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Stanford in the Vale
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An Outline History of Stanford in the Vale

Browse Chapters:
Domesday Stanford
Medieval Stanford
Reformation and Tudor Stanford
Civil War Stanford
Early Modern Stanford
19th Century Stanford
The First World War
The Inter-War Years
The Second World War
Post-War Stanford
Church and Chapel
Schools and Libraries
Civic Administration
Health and Social Services, and Young People
Village Halls
Fairs, Festivals and Fetes
Clubs and Societies
Acknowledgements & Further Reading
Additional articles:
BBC Domesday 1986
Church Green Fire 2005
Coat Of Arms
Virtual Tour 2003


Continuity and change in and around the village may be illustrated by looking at the businesses with which most residents are familiar, either today or in the recent past.

The Horse & Jockey is the only remaining pub in the village, after the Anchor closed in 2009. Kevin Unsworth took the leasehold of the Horse & Jockey in June 1994, and of the Anchor in February 1996. One hundred years ago there were 6 pubs and beerhouses in the village: The Anchor, Crown Prince, Cottage of Content, Horse & Jockey, Marlborough Arms and Red Lion. These are referred to in 'Howse' 4: 212; 1: 27; I: 36; 5: 269; 5: 237; and 5: 229, respectively. Similar establishments, many with forgotten names, are referred to in 2: 44 (license not granted); 2: 50 (ye Stanford Bear); 4: 214 (Cricketers' Arms); 5: 236; 5: 237; 5: 245 (Lamb Inn); 5: 247 (The Golden Chain); 5: 259 (Bear Inn); 5: 260-261 (at Bowling Green Farm); and 5: 263 (Red House Inn).

The Vale Garage, which was opened in about 1956-57 by Jack Fisher of Hatford on the site where Eagle Motors had traded, has been operated by RE.G. Avenell & Sons (with a business also in Uffington) since 1981. In addition to the Rover car dealership and the garage, there are petrol pumps on the forecourt; in May 1996 they served Butler petrol, from 1988 they had served Fina petrol, before that Total petrol and before that Esso. Another nearby garage, Pepler Car Services, began operating at Lanes Farm, Goosey, in 1980.

Station Road Sawmills had a concrete block building, erected in 1967, on the corner of High Street and the A417, but it was demolished in 1995 and has now been replaced by Anvil Court residential housing. The firm was founded by the last owner's grandfather, Charlie Robinson (same name as the grandson), in 1904 as a blacksmith's and wheelwright's shop, but changed its nature after the 1939-45 war.

P.J. Carter (building contractor) has operated from 59 High Street since 1970. Ascot House Antiques was opened by June Silverton in 1989 at 51 High Street (Manchester House), on what had been a Mace grocery shop up to 1985 and before that Keene's bakery and grocery. The antiques shop closed at the end of May 1996. Ravenwood Crafts was founded by Paul Wynn at 54 High Street in May 1983; this small business manufactures a range of pressed and dried flower gift items.

Chinharn House is the site of the Alternative Veterinary Medicine Centre, where Chris Day has his 'integrated' veterinary practice. Homoeopathy, acupuncture, laser and herbal remedies are some of the treatments given. His parents, Kenneth & Evelyn Day, had moved into the house in 1946, and had a large veterinary practice in the Faringdon area, retiring in 1984-88. Day & Partners acquired a mobile veterinary surgery van in about 1991, which was sold to Danetree Veterinary Surgeons (Gareth Hateley & Rolf den Breeje) who had acquired the Faringdon-based practice and the Wantage branch surgery in 1993 and 1995, respectively, together with a branch surgery in Shrivenham in 1993; their mobile surgery visited Stanford, Southmoor and Bampton, and at one time Uffington. Robert Elliott opened a veterinary surgery (small animal practice) in the village, at 25 High Street, in January 1996. He had practised with Day & Rogers (since 1989 Day & Partners) from 1984 to 1994, when he began practising on his own. He maintained a small herd of Gloucester rare breed cattle in the area.

Penstone's Farm on Marlborough Lane was sold about 1992-93, with part remaining as a private house, Cromwell House, and the land the site of a residential retirement complex: Penstone's Court, belonging to the English Courtyard Association.

