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The Limes & Old Bakehouse

The Limes & Old Bakehouse

The Limes & Old Bakehouse 2020

The Limes occupies a large plot apparently carved out of the North side of the churchyard of St Mary’s church. The house plan is H-shaped with evidence that the central arm, aligned north-south, originated as a half-floored timber framed open hall built c1500. Some restructuring took place in the 17th century and the walls of the central and southern parts of the house were rebuilt in brick in the 18th or early 19th century. The medieval roofs survived largely intact. A shop was added to the North cross-wing facing Church Street in the 19th century. A tie-beam bears the initials and date TM 1838 CW.

Both The Limes and The Old Bakehouse are Grade 2 Listed buildings.

This building was the vicarage in the second half of the 19th century before Micheldever House became the rectory. In the 1920s it was the bakery and telephone exchange. The operator would know all the gossip and whereabouts of the villagers and would tell a caller, 'ring later they're  out shopping' etc.! Trading continued from the shop until the mid-1970s. In 1975 the faded shop sign above the shop door showed the proprietor as W Martin, Baker and Grocer.  An almost complete, but dismantled, steam baking oven, engraved with the name of the oven maker ’T Collins & Co’ cast in the oven doors, was found in an outhouse in 2014. This is now in the Weald and Downland Museum. The shop wall shelves and marble counters remain in the house.

In July 1978 the shop, together with Manor Farm, was used by the BBC as a location to film a murder mystery set in the 1920’s ‘Malice Aforethought’. The film featuring Hywell Bennet, Judy Parfit and Cheryl Campbell, was broadcast on BBC2 in 1979.  Joyce Keenan, a local resident, formerly of Southbrook Farmhouse,worked in the shop for 30 years. Evidently the plot of 'Malice Aforethought' involved a spouse being poisoned by a breakfast banana. There were so many rehearsals that the shop ran out of bananas!

The Limes was extensively damaged by fire in November 1994. This led to the redevelopment of the property in 1995. The house was split into two separate properties with the southern half retaining the name The Limes and the northern half taking on the name of The Bakehouse. In 2000 the northern half was renamed The Old Bakehouse.

Our grateful thanks to Richard & Vivienne Vellacott for providing the above information.

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