19 – Beulah House

Photo: Charles Classey with his store of faggots

Built in the C17th and substantially remodelled in the C19th, this was the home of the Classey family, bakers in Butleigh for over one hundred years. The house was one of very few in the village that was not owned by the Estate and this meant that the family did not have to doff their caps to the Squire, which annoyed him greatly! Bread was baked in a wood-fired oven using ‘faggots’ (bundles of brushwood) bought from the Estate when they coppiced their woodland on a seven year cycle. Charles Classey was a baker in Butleigh by 1829 and he passed the business on to his nephew, also Charles, who he had adopted on the death of his brother. Charles Classey’s rival in Butleigh was the Co-op that used a modern steam oven and he always sold his loaves a ½d cheaper than them. In 1922 Charles died and his son Leonard took over the bakery but he was more interested in technology. He owned the first bicycle in Somerset and established a cycle agency and garage behind the bakery as well as having a charabanc (known locally as the ‘umblybus’) for hire.