50-64 Lower Road
50 Lower Road
Among the older houses in the village, this cottage, previously known as Elm Cottage, is of 18th century origin but much altered. Originally a single storey building, in 1871 it was extended and at one stage accommodated five families, including the Tylers. Joseph Tyler was a labourer at the manure store, owned by the Farrants who lived opposite in the Manor House, and lived with his wife Rebecca and their five children. The property was reconfigured again and by 1897 Henry Dismore and his wife Hannah live here when Henry was a jobbing gardener working on his own account. Later occupants included the Hayter family (1910s-1920s) and Minnie Lucas and Annie Noble (1940s-1960s).
52 Lower Road
This property, known as Barn Orchard, takes its name from the original barn and orchard which were present in the early 19th century. The current property was built around 1930 and the first known resident was Miss Elsie Macdonald, who already owned the adjacent property Afton Cottage. Elsie lived here with her cook/housemaid. Apparently, both were incredibly hirsute and needed to shave and villagers believed that this may be what had drawn them together. Elsie was a very pleasant old lady whose passion was archery. She ran an archery club at the butts, located in the corner of the cricket field next to St John's graveyard.
58 Lower Road
Previously known as Afton Cottage, this house dates from the first half of the 18th century, making it one of the early properties of the village. The present cottage was initially a single dwelling. It subsequently became two cottages in the latter part of the 19th century before returning to a single dwelling around 1930. In its two-cottage configuration, the property was known as The Cote, a term used to describe a small house or cottage.
Albert Burden, who was a gardener, lived here in 1901 with his wife Mary and son William, an errand boy. By 1911 William had set out to work on his own account as a chimney sweep.
In 1901 the other cottage was occupied by widow Maria Shute, her granddaughter Vinia Scammell and her sister Mary Card. Maria ran a tailoring and dressmaking business from home. Later, she continued the business from Cecil Terrace, where she moved after her sister had died and Vinia had moved on. In 1911 Harry and Flora Jacklin occupied the property. Harry was a packer platelayer on the railways. The then owner of the cottages, Miss Elsie Macdonald, who also owned the adjacent property called Barn Orchard, merged and renamed the property Afton Cottage; Elsie was of Scottish heritage and may have named the cottage after Afton Water, a reference to one of Robert Burns’ endearing poems about a small river in his native Ayrshire.
Sidney Lovett and his family were the first to live in the merged property in 1931. As a boy, Sidney was an exceptionally talented singer. In April 1893, The Daily Telegraph noted that “Master Sidney Lovett is possessed of a singularly sweet soprano voice and a most refined style.” After his voice had broken, Sidney went on to become a music teacher and an accomplished organist in Salisbury Cathedral.
The Salbergs took up residence in the 1960s. Reggie Salberg was a theatre manager and was responsible for building the reputation of Salisbury Playhouse with artistic flair. Reggie had a wonderful talent for keeping the accounts in the black as well as appointing excellent actors for his companies, including Leonard Rossiter, Stephanie Cole, Jonathan Cecil, Christopher Biggins and Timothy West. The studio theatre, the Salberg, was named in recognition of Reggie’s contribution to theatre in Salisbury and the wider community. Reggie owned a palomino horse, which he kept on land near Broken Bridges.
In the 1950s Mrs Lilian Parish and her two daughters Fanny and Kay lived here. Lilian was a clergy widow, very old, tiny and chair bound. Her daughters apparently called her The Mole and pushed her everywhere in an old pushchair.
64 Lower Road
Belvedere House takes its name from the Italian word used to describe a building which offers a commanding view - in this case, over the River Nadder and meadows to the south. In the 1838 auction, the site was described as follows:
“A freehold cottage with garden, large yard, barns
and other buildings, together with a portion of the
walled garden, bounded by the River Wiley.”
The current property, which was built in 1848, has rendered cob walls, which were unusual at the time of building, and the roof line, doorways and shape have similarities with Bemerton House and Bridge House. This suggests they may have been designed by the same architect. Belvedere was built for Robert Farrant, a Salisbury property developer who had a large portfolio of land in Bemerton, and it is likely that he, too, had both Bemerton House and Bridge House built. Robert's son, George, lived in Belvedere at the end of the 19th century.
In 1901 the house was occupied by Newell and Elinor Squarey and their young son Phillip and, later, Stephen and Denys. They also had three servants supporting them: a cook, a housemaid and a nurse. The Squareys hated the name Belvedere and refused to use it, so everyone in the village simply referred to the house as Squareys. The Squareys, being the occupants of one of the ‘big houses’, played a leading role in village society.