Manor Park

Manor Park was built in 1965/66 in the grounds of what was known as Moreton Lodge. This had been the home of Baroness Kinloss, born 1852, who was the eldest daughter of the last Duke of Buckingham. She preferred to be known as Mary Grenville to her friends.

The Lodge was built in 1715 and was let to a number of businessmen and minor aristocrats over the years. Baroness Kinloss did not live in it until fairly late in life. She died in 1944 but lost her son, entitled the Master of Kinloss, in WW1.

The last owner was the director of Buckingham paint factory. The Lodge stood sideways on to Main Street with access to the left.

With thanks to Reg Doble for the original information which appeared in Maids Moreton Conservation Group’s 27th newsletter in March 2015.

 

Chestnut Cottage

17th century

The beamed half of the house to the left is thought be the original 17th century cottage, while the brick half on the right is an 18th century extension. It was still a pair of cottages well into the 20th century.

The row was turned into a single house in about the 1970s.

Bessie and George Jones, who lived in the right-hand cottage, lost two sons, Walter and Charlie, within seven weeks of each other in World War 1.

Walter Jones d. 23 August, 1916 at the Somme, aged 28.

Charles Jones d. 9 October, 1916 in Flanders, aged 23.

1. chesnut cottage

 2. chesnut cottage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woodbine Cottage (& Rustic Cottage)

17th century, Grade II listed

This building was originally two cottages: the section at the front was Woodbine Cottage, while the rear section was Rustic Cottage.

From the 1860s, Woodbine Cottage was home to the Bonner family. Mr Frederick Parsons Bonner was a solicitor from Leicester. On the occasion of his funeral in 1887, his widow Ellen was photographed outside the cottage with their 13 children. Ellen continued to live here until her death in about 1912.

Woodbine and Rustic were combined into one house in about 1928 by the Stanley family, who had moved there from the Wheatsheaf. The daughter of the family, Lorna, had been born at the pub, was aged 10 when they moved into the cottage, and remained here until old age.

3. Ellen Bonner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ellen Bonner (front centre) and family, 1887.

4 woodbine cottage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Old House (Blenheim House)

The original stone farmhouse, built in the 1700s, is now the back wing of the house.

The brick-built front section was added in 1923 by Miss Margaret Burrowes (known for her eccentricity as ‘Dotty’ Burrowes).

The house was called ‘Blenheim House’ which was later changed to ‘The Old House’.

The farmhouse had a large plot with a farmyard (now St George), a workers’ cottage (now Old House Cottage) and orchards (now Hall Close).

The railings are by E.H. Roberts Iron Foundry at Deanshanger.

A water pump once stood within the curved indentation in the garden wall on the right (visible in the drive of Lowenva next door).

 

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Old House (Blenheim House), before the front wing was added in 1923.

 

6 old house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Residents of the Old House include:

1840s          Philip & Elizabeth Box – retired solicitor; buried together in churchyard at G036 (far left back)

1850s          Amelia Gilbert & daughter Constantia – Amelia was widow of a young curate who served at St Edmund’s. Their servant George Welch lived in the house with them, while his son, a groom, lived in the Old House Cottage in its grounds.

1860s          Mary Scott– widow of a farmer from Aynho. Also her children Richard & Emily.

1870s-1906 Mrs Elizabeth Ridgway (retired farmer)

1906-1920s          Stephen Valentine Clarke – retired farmer from Lillingstone Dayrell

1923-36      Miss Margaret Burrowes – who organised the revival lacemaking trade in the village. Her chauffeur lived in the Old House Cottage

1930s-50s   John & Beatrice Hedley – veterinary business

1957-60s    John & Jill Morgan – businessman & chicken farmer

1970s          James & Sarah Stables

1980s          present-day owners

 

 

The Old House Cottage

The cottage has a large inglenook and exposed beams. A bathroom lean-to was added in the 1920s, a new wing was built to the side in the 1970s and this was further extended in 2008.

The cottage was once surrounded by the Old House farmyard. Both the cottage and the farmyard were sold off in 1971. When St George was built on the farmyard site, the carcasses of a diseased flock of chickens were unearthed, creating a memorable stench across the village!

