The Neave family have lived in Fordingbridge for generations. In the 1792 directory they were recorded as wool staplers or dealers in wool. By the time he died aged 44 in 1896 Josiah Reynolds Neave had expanded the family business of milling cereal at their Bicton and Town Mills and selling the farinaceous food which made their name and fortune.Farinaceous food was flour based food that was sold in airtight tins for one shilling. It was expertly marketed as a nutritious food for infants and growing children but was also aimed at invalids, nursing mothers, aged persons and as a cure for dyspepsia and indigestion. The advertisements for it boast that the food won a gold medal at the Women’s Exhibition in London in 1900 and also that Neaves were, “Purveyors by Special Appointment to H.I.M. The Empress of Russia.” Modern marketing managers would appreciate the inducement offer of, “Free to mothers – a useful book by a trained nurse and samples sent free.” There are also testimonials attesting to its nutritious content from senior medical figures and the prestigious medical journalThe Lancet.The food was packaged in a factory that is still to be seen, now used by Corintech, behind The Augustus John pub. The factory was located to take advantage of the nearby railway station which opened in1866. This meant that Neaves Food could be transported all over the world and that the Neaves became very wealthy. Their magnificent Highfield House is still to be seen on the left at the top of the hill on the road out of Fordingbridge towards Alderholt. The Neaves were prominent members of the Liberal Party and hosted party meetings in their house. It is now divided into private apartments. The family were Quakers and looked after their workers well giving them paid holidays and good working conditions. They were pillars of Fordingbridge society acting as magistrates and playing a leading role in local events and institutions. In 1905 Mrs H Neave presented medals at the local Gymnastic display and in 1909 Charles Neave was awarded first prize for the best illuminated gardens at Fordingbridge Regatta.As Quakers they were teetotal and in 1902 they organised a tea party in their grounds for the temperance organisation the Band of Hope to which 500 children and 50 workers were invited. Less happily it was Mr W.R. Neave who, in 1902, moved the resolution, endorsed by the committee that oversaw the workhouse, to deprive the inmates of their traditional glass of beer to go with their Christmas dinner. The next year Mr Neave died and the committee, now free from the abstemious local grandee, voted to reinstate the beer ration.