly's 1912 Ditto Post Office, Money Orders, Telegraph Office, Groceries Mrs Elizabeth Fidoe ran the private girls school in Martley; John Albert Fidoe (husband) was a house decorator; Mr C Holliday, butcher; Mrs MA White, shopkeeper
Kelly's 1916 Ditto Ditto Ditto except John Greaves Holliday--butcher
Bentley, Hobbs & Mytton 22/6/1918 Mr HE Roberts from 18/7/1916 Auction of Martley Estate on behalf of Earl of Dudley (Witley Court). Premises was Lot 2 -- Post Office and Shop, 0.788 acres, and was bought by Mr E A Fidoe for 900.00
Kelly's 1921 Mr Harry Edward Roberts Post Office, Groceries Mrs Elizabeth Fidoe ran the private girls school in Martley; John Albert Fidoe (husband) was a house decorator; Mr John Greaves Holliday, butcher
Kelly's 1928 Mrs Mary Fidoe Post Office, Groceries Mrs Elizabeth Fidoe ran the private girls school; John Holliday, butcher
Kelly's 1932 Ditto Groceries Mr John Fidoe ran the post office, now transferred to a shop next door to The Crown Pub, phone Wichenford 31
Kelly's 1936 Ditto Ditto Mr Hugo Fidoe ran PO at 'bottom' shop (next Crown)
Kelly's 1936 Ditto Ditto Ditto
Kelly's 1940 Ditto Ditto Ditto
Local Knowledge Mr Morgan Ditto
Mrs Peet, discussed 13/8/1992 Mr Peet, late 1947 to +-1956 Groceries, butcher's shop, afternoon teas and coffee + 3 flats Premises named 'Maple Cottage' by The Peets, after a previous dwelling of theirs
Mr Mason
Discussion with Mrs Doris Goodyear of Martley Mr George Walford from +-1958 to 1977 (Doris's uncle; his wife also called dories, died 1980, George died 1982 in Stourport Groceries Mr Walford sold off the old stables + land to Bill Catstrey for 450.00 in 1961 for use as engineering works, called Maple Engineering till closure in +-2000
Discussion with Mrs Dalton Mr Dalton--1977 to 1988 Groceries, coffee bar
Planning Office Plans (at Malvern 1977) Kitchen extension added at back of house
Discussion with Mr Colin Beard Mr Colin Beard--1988 to 22/6/1992 Groceries and haberdashery, run down and closed in 1990
Mr and Mrs John Nicklin, Olivia and Hannah, moved in 22/6/1992 Home then later a Guest House and home (from 1997)
From 2010 John is in charge and runs the whole place on his own

More Details:-

Notes from Nora Holliday, taken down 10th March 1994
Nora lives (lived--she passed away ********) in the old stables (now called Little Laurels) part of a bigger property (The Laurels), the house behind (i.e. North of) The Chandlery. Her forebears (Charles Holliday, her grandfather, and John Greaves Holliday, her father) were butchers living at The Laurels. You can still see the yard where the animals were hereded, and where their blood, once slaughtered, ran down the wide drains. Even in 2009 the large hooks for hanging carcases can still be seen on the outside (West) wall. Nora was born in 1915 and still drove at time of this note. She is (was) a very keen supporter of Worcestershire County Cricket Club. She told me that 'The Chandlery' used to have, in its back kitchen (the single storey pitched roof room at rear (North) of property) an Aga with a sink by it's side. The boundary hedge to the 'track' was removed by Mr Dalton. On the opposite side of the track (West side) is a stone wall, currently hidden below debris from above, running all the way to Ivy House at the top of the track, and which used to be quite prominent. A Mr Sheen used to run the bakery in The Chandlery, and to prepare turkeys and geese in the oven, as requred, particularly of course at Xmas time. Mrs Fidoe stopped using the bakery (+-1928?). Nora stated that there was also a set of steps from the front raised patio at the east end.