Vogue Hair Fashions, run by Alison Belcher, started operating on their present site at 28 High Street ca 1984, before when a Mrs. Heath had a hairdressers and haberdashery business, and before which there was a private hall built by a Mrs. Keen, who was the local caterer for weddings. Mrs. Keen lived at Bryn Mor, and her house was at one time a recognised stopping place for rally cyclists in Berkshire. At the end of this building, facing Hunters Field, stood the Paper Shop, run by Val & Sally Scriven. This started as a newsagents ca 1976 where Treadwells residential dwellings are now located; before then, that site had a varied history: as a saddler's, then as George Godwin's shoe shop, with a limited taxi service, then as an antiques shop, then as Pat's Cafe, was bought by Pendell & Spinage, and then as Pendells' hardware shop.

Wentworth's supermarket was opened in 1966, part of the Londis retailer-owned cooperative, at the same site where the present owner John Wentworth's father, Philip Wentworth, had set up his butcher's business in 1929. Wentworth's became a limited company in 1961. The business included a Flower Centre from the late 1970s to 1994, and a coffee shop plus wines and spirits off-licence from 1976 to 1994. H J. Knapp & Sons began business in 1914, with Harry John Knapp setting up as a builder and stonemason. The business became a limited company in 1947, and perhaps in the 1960s became the largest employer in the village. Knapp's hardware shop at 21-23 High Street closed in 1994, although the construction business continues as H.J. Knapp Construction.

The Stanford Business Court was developed in 1994-96 at 21-23 High Street, and now houses the following businesses: D.B. Associates; Goodwill Consultants Ltd.; HJ.K Building Services Ltd.; H.J. Knapp Construction Ltd.; Piper Taylor & Palmer (Financial Advisors), formerly Piper Lee Piper; Primefit Windows; Seeker Technology; Stanford Press; Stanford Property Holdings Ltd.; Sub Micron; The Veterinary Surgery of Robert Elliott; and Vale Design & Build Ltd. The Red Lion pub, latterly belonging to Morlands brewery and before that Courage, closed in 1994, and was sold and renovated as a private house in 1995-96.

On Horsecroft, the Fir Tree Nursery, first built up by S. House & Sons and known simply as that for a long time, closed in 1996. Sidney House founded the business first at Burn Orchard on Chapel Road. It then moved to its most recent site, where it expanded after the Second World War under Sidney's direction and that of his three sons, Sidney, Reg and Harold. At one time, they had nursery land, as Walnut House Nursery, behind the present-day Wentworth's shop. House & Sons Nurseries Ltd. was purchased by the late Charles Hornby in about 1981, and in 1985-88 the nursery doubled in size from one to two acres of greenhouses. In 1995 the nursery business went into receivership, and the land is being sold for residential development. The House of Plants (Oxford) Ltd. have bought the greenhouses, which are being relocated to Bampton as part of a wholesale nursery.

The Anchor pub was leased by David, Mollie and John Wilson for 7 years ending in January 1996, then was closed for a month before being taken over by Kevin Unsworth. It closed in 2010 and was converted to a house in 2011. Next door, the Post Office and Vale Stores was ran by Jane Dawes; prior to the Dawes' arrival in Stanford in 1978 the grocery shop was part of the Wavy Line buying group. The Post Office had been opened by George Williams at this site, some time between 1887 and 1891; previously the Post Office had been run by John Wells Clare at Rose Villa on Upper Green. The Grange Nursing Home on Church Green was established in 1984 in the old vicarage. Initially 18 elderly residents were cared for there, increasing to 31 residents after the first extension to the site in 1987, and then to 38 residents after another extension was added in 1991. The Grange was operated by Bonneycourt Ltd. after 25 February 1993 and is now operated by Forest Healthcare Ltd.

12 Chapel Road, now a house, was the site of several small businesses; going back in time these were: Laser Acoustic Ceilings Ltd. (acoustic & suspended ceilings specialists); a fishing tackle shop; a metal detector assembly business; Bernard Norton's electrical, television and radio repair shop (in the 1950s); William Robinson (blacksmith), in a shop owned by Pendell & Spinage; and Peter Coleman (blacksmith). Stanford Dried Flowers, run by Mark Arney, opened for business at Spinage's Farm on Chapel Road in about 1987-88. The 'Old Mill Nursery' site between Bow and Chapel Roads originally belonged to Kelly's Nurseries, which was founded about 1947-48 by Brig. and Mrs. Kelly of Old Mill House. They had a market stall in Faringdon, and Jean Kelly also ran a flower shop at 20 Mill Street, Wantage. The business became the partnership of Kelly & Boyd in about 1965. Tom Boyd sold his business in about 1975 to Paul Gooding, who later sold it to Michael Tucker trading as Indigo Nurseries. Thence it went to its present owner.

