100 Years of a House


Forncett History Group started its 2022 programme with a meeting at St. Edmund's on Wednesday 16th March. The major item on the programme was a very interesting and informative talk by Philip Yull about the history of his house, Harley House on Long Stratton Road, which was built one hundred years ago this year. 

A great deal has happened in Forncett since 1922 and Philip has discovered a fascinating story of the people who have lived at Harley House over that time. Philip believes that the name "Harley" comes from the Old English "Hara Leah" meaning Hare Meadow and indeed, hares are still to be seen on the nearby fields. The house was originally the home of James (Jimmy) Humphreys and his wife Emma who, in the early 1900s, ran their own bakery and confectionery business at 'The Old Bakery' on Long Stratton Road. When they moved to Harley House, Jimmy and Emma erected a bake house there, which operated until at least 1939. The building still stands and is now used as a garage. 

Jimmy Humphreys outside Harley House in the 1930s (photo courtesy of Philip Yull)

In 1947 the house was bought by another local baker, Alfred Tubby. However, it appears that Tubby bought Harley House as a place to live and never used the bake house there.

Mike Merrick