Church Street

Looking up Church Street from the High Street as painted by Wilfred Ball 1909

‘Artistic licence’ has been taken by the artist in the position of the church spire which is not in view from this point as can be seen from the following photographs.

This rather poor copy of another postcard is probably at a similar time to the painting, judging by the hedge growth and we can now see the name of the Anchor Hotel and the gate and workshop next door. If anyone has a better copy of this postcard please let HHG know so that we can improve the image.
This postcard is also around 1900, from a little further back showing the 200 year old Elm Tree and you can see more of the church spire appearing from behind the cottages compared with the painting! The end of Popes’ Cottage on the right has much less growth obscuring the end wall and there is no large extension behind the building as in the painting.
Now, much later, the Anchor Hotel sports its name on both roofs for early aviators. Unfortunately this had to be removed urgently at the beginning of WWII to prevent enemy aircraft using it for guidance – before the days of radar of course.
This is what The Anchor looked like before the addition of the front entrance covered way, the far end extension and a chimney on the near end. The staff have doubtless been asked to stand on the entrance steps.
You can also see that the workshop next door, called Garret is a Wheelwright, an Agricultural Implement Maker AND an Undertaker. The corner of Elm Cottage is visible on the far left illustrating that this photo is later than the one below.
Looking in the opposite direction towards the High Street with Vine House directly opposite, at a slightly earlier time, the Anchor building is obvious from the steps leading up to the door and there is less plant growth on the front wall. The gap between the two buildings was to be filled by the extension seen in the other pictures and you can see the substantial growth of the elm tree. You can also just see the barn on the right hand corner that stands where Elm Cottage was built later. This picture was ‘rescued’ from a glass plate.
Looking from the top of Church Street with the Elm showing its full size
And then branches started falling from the Elm and because of the danger the Parish Council employed Mr A Buckman, to lop all the branches back to the trunk. Below is a closer view.
The High Street was eventually made up and the theory is that the tarmac surface actually poisoned the tree roots. This is July 1936. However, all trees have a life span and although American Elm is considered long lived up to 400 years until the appearance of Dutch Elm disease in the 1930’s, the English Elm life span is reputedly less than half this, some sources saying 100 to 150 years. This would indicate that the oft-stated 200 years for ‘our’ elm tree was certainly the end of its natural life.

Another of Tony Goddard’s wonderful drawings showing the added chimney and extra row of windows on Popes Cottage which is arguably the oldest building in the village. The name comes from the Pope family, several generations of whom lived here. It does not have any religious connection!
Mike Parcell was told that the extra row of windows were added because the then tenant was ill with bronchial troubles and wanted more fresh air in the bedroom.

At the top of Church Street is the ancient Lychgate leading into the churchyard. More details of this building have been included in the section on Historic Buildings

The Lychgate, leading into the churchyard. For more pictures go to
Historic Buildings
This wonderful picture of the Lychgate with two characters has such a historic feel that I had to add it here after it had been displayed at the ‘Pop-Up Museum’ in June 2024.

Beyond the Lychgate & Lychgate Cottage is the original Rectory, now a private house with the name changed to ‘The Grange’ at the behest of The Church Commissioners.

Returning down Church Street past Pope’s Cottage

Popes Cottage had been two dwellings for possibly 200 years.

Next we come to a small 3 sided brick enclosure containing the village pump carrying the date 1831. This pump provided all the water for the villagers who did not have their own pump or well and it still works following a major refurbish although the water authorities say that it should only be used for watering the flower baskets. The name HILL refers to the local plumber of the time, George Hill.

Finally, we come to the lovely garden that was secured for the enjoyment of all and was renamed the Memorial Garden in 1994. The land was previously part of the garden of Pope’s Cottage and was threatened with being used for building which was strongly objected to by Mary & Bill Hatton living opposite. A fighting fund was raised by many parishioners and the garden was saved with the Parish Council assuming responsibility for maintenance into the future. The garden was designed and laid out under the direction of Sue Gemmel who was at that time the owner of Perryhill Nursery.

The Millennium Arch was added to the Memorial Garden following a collection from parishioners organised by Adrian Fenton.

Elm Cottage, named after the huge Elm Tree that stood in the middle of Church Street for some 200 years, is unusual in being built with an angled face. Older pictures show Elm Cottage with plain brickwork above the ground floor window ledges.

There are several pictures of historic events taking place in Church Street that can be seen in Wartime in Hartfield.