The Peet Era
Whilst working on refurbishing The Chandlery (+-1993), I just happened to telephone a Mr Derek Smith, plumber, 01905 423621, about some work. When I explained where we were he said that his wife's cousin, Mrs W Peet, used to own it! He gave me her address -- 3, The Green, Cassington, Oxford,and I obtained er phone number 0865 880048, and telephoned her. At that time she was 72 years old, and sounded sprightly; we had a long chat about 'Maple Cottage'--a name she had given The Chandlery, on a him and after a previous dwelling they had owned, 'down south'. The Peets lived at The Chandlery from 1947 to +-1956, running a successful store, butchery (from current main living room) and had three self-contained flats, as well as two children. They used to play in the 'long room'--ground floor east, and the Peets had the original east end front door on to the patio at the front, turned into a window (as the bakery, originally in this room, no longer operated). They purchsaed the house from a 'welshman' (I assume Mr Morgan), who, she said, had bought it from the Fidoe's, leaving one of the Fidoe's as a 'sitting tenant'. Price was 5000, and was later sold to George Walford for 15000(who used to run a Bed and Breakfast facility in Lowesmoor, Worcester)(NB--problem here as the Masons owned The Chandlery in or aroiund 1956 for 2 years). Mr Peet was a mining surveyor and went to Canada, to work in uranium mines, later joined by his family (in 1956). Mrs Peet lost a baby, but had another in Canada. Now she has 3 children--daughters 43 and 33, son 40 (at time of writing this; lost one would be 37). Coincidentally, after saying she never liked the Martley/Worcester area, and thought the house, ugly, she said she originated from Cremorne Road in Sutton COldfield, my own home town! She attended Sutton high school (as did my sister, Jeanette) and her husband went to Bishop Vesey Grammar School (as I did, 25 years later). Mrs Peet had taught at Fairfax School, Sutton Coldfield.
The Masons (written down by Mr Mason 3/12/2006) 1955-57
The 'Top Shop' as it was called (because there was a post office and shop 'down the hill' at the road junction), had a butcher's shop attached. A butcher worked part time to prepare the meat. A delivery service operated at first for groceries and meat. Butcher had a blue van (Austin?) and green Buick. The living room (lower east wing) was divided from the kitchen by a half wall with glass above. There was an Aga on the back wall of the kitchen and, as you faced it, a door to the outside on the right with another door to a glassed in covered way that led across the back of the house to the shop area. Straight along this covered way was a cold store. Upstairs the room behind you (north of east wing), was the bathroom--no running water or mains drainage. A door led directly off to a south side bedroom. Exit from the bathroom on the left was a walk in linen room (note by John Nicklin on typing this 25/11/2009--this is not clear to me!). 3 other bedrooms. Outside--there was a long water storage tank alongside the house in the track/lane. Outside toilet in a brick built structure approx. opposite the door from the kitchen (note by JN--just by the well!!--we discovered foundations for the outside loo, with pipe off, whilst excavating the pond that now surrounds the well). Garden extended to an orchard of plums and apples. Two pig styes on the left, cess pit at end of property (nb JN--this was before the next door land sold off in 1961/2). Remains of water pump at back of the kitchen. Bus to Worcester stopped right outside.
The Walford Era (notes written down 12/11/1995)
George Walford was owner from 1956 (see note about the Masons) to 1977, and in that time, developed a fine business, and a reputation as a strong minded, fair , community man. He was churchwarden for approx. 30 years, married but with no children. His niece, (Doris Goodyear) of Hillside, Martley, used to help in the shop. George used to wind the church clock for around 22 years (source--Basil Haines who used to live in the cottage just South of the church, with his sister--charming and interesting country people, loved my own children. Basil was another long serving church warden who followed on after Nurse Parsons (ref. Nora Parsons day centre in Wichenford) who followed George. George's retirement gift was a greenhouse of some type, placed in the garden of The Chandlery, at the far (North) end. There is a book, undated, signed by all those who had contributed to the gift.
