A Sixteenth Century House

Far too many people have lived and worked here to be mentioned individually.

For the past sixty-two years the shop has seen continuous hairdressing taking place.  Alice Anderson rescued the derelict building in 1948 and retired in 1974, when Susan Birch took over.  Susan is now in her thirty-sixth year of hairdressing here.

Going back further, Edward Hallybone, radio engineer, looked after the village wirelesses here from 1937 to 1948.

In 1917 a mention is made of a Free Rent of 6d. when the property was occupied by one of the Mr Pickings, carpenter.

Day’s the Bakers, The Westrope Farmers and the Greyhound public house next door (also known as The Stag) have all owned the property.

In July 1823 it was insured as double hazardous – premium five shillings (25p), with three shillings (15p) duty, as being ‘Thatched buildings with chimneys’.

Further back still, in 1745, it was once again owned by an Ashwell baker, William Bingley by name.

Chippings is one of the oldest buildings in Ashwell and appears to have been built as commercial premises, being without any means of heating for its first hundred years, and used for trading on the edge of the site of the medieval market (or cheap).

The place now has a wonderful sense of having been used to the full.  It is certainly now a shop where a great deal of talking is continually going on and I like to think it has known centuries of likewise fascinating conversations and life.  I have loved every second of being part of the life of the place and it probably has a unique place in the heritage of the village – a dwelling where there has always been Work in Progress.


Susan Birch


Comments about this page

  • A message from Sue Birch gives a little more information about the property and its occupants:


    Mr Coverdale did it (a list of occupants) in 1972 and passed a copy to me  I imagine the museum has a copy and if you  have perhaps you like to update it In August 1974,Peter and I bought it In November 2011 the ownership was transferred to me I don’t know if you have any war records of any Pickings who lived at no56 being soldiers or any for Leopold Day In August 1917 Herbert Picking was the tenant and he and his predecessors had been paying rent known as a free rent for ‘a long series of years ‘

    In November 1917 Leopold Day took conveyance of the property No mention of his living there Herbert Picking may have still been the tenant but no further mention of rent being paid by him He had a carpenters shop and premises there Thomas Picking ( the younger )!bought the property on July 29th 1835

    By Peter Greener (05/02/2018)

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