Stewkley Local History Group

The old market
cross at Aylesbury
before its

  • Stewkley's commercial hub

In the past, villagers' shopping needs were met in Stewkley by premises such as Hedges’ grocery shop, which traded in the 17th-century thatched cottage on the left, now Grade 2 listed and number 7 High Street North. In the old photograph (above) the shutters hanging from the ground-floor window sills secured the shop windows at night. The small boy is maybe savouring how far his pennies might stretch on sweets from Mrs Hedges' shop.

Further north, the substantial kerbside frontage of Bury Farmhouse can be seen. Once a prominent High Street farm, this made way for the village telephone exchange.

On the opposite side of the street, under the hanging sign, was an early 19th-century pub: the Bull and Butcher. Known locally as just The Bull, with its coach entrance through to the rear, this served ales and stout from Benskins of Watford. The Bull closed as a pub in 1963 and its building became the village library and doctors' surgery until 2006. It is now a private home, number 6 High Street North.

In the distance can be seen yet another village pub, The King's Head, and Hounslow's shop and smithy.

  • Downtown Stewkley

The solid elevation to the left in this photograph (above) was the King's Head, today it is number 15 High Street North, but still known as King's Head House. When it closed to business in 1972, the King's Head was yet another of the village's ten pubs lost to changing times.

Built around 1758, the King's Head was restored following a fire in 1887 and purveyed ales and stout from the Brackley brewery of Hopcraft and Norris. This image, from a postcard stamped with the posting date of 13 December 1922, is believed to date from 1915. The landlord had not long moved into the pub and the words from his wife, Em, in the postcard tell her sister that ‘we are very well up to now but I have gone rather thin. I think it was working so hard at first coming here.’

Directly opposite The King's Head stood the premises of R Dickens, Family Butcher, with its slaughterhouse end on to the High Street. The gates to the knacker's yard were shared with brothers Alfie and Herbert Dimmock. Their descendant Alf Dimmock built the family home at number 12 High Street North on the site of the slaughterhouse.

The cottages of Church Villas can still be seen beyond. The absence of footpaths and kerbs is worth noting.

  • Who we are:
  • The History Group was formed in 2006 by village residents interested in the study, research and promotion of local history in the area of Stewkley, especially its buildings, characters, occupations amd evolution.
  • Our activities:
  • At our monthly meetings during the winter we hold relevant talks, and during the summer explore the locality – though our meetings have been curtailed by the Covid-19 apidemic.
  • Our publications:
  • Publications recording Stewkley's wells and pumps, many of which have disappeared, on the Church of St Michael and All Angels, on Stewkley School, and the Stewkley Lads who fell in the Great War and the Second World War can be found on the publications page of our website.
  • Enquiries:
  • A contact form for all enquiries on our website.

How the same places look today

Thanks to John Sheldon of the Stewkley Local History Group for providing content for this page.