One family ran a butchery concern for much of the nineteenth century. In the 1841 census John LAIN, married to Sarah (née TURNER), is recorded as the butcher. Since he was born in 1784 it is reasonable to assume he was active from about the second decade of the 19th century. His son James (born 1829) took over the business; in the 1861 census James was designated 'master butcher and farmer of 37 acres employing 2 men and a boy'. He was still in Forncett in 1881 but ten years on he was visiting his sister at the 'Queen's Head', Bunwell, and may have given up the business. Henry SOUTHGATE appears then to have taken on the business before moving to Great Yarmouth.
In the early part of the twentieth century the cottage and
its smallholding plot was still the local butcher's, probably run by William
CHARLISH (also at Long Stratton); there was a holding pen, a slaughterhouse and
two small barns for storage. From about 1904 it was run by Bertie SMITH, whose
father owned the premises, until Bessie Elizabeth, Bertie's wife, bought it.
The 1911 census records Frederick PINCHEN as the assistant (he was later
butcher in Tacolneston). Bertie was certainly the butcher there from 1922 till
about 1929 when he left his wife and went to Norwich.
In about 1930 Percival ('Percy') BERWICK took over the tenancy. His order book showed a widely ranging list of customers (ca 1944-5) in Aslacton, Ashwellthorpe, Bunwell, Carleton Rode, Forncett, Fundenhall, Hapton,Tacolneston and Wreningham. Those in Forncett included: WALES, LONG, FLATT, FALGATE, WHITE, EAGLING, Rev SPINK, TUBBY, PAGE. Owing to ill health the Berwicks had to give up after WW2.
Bertie SMITH then took over the butcher's business; then his son Kenneth Edmund, after working for a butcher in Blofield, bought it (ca 1947) and ran the well-respected butchery until 1972, again delivering to many different parts of the locality. His assistant was young Keith DANIELS after being trained at City College and working at R S Baker's in Norwich.
A small butcher's shop (see right: photo as of now) was built at 'Chancellors' at Forncett End by Percy BERWICK, when he recovered enough to ply his trade for a while.
In 1937 two other butchers, Gordon COOPER and James Frederick TANN, were also operating in Forncett. The names, Walter PATRICK and Frederick FARROW, also appear in the records as butchers or pork butchers but the exact locations of their premises are not clear.