Worth a candle?

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Thomas Bourn was a wheelwright with a keen business sense and an eye on the top of Station Road (before there was a station for the road to lead to.)

In 1750 he had approached John Walker (at Crystal House) and Dr Nicholas Heygate (at Laud’s Cottage) about an old barn and bit of orchard between their houses. He’d paid them £18 for it.

By 1776, he’d converted it into three cottages for village weavers, William Hipwell jun. (son of limping William Hipwell from the 1771 Militia List), John Barker and Thomas Naseby. At this point he put the property up for sale and Richard Harris, a tallow chandler (candle-maker) from Yelvertoft bought it – for £90.

The chandler gave the weavers their marching orders and took over the candle light1premises for his own use. But the purchase price had been a bit of a stretch and so a few months later he took out a mortgage for £50.

Bearing in mind the nature of his business, the lender advanced the money only on condition that Mr Harris insured the property with the Sun Fire Office, London ‘or other publick office of insurance’, a relatively novel idea in West Haddon at this time.

(The premises survived the hazards of candlemaking in the 18th century, only to burn down in the 19th cePhotobauble Hovis cropped resized_edited-1ntury when the baker, then in residence in half of it, had an unfortunate mishap…)

But phoenix-like it rose again to supply baked goods to 20th century villagers!)