The Catstrey Era (written down 12/11/95, Remembrance Sunday)
I met with Bill Catstrey on Thursday 9th November 1995, at his home and stables in Broad Green. Bill bought 'The Chandlery's' old stables and land from George Walford in 1961/2 for the princely sum of 450, settled by the toss of a coin (sold +-2000 to builders for +-68000). This included land right down to the current school entrance that now has three houses built on it. Bill was a real entrepreneur and ran a very successful engineering works in the old farm buildings for around 26 years when he sold out to Ben Attlee, Xmas 1977. Bill used to work at Meco in Worcester, St John's (where I worked for a while, now Joy Manufacturing) and he also ran the Plough Inn, Lower Broadheath, owing land opposite, running a small engineering works there at first. His main or even only client was Meco, and he made conveyor idlers, rollers, spindles etc. This made him enough money to buy 50 acres at Broad Green and to build stables etc and own horses for his passion, steeplechasing. He had his own colours too and many successful horses. He met George Walford by calling in the shop one day and developed the greatest respect for him; he also mentioned Rev'd Goddard. One day he mentioned to the Timax tooling rep. that 'yes' he would sell his works for the 'right' price. 2 or 3 days later, Ben Attlee arrived, and later with his accountant. Very quickly the deal was done, only by checking out the accounting books. As far as the boundary between George Walford's (an issue for me at the time of the building of the new houses next door) shop/house and the 'works' Bill had absolutely no doubt that a pice of land 4 feet wide (or 4ft 6inch) ran down the east side house wall and designated the boundary. Bill was not so sure about the large breadoven, that was at least 9 feet square so extended beyond the 4foot allowance, they agreed to let it stay in place so it protruded into the office space of the engineering works. When we bought the house in 1993, a Leylandi hedge ran down the east side boundary, inside the property area. (notes 22/2/97--met again with Bill who visited the house). Bill was amazed at what we had done. He told stories of how he used to meet with his engineering works visitors in the street end of the east 'long-room' and George Walford would give out tea and biscuits. When Mrs Walford did the washing, the water often used to drain into the cellar, down the land drain and up into the workshop next door! The old sewer (which we dug up --see home film) used to go via the engineering workshop right down to where the Chantry School caretakers cottage is now. George Walford used only to have a picket gate onto the track at the back of the house.
The Daltons (written down 22/2/97) 1977-1988
Ron Dalton stated that he helped with payment for the car park and its surfacing and that the original agreement was for short term parking only, yet, he said, he sees people parking there all the time (I didn't tell him who it was!). He said he did not know what the concrete down the house side of the track was for (my notes--he had spoken to Tina Steele (nee Hastings-Lloyd about this and in my opinion he was 'covering up'). He said the concrete had been there for years, 'right from the start (73??). He said 'someone came and did it'--it wasn't for water, or house foundations. He said that he had always parked a car at the back of the house and NOT on the short term car park. He also said that the house was really bad when he took it over and did a lot to improve it. Ron and his wife ran the shop for many years until the Beards took over.
The Nicklins, June 1992-->
Bought for 90000 in 1992, the Nicklins immediately set about a 5 year improvement plan. The house was in a very poor state indeed, with leaking walls, faulty heating and electrics, uninsulated throughout and a totally overgrown garden. There are many pictures testifying to the complete lack of maintenance meted out to the lovely old house by its previous occupants. To refurbish, the roof was completely stripped of tiles, insulated, refelted and old tiles replaced, electrical wiring re done throughout, floors excavated (ground floor was 'on soil' until then) and strong slabs laid with insulation. A great deal of rebuilding and landscaping, much of the fitting out by John Nicklin with decoration designed and applied by wife Linda, tho the building work was by professionals. John also installed the vast majority of the central heating with the guidance and advice of his neighbour, Ian Logan. The front patio was later rebuilt, the stairs moved from the West end on account of a new house being built at the top of the track (highways regulation)--The Maunch--by Ian Steele for his mother, Tina (nee Hastings--Lloyd). In late 90's the cellar was completely stripped, excavated, slabbed, waterproofed and redecorated (cost +-12000) and later used for parties and housing computers and also as a teaching venue. John redesigned and rebuilt the whole garden with pool in 2004-06. The original tree house, built mainly from fabric recovered from the house during renovation, was replaced by a more robust structure in 2007. Anglian fitted 17 double glazed PVCi windows, to make the place warmer and quieter, in 2008. There is much more to tell but this is an outline for now. At least the house looks good and functions well!