The building is eighteenth century, and inside there is exposed the timber framing of an even earlier dwelling.
It has had a long history as a general village shop. In 1889 two young men, Amoore and Budd, rented it from Mr Fuggle as a grocer’s, baker’s and pork butcher’s. Sadly the partnership was dissolved, and within two years the business was bankrupt owing to the failure of the hop crop. The remaining young man, compassionately though foolishly, “allowed credit to persons in a humble station of life” (a cowman, for example, ran up a bill for £18), while he himself was in debt to his wholesalers.
A man called Kellick took over the shop, and in 1905 Bonham and Turner ran a barber’s and newsagent’s at one end of the premises. Then in 1913 began the long reign of the Bellinger family at the Arford Up to Date Stores, a title which caused much merriment among the Canadians stationed here during World War II. It became a typical village store, selling “anything from dolls’ eyes to railway arches”, as the old saying goes. On the right was the “cold room for meat, bacon and dairy produce; groceries were in the main part of the shop; drapery, hardware, paraffin and various other household goods were on the left. There is still a sign on the tree to the right advertising the Royal Daylight Oil Company, probably dating from about 1890.
Archie Bellinger had a fine tenor voice and with his friend George Bohanna, bass, sang in the church choir for many years, and also at concerts in the Village Hall. George was a coal merchant, and his wife Blanche ran a little front-room shop in the house opposite The Wheatsheaf, at the far end of Arford Road. Mrs Bellinger gave up the shop in 1958, and after two further proprietors it ceased trading and became a private house in the seventies.
This corner of Arford was the scene of a tragedy that Mr W. Passingham remembered vividly, although it happened seventy years previously, when he was a small boy. A man, whose wife had left him and had come to live in Headley, tracked her down, and was seen arguing with her in the road outside Lickfold’s. Suddenly, he produced a gun; she screamed and fled “ for safety up the path of the Corner House, but he shot her, and she staggered across the road into the drapery department of the Stores, where she collapsed and died. Mr Passingham remembered what a big man he was, and that he had a green bicycle, with a double cross-bar for extra strength.