The White Horse Business Park on Ware Road, on the site of the old aerodrome, was developed in 1990 by Nigel Simmons, who sold the site in 1995 to Ben Smith & Sons of Wantage. Businesses on the site have included: Abbey Chart Ltd.; Bertrand Faure Tachi-S UK Ltd. (who made car seats for Honda in Swindon and Rover in Cowley at their factory opened in 1991-92); Cobra Concrete Pumps; Fusion Technology; Krupp Industries Ltd. (cranes); The Light Car Co. Ltd.; North & South Installations Ltd. (installers of refrigerated display cases, and refit and refurbish specialists); and White Horse Plastics Ltd. (technical moulding innovators). Also on Ware Road is M.D.C. Welding & Light Engineering, run by Mick Barnard, who began business on the site of the old aerodrome in 1974. He occupies what used to be the old guard room and fire station on the airfield which he bought from Wally Hunt (whose business was the collection of chicken feathers, etc. for stuffing pillows, and who formerly worked for Foggerty's of Boston, Lincs.). Businesses present on the airfield site in 1984, when it was largely owned by Eric Simmons of Mill Farm, were: M.D.C. Welding; Cooper & Duringer ( corn merchants, who previously had a site on Chapel Road, now the site of residential dwellings); Station Road Sawmills (who stored wood there); and Eddie Groves' vehicle repair shop (formerly an agricultural repair shop). A Christian Fellowship boys' camp operated for 2-3 years. More recently, Roger Weeks did engineering press work, until he moved his workshop to Faringdon as Heritage Pressings.

Seven Acre Nurseries began operating in 1989 on the western side of the A417 (Faringdon Road), on a site fonner1y used for agriculture (and at one time as the football field, before which it was quarried land). It was ran by Anna Moffatt between 1992 and 2020, joined by her husband Tony.

Multi-Agg Ltd. was founded in 1984 by its Managing Director, Cliff Puffett, and is engaged in quarrying sand and other aggregates at Shellingford and Kempsford ( Gloucs. ) quarries. In 1978, Mr .Puffett in a joint venture with Leigh Interests, as Leigh Land Reclamations, leased the land (the site of Puzey's quarry, disused since 1972, first from Geoffrey Puzey, then in 1980 from the Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) ) on the eastern side of the A417 for aggregate extraction, which continued until 1983 .Hills Aggregates Ltd. has extracted sand and rock from its Bowling Green Farm site (acquired in 1985) since 1987, with part already put back to low-level restoration. The parent, holding company, Hills of Swindon, "is a family- owned firm, founded about 1900 or slightly earlier, originally producing bricks, then from the 1920s involved in the extraction of aggregates; Hills Aggregates Ltd. is based in Marlborough, and has other extraction sites at Tubney Woods (Oxon.) and Compton Bassett (Wilts.), and a landfill operation at Newbury .Formerly, the business had extracted aggregates at what is now the Cotswold Water Park, near Cricklade, and in Faringdon, at Jespers Hill, for about 20 years. Quarrying has had a long history locally. Manor House Farm's quarry at Home Piece (Farm Piece) has been exploited at least since Elizabethan times (Howse 5: 266-267). Kelly's Post Office Directory for 1847 states that 'The Stanford stone pits, in the neighbourhood, from which a great many fossils are dug, produce an inferior stone, principally used in the repair of roads'. This wording was still being used in 1939; V. Howse notes (2: 36) that harder stone brought by rail from Bristol was used for road repair (but cf 5: 265). The directories for 1935 and 1939 list two stone, sand and gravel merchants: Puzey Brothers (founded by Geoffrey, Gerald and Margaret Puzey) and Shellingford Stone Quarries Ltd. (founded by Pendell & Spinage). In 1969, refuse was being dumped at the 'Faringdon Tip' just west of Sourlands Lane (the first phase of which has since been restored), which came under OCC control in 1980. Some concerns were raised locally in 1984 by the OCC's decision to dispose of low-level radioactive waste in the new tip site, and the Parish Council asked Ed Lehmann to chair a Technical Group to report to it; later, the Parish Council agreed with the OCC a monitoring plan for the site. Part of Shellingford Crossroads Quarry was notified as a Geological Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 1954, under the relevant 1949 Act, with boundaries revised in 1977, being again notified in 1986 under Section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This site is important for geologists because of an extensive section through Corallian rocks of Oxfordian age, i.e. in the Jurassic period. [See W.J. Arkell (1927) Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, B216: 103].