300 words – read a local entry in a Wiltshire wide writing competition

Below is the entry from a local resident who took part in our “Your community in 300 words” competition. The aim was to celebrate and share the work on community projects and local interest items in communities across Wiltshire. The Wiltshire Forum of Community Area Partnerships ran this competition with Wiltshire Council’s Communities Team donating the main prize of a Kindle.

The competitions three winners read out their entries on Sue Davies show on BBC Radio Wiltshire this week. All of the entries are available to read via a link on our website and the best will form a touring exhibition that will travel around the County. Audio files of the three winners reading their entries courtesy of BBC Radio Wiltshire are also there. To find out more about Community Area Partnerships and what they do visit our website.

My house is called Applegarth and it sits comfortably on the corner of Shutts Lane in Coombe Bissett. The site has been built on three times now. Originally it was constructed as a fine looking thatched cottage well over two hundred years ago. Then it was almost flattened sixty years ago and rebuilt as a bungalow and finally it was partly demolished once again and built as a house four years ago.

A hundred and fifty years ago the furthest end of Applegarth thrived as an off license known as the “Hole In The Wall”. It was a popular place to visit, to purchase ale and alcohol when the Fox and Goose public house was closed. Probably even more favoured was the “Lock In” which was situated at the other end of Applegarth where locals could sneak to, for a late night cap when they had been turned out of the Fox and Goose.

After the “Hole In The Wall” was forced to close due to losing its licence caused by an “irregularity”, it re-opened as the Post Office over a hundred years ago. Nellie Scammell, the Post Mistress who lived on the premises, sold post office goods, but she also provided a useful extra product which was a large bowl of milk with a pint measure. Villagers could purchase the milk when they ran short. Nellie left her post office in 1915 to marry and she moved to Dorset.
The cottage was never used for business again and gradually became increasingly in need of major repair. After the Second World War it was purchased by a builder and most of it was demolished and rebuilt as a bungalow. The bungalow was plain and the site cried out to be restored to its former attractiveness. My house was built with a vision to replicate the original cottage and it’s been constructed with thoughts of the past. But do you know, sometimes I’m sure I hear the sound of tankards being filled and muffled chatter in my house. The spirit of the Hole In The Wall and the Lock In lives on.
Author: Mrs Deborah James,
Area: Coombe Bissett, near Salisbury.
Category B History/folklore.

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