At the beginning of the nineteenth century, William and Hester Darville opened a village shop, together with his widowed mother, Mary. She died in 1807, aged 83, and William died three years later. Hester contracted smallpox and died the following year, 1811, and the cottage was left empty. In 1841 the Goodchild family moved into the North cottage. James was the shepherd at the Home Farm, and he and his wife Dinah had eight children and as they grew, opened up the old grocery shop at the front of the cottage. Unfortunately she died in 1850, and James moved into the smaller south cottage, taking his apprentice shepherd Eli Crockett, then aged seventeen, with him. He was one of the older sons of Caleb and Mary Crockett of Beech Cottage. In time, he married, and he and his wife Elizabeth had several daughters, amongst whom was Julia, who grew up to marry Fred, the boy next door. Mrs Jane Rogers had taken over the North Cottage in 1850 and as a widow 27 years old, had continued to run the shop. With her lived her daughter, Sarah, her son Joseph (Fred), and her sister, Fanny Darville one of the lacemakers. Julia Crockett became Julia Rogers, and together with her mother-in-law continued on, selling goods. They could sell only a few things, like the vegetables traded by cottagers for sugar or cheese, as labourers wages were seven shillings a week only. Fred earned his living as a carpenter and died in 1902. Jane Rogers died in 1915, and Julia carried on the trade alone, adding threads and buttons to the shelves, and sweets at a farthing an ounce.

The South Cottage had been taken by Billy Fisher and his wife. Mr Fisher was chauffeur to Mr Lavington. Later in time, Miss Gwen Quint, who had been a housekeeper at Askett House came to live with her sister Doris, known as Puck, and then Mr Tommy Strout lived at the cottage.

Julia Roger's sister, Miss Ann Crockett had come to live with her, and after Julia died in 1931, Miss Crockett carried on the shop. She was also the Sunday School Superintendent at the Baptist Chapel. She adopted her neice, Betty Brown, who helped her in the shop. In 1943 she married and became Mrs Webb and stayed on at the shop until 1946, when the family moved to Haxtead, Miss Ann Crockett living with them until she died in 1958 and Mr and Mrs Webb moved to Monks Risborough.

During the war, in 1944, Jinx Lavington moved into the South Cottage, while her husband was in the forces - her daughter was born in 1944 in the cottage. When the shop closed, she added the two cottages together - hence Lilac Cottage.

The property has changed owners several times since then.

Footnote: It was Miss Doris Quint (Puck) who was the Housekeeper at Askett House, not Gwen.

Puck and Gwen lived in one semi-detached half of Lilac Cottage and their elder sister, Mrs Strout lived in the other half.


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