The Village Shop -"The Wilkins" As one walks through Middle Stoke, past the Village Hall and war memorial, on the right, one will see the remains of a shop; this was until 1971 the village shop -with grocer's, baker's and tobacconist's combined -called by the older villagers as "The Wilkins"'. The shop seems to have started in about 1860, by a Mr Wilkins and became the V'illage centre, as the Wilkins were said "to have everything"! We can imagine Mr Wilkins delivering the groceries, the village lads collecting water from the well, people bustling into the shop and another Wilkins 'curing' some pig meat in a 'backplace'. The Wilkins family nmning a business like this in Umpley Stoke gives one a real impression of what village life was like. The shop building itself, which was converted to fiats recently, dates back to the beginning of the 19th Century. Before Wilkins formed a shop there, the building, as well as several out buildings, a house further up the road on the right (now demolished) and a quarry, was owned by John Allen.29 The Wilkins occupied a shop in Middle Stoke which was, in fact, licensed to the 'Georges Bristol Beers' company and which sold a variety of wines and spirits, as well as groceries and tobacco. There was a large yard at the back of the shop, and a huge garden which stretcl1ed up to the Warminster road. Set back in the rocks in one corner of the yard was an 'ice box', which was used by the Wilkins as a primitive fridge for storing drinks. Some pigs were bred in the yard, and one of the outbuildings was used as a slaughter house, where Mr Wilkins would prepare the meat for his customers before delivering by horse and cart. The Wilkins family ran the village business for some eighty years -with a son following his father's footsteps! In 1944, Mrs Wilkins was no longer able to run the business on her own -the last ~Mr Wilkins having died. The Wilkins disappeared from the village, after a long life in Limpley Stoke, and Mr and Mrs Barnett took over the shop. The horse and cart had been replaced by the motor car , and Mr Barnett delivered ( around this and many other neighbouring villages) bread, groceries and other items by his car. The Barnetts still did not own the shop as it was an 'off licence' as well: "GEORGES BRISTOL BEERS" was displayed over the shop front. The Barnetts ran the shop for twenty seven years, until 1971 , when the owners decided to close the shop and have it converted into fiats. This was a great loss to the Middle Stoke area -the only other shop existing now was the Post Office/Supermarket which was rather inaccessible for the old folk. These folk were mostly saddened to see the outbuildings also be demolished to make way for modern houses. (extract from:A Local History Project on Limpley Stoke Wiltshire by Richard Hooker)