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Post Office

The Post Office in Rode

The earliest record of a post office in Rode is from the British Post Office Directory and Gazetteer of 1859. The mention is brief, Post Office Charles Happerfield. The 1841 census lists Charles Happerfield as a baker aged 24, married to Ann, with 3 children the oldest being 4.

Kelly’s 1861 directory includes the statement:

POST OFFICE – Charles Happerfield, postmaster. Letters delivered through Beckington, via Bath, at 7.15 a.m. Box closes at 7 p.m.” and refers to his business as grocer, draper & post office receiving house.

By 1883 the service had expanded as indicated by the description in the directory:

POST & MONEY ORDER OFFICE & Savings Bank – Charles Happerfield, postmaster. Letters through Bath arrive at 6.45 a.m. & 4.20 p.m.; a dispatch takes place at 7 a.m. by messenger to Frome & at 7 p.m. by mail cart from Beckington to Bath. WALL LETTER BOX in Upper street, cleared at 7 a.m. & 6.45 p.m.

Happerfield died in 1887 aged 70.

The photo below shows Happerfield’s shop at Townsend (now no. 8 High Street). His son, also Charles, carried on the family grocery business until after 1910, so it is difficult to date the picture, but probably c1900. The 1891 census lists Charles Happerfield, a grocer, aged 44 and wife Isabella living at the Old Post Office at Townsend.

As an aside, George Holland (see photo below, c1900) was an early postman for Rode, Tellisford and Farleigh Hungerford, serving from 1876 to 1914

After Happerfield’s death George William Stokes became the new sub-postmaster. The 1889 directory described the service as:

“POST & M. O. O.,S. B. & Annuity & Insurance Office. – George William Stokes, postmaster. Letters arrive through Bath & re delivered at 6.30 a.m. & 4.45 p.m.; a dispatch takes place at 12 noon by messenger to Frome & at 7.45 p.m. by mail cart from Beckington to Bath. WALL LETTER BOX in Road hill, cleared at 11.55 a.m. & 7.15 p.m.”

Stokes was the only person in the commercial section of the directory to have his name in BOLD CAPITAL letters and his business was described as grocer & draper; the old established house for grocery, drapery, dress making, millinery, tailoring, outfitting, furniture &c. Post office. (He also provided an undertaking service). The last Directory entry for G. W. Stokes as sub-postmaster was in 1924.

Stokes’ shop was on the High Street, next to the Big Shard, later Hughes’ Shop. (see apove. Photo c1910).

After Stokes the local directories list the following sub-postmasters:

1926 H. Cummings

1927-8 Gordon Cummings

1929-37 M Franks

1937 – 55 ??

1955-8 W D J Bishop

All of these probably operated from a post office in the High Street opposite Church Lane (see above. Photo c1965)

Rode had its own postmark in 1900. In 1919 the spelling of the village name was changed, from ROAD to RODE, by general agreement, because so many letters and parcels were going astray in the post.

Above: Rode Post Office, early 1990s
Published
24 July 2023
Last Updated
12 January 2024