Suffolk

Boxford Stores: UK's 'oldest shop' re-opens as Suffolk grocers

Boxford Stores
Image caption The shop has been renovated by two local businessmen since being bought earlier this year

A shop, believed to be one of the UK's oldest, is to re-open after being revived by a couple of businessmen.

The building, in Boxford, Suffolk, is thought to have been in use as a shop since the early 15th Century.

It closed as a village store at the start of the year due to a change in ownership, but the building's post office counter remained open.

The Boxford Stores name has been retained as the premises reopens as a delicatessen and green grocers.

Image caption The building was thought have been in use as a shop since the early 1400s

Roger Loose, treasurer for the Boxford Society, said there was evidence in church wardens' accounts the shop had been in continuous use since 1528 when it was rented to a butcher called Thomas Rastall.

It had also been a drapery and household goods shop in the 19th Century.

"It probably was a shop in the early 1400s, but we have found no documentary evidence of that," he said.

"The chances are that it was left to the church in a will."

'Years of uncertainty'

The grade II-listed building on Swan Street was bought earlier this year by Lawrence Mott, who teamed up with local egg farmer Robin Windmill.

Mr Windmill said: "There are some others in the UK that claim the oldest shop title, but this is certainly one of the oldest.

"It needed a bit of freshness and quality and customers have told us what they wanted and we'll flex and do what they want us to do."

Julian Fincham-Jacques, chairman of Boxford Parish Council, said: "After years of uncertainty, this is great news.

"We were worried we could lose the post office, but now the store is re-opening, it looks as if the future of the post office is secured as well.

"There is a shop opposite which also sells groceries, but competition should be healthy and we hope there's room for both of them."

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