Elijah Allen

Elijah Allen, Independent Grocer Hawes

Elijah Allen & Son, Grocers, Hawes

The family run business of Elijah Allen started back in 1860 by Richard Allen’s great, great grandfather Thomas who was a farmer in the nearby village of Gayle.

Thomas had livery horses which he would hire out for carts, funerals, charabancs and even weddings.

During the great railway building era of the 1870’s, Thomas decided to diversify and had the good idea of filling a cart with food supplies to sell to the hundreds of navvies working on the railway line and viaduct at Ribblehead a few miles away. So, every week he filled his cart with provisions such as tea, salt, sugar, eggs and tobacco, the local butcher came as well and, with a shotgun under the seat in case of trouble, off they would go!
They turned their farmhouse at Gayle into a shop and the business prospered.

Thomas’s son Elijah was more interested in fishing and shooting but his wife Alice was a very resourceful lady who virtually ran the business by herself. She insisted that the name was changed from Thomas to Elijah Allen (the original ‘Thomas Allen’ sign is still in the shop) and in 1910 they moved to the present larger premises in the centre of Hawes.
The shop frontage still retains its original signage but inside you will find a friendly, modern business that has been run by Richard Allen for the last 25 years with help from his retired father Basil and sister Lesley.

Last year they won the prestigious Gossage Trophy for Best Independent Grocer in Yorkshire and it’s easy to see why for this is a grocery store par excellence.
Richard explained that because they are completely independent they can choose to stock the very best from everyday supplies to specialist foods. The range is outstanding and locally sourced foods take pride of place. There are over twenty cheeses from Wensleydale Creamery plus many other local varieties, and one of the best selections of cheese biscuits I have ever seen to match! “My father used to visit all the local farms to buy in their cheeses, but now we just go up the road to Wensleydale Creamery every day to stock up!” added Richard.

As well as cooking all of their own hams and beef, there is a bakery at the back of the shop that was started in 1952 when Basil and his friend Billy Peacock were `demobbed’. Billy had been baking in the Navy and came to Hawes to put his skills to good use.

They make all their own wonderful breads, savouries, Yorkshire Curd Tarts, Fat Rascals etc and their rich fruit cake is superb with a bit of Wensleydale cheese.
Note: Unfortunately the bakery has now closed

Your shopping basket will soon be brimming over with prize-winning sausages from Masham, flour milled at Grewelthorpe, milk from Askrigg, Farrah’s chocolates from Harrogate, biscuits from Whitby, fantastic sticky toffee puddings from Cartmel and a delicious selection of jams and chutneys from Raydale Preserves that are all made by Lesley and her husband on their nearby farm.

Of course, there is also a wonderful range of Wensleydale cheese from the Hawes Creamery. Need something to wash it down? There are wines and spirits for everyone’s tastes including twenty Yorkshire bottled beers! In fact, you will need a cart to take it all away.

  • Photo Mike Moore from Bainbridge who works in the shop
  • by Innway Publications
  • Editor Mark Reid
  • Elijah Allen, Market Place, Hawes, Wensleydale.
  • Tel: 01969 667219
  • Open 7 days a week in summer.
  • Mon – Sat: Sam – 6pm;
  • Sun: 10 am – 4pm

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The Dales