The history of Clophill, Bedfordshire, UK
Including historical descriptions, maps and statistical analysis.
Mrs Ivy Stokes and her husband, Jack, were very well known in Clophill since the time when in 1957 they took over the village shop opposite the entrance to Great lane. Ivy sadly died on March 28th this year and these few notes have been compiled as a tribute to her.
The shop was Jacks's pride and joy and Ivy worked with him, serving customers while Jack could be seen, even in his latter years, delivering orders on his tradesman's bicycle. Ivy loved tending the garden as well as having the housekeeping to do.
Ivy was talented in several directions. In her younger days she had a good voice and used to sing in concerts in Hitchin before she came to Clophill. She also made iced cakes for special occasions.
From her father and brothers Ivy developed an interest in sport, particularly in cricket, a subject about which she knew a great deal. Her husband died in l985 and Ivy left the village to live nearer her family and eventually, when she became infirm, she moved to Steppingley Hospital.
During her five years there she was happily absorbed in water-colour painting, usually of flower gardens, which she had been keen on as a child and which she continued until the end of her life.
Ivy was born in Bedford in l905, and it was fitting that after spending part of her youth in Hitchin, Herts, she returned to Bedfordshire and remained there until her death. Many people in Clophill will have memories of her and Jack and the way they served the village together from their little store for nearly thirty years.
IVY STOKES 1905 - 1991
Many people in Clophill will have been saddened on hearing of the death of Ivy Stokes in Steppingley Hospital, shortly before Easter.
Mrs Stokes, as she was usually called, came to the village with her husband Jack in the late 50's, to run what was then the village shop opposite Great Lane, and they remained there until age and her severe arthritis forced them reluctantly into retirement in the 80's. For many years Mrs Stokes was helped by an assistant, but when Jack retired he played an even fuller part in the business.
Mrs Stokes loved her shop and kept it with efficiency and aplomb. Its small, dark interior was excellently stocked, but when sometimes she failed to find an item on the shelves Jack would be despatched to the cellar and would emerge triumphant and slightly breathless a few minutes later. American visitors to the village were most impressed with the shop's slightly olde-worlde air - its sweets in tall glass jars, the biscuits displayed in glass fronted cases.
Mrs Stokes herself hid a warm heart and a very generous nature behind a sharp manner so that the many school children who patronised the shop for their sweets and crisps before and after school were halted instantly in their mischief by her 'Yes - well, what do you want' .
She loved her garden and was always keen to talk about it. Though not one to gossip, she was interested in village activities and took her part in W.I. and church activities, fully supporting them with gifts for raffles.
Although it is about five years since Mrs Stokes left Clophill and slightly longer since Jack's death, it still seems strange to many of us that the shop is now a house with a window where the door used
to be, and that no longer do we see Jack wielding his broom on the front step early in the morning.
It seamed apt that Mrs Stokes' funeral should have taken place in spring with the church decorated for Easter, and on a Tuesday afternoon - her early closing day.