Former cottage residents include retired Wheatsheaf publicans Elizabeth and William Griffin (1840s), Sarah and Henry Welch, groom at the Old House farm (1850s), police inspector Thomas Dunham (1860s), the Colton family of labourers and laundresses (1860s-1900s), and Miss Burrowes’ chauffeur (early 20th century).

The cottage had a bare earth floor in the 1950s, was a chicken farm in the 60s, a pottery in the 70s and a student share in the 80s.

Some say that the cottage was once used as a hen house!

The Old House Cottage has been home to:

1840s          William & Elizabeth Griffin – retired publicans of the Wheatsheaf; buried in MM churchyard

1850s          Henry & Sarah Welch – Henry was a young groom, whose father was live-in servant to Mrs Gilbert in the Old House next door

1859-61      Thomas Dunham – Inspector of Police. Dunham was well respected as the village constable. Despite efforts to retain his services locally, he was moved on after 3 years to be stationed in the south of the county, where a glorious career unfolded, most notably solving the notorious Denham murders of 1877, in which a deranged man killed a blacksmith, his wife, their two young children and a babe in arms, his mother, and his sister, on the eve of the sister’s wedding. The shocking case and Superintendent Dunham’s spectacular pursuit of the culprit and dramatic arrest in Oxford caused a sensation.

1860s-1904 Several generations of the Colton family lived here for around 40 years: John Colton, labourer; wife Harriett (laundress); children Frederick and Lucy.

John and Harriett’s son, Frederick, was pupil-teacher at the village school next door for a few years as a young man, then trained as a joiner and carpenter. He was also a talented and versatile musician, conducted a village brass band which sometimes marched up and down Main Street, and he performed piano, brass, violin and sang at many village events. He went on to become a coachmaker for the Great Western Railway at Swindon, where he also continued his musical pursuits.

After the death Harriett Colton in 1898, John remained in the cottage with his daughter Lucy and granddaughter Gertrude. After John’s death in 1904, the daughter of one of his cousins took up residence: Emma Jane Jones (née Colton) and William Jones, ag. lab.

c.1904-1920s?      Emma (née Colton) and William Jones

1930s-50s?           Mr & Mrs Marsden – Mr Marsden was chauffeur to the landlady, Miss Burrowes of the Old House next door.

1940s?        Joe and Ethel Heritage, sons Rodney and Richard.

1950s          Brian and Barbara Maddison

1960s          John Atkins

c.1967         Mr and Mrs Midgly

1970s          An American family, with two young boys; name not recalled

1971-78      Glen Beaton Allen (journalist) and Mary Vega Allen – the first owners of the cottage as an independent dwelling in its own right

1978  Gill and Bob Bilbrough – teachers; potters

1989 H. Turner & Son – owner of a newsagent’s in Leeds bought for the cottage for his son who was a student at Buckingham University

1992 present owners

 

 

St George

St George was built in the 1970s on the former farmyard of The Old House.

The garden wall at the front is included within Maids Moreton Conservation Area as it is the remains of a historic wall. The wall was extremely tall and is said to have been built by Miss Burrowes to shut out prying eyes. Mr Marsden, her chauffeur, recalled graffiti being written on it:

“A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.”

The late Vi Knibbs, who lived in Shop Terrace opposite, used to say how delighted she was with the improved view when the wall was finally taken down in the 1970s.

7. saint george

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tall wall in front of what is now St George is visible to the right of the school.

 

The Old Bakehouse and The Old Bakehouse Cottage

The clue is in the name. George Ward founded the bakehouse at the back of the courtyard in the 1840s. The distinctive Wards signboard panel is still visible on the wall.

8 the old bakehouse

9. the old bakehouse

The bread was passed through a hatch (which still exists) to the cottage at the front.

George Ward the Elder (b.1819-93) ran the bakery until his retirement in the 1890s. In his will he set up a charity donating coal to the poor of the village. George Ward junior (1840-1911) kept the bakery until his retirement in the early 1900s. In his will, he requested his estate of numerous properties to be auctioned in aid of the Maids Moreton and Akeley village charities. The 1917 sale realised the grand sum of £1770. The Bakehouse and an orchard appear to have been sold to other members of the Ward family.

Before being a bakery, the house belonged to shoemaker Job Newman.

In the 1830s, the Bakehouse Cottage was the home of a Royal Academy artist and portrait painter, Robert Jones. He is thought to have painted some of the decoration of the State Dining Room at Stowe. Jones tutored young George Gilbert Scott of Gawcott, who went on to become a renowned architect.

 

The Old School

The School was built in 1854 by Rev. Clay of St Edmund’s Church. The Bible and key carved above the former main entrance recall the church’s key-shaped weathervane.

The schoolroom was divided by a screen into areas for older and younger children. The change in brickwork shows where an infants room was added on the left in the late 1800s.

Behind, the school had a girls’ playground, a boys’ playground, and two earth closet toilets. Sometimes the boys pushed nettles through a hole in the wall to sting the girls’ bottoms. Once they got the teacher by mistake!

In 1924 the schoolchildren made national headlines when they went on strike to protest against a teacher who used the cane too much.

The new Avenue Road school opened in 1965, and continued to use the Old School as an extension for some time. By 1975 it was no longer required for the school, and was rented out to a group of parents to run a playgroup. It had paraffin stove heating, toilets that froze over, and the car character Gumdrop painted on the wall.

The council sold the building to be converted into a private residence in 1980.

7. saint george

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. 1965

 

 

 

11 the old school

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1970-75 – the early days of Maids Moreton playgroup

 

The Red House, previously The Elms

1911 – On the death of her mother, a Miss Susan Royds moved from Moreton Lodge to The Elms. She was the person who started raising money for Moreton Parish Hall. Eventually she left Maids Moreton to go and live in India where she married and became Mrs Susan Goldsmith.

Susan Hatton used to live in Red House Cottage which was a general store. Here are her memories of The Elms.

In the 1940s, two elderly sisters , the Miss Hastings, lived in The Elms. They were small and thin and always dressed in black Victorian clothes with black button boots. Their small terrier dog named Rags, invariably had a ribbon bow tied on its head. Susan used to go and ask to be allowed to play with Rags. Mrs Warner was employed at the house to do the housework.

Philip Wood, the solicitor from Buckingham, bought The Elms and he had a daughter who may have become a nun.

In the 1960s Stowe School bought it and turned it into accommodation for two families, dividing both the house and garden. Susan remembers a Stowe master, Mr Ball, living there with his wife and two daughters, Susan and Elizabeth.

 

Sideways Cottage

Sideways Cottage dates from the 17th century. It was extended in 2015. The rounded structure may have originally been an oven, but within living memory it has also been used as a bathroom. The stairs have been in three different places.

It is said that the cottage was once a ‘penny school’, where children paid a penny to the dame for their schooling. Another occupant taught girls dressmaking in the big room upstairs. And at one time, part of the kitchen was used as a shop.

The property was a smallholding, with land stretching back to Maids Moreton Hall. Part of its land was used for the village school, and the cottage became the schoolteacher’s home for some years.

When the Caton family moved here in 1924, Sideways Cottage had no water, electricity or sanitation, and was lit by oil lamps. Water had to be fetched from a pump at the bottom of the street and the toilet was an earth closet.

 

Myrtle Cottage

  1. 17th century

Tiny as it is, this house was once two even tinier cottages. The ‘ghost’ of the former door to the second cottage is visible in the brickwork, if you look carefully. It can also be seen in the cover photograph of Pamela Rayner’s book Memories of Maids Moreton.

12 myrtle cottage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An old wooden door inside has initials and a date carved in graffiti style:

AW

1797 JB

Could this be the handiwork of Anthony Webb and Jacob Brittain, two local apprentices named in the 1798 Posse Comitatus?

It is difficult to date such cottages with any certainty, as wood, stone and bricks were often reused from earlier structures.

The thatcher who worked on Myrtle Cottage recently explained that the edging pattern was originally a technique for pinning the thatch into clay. As clay layers are no longer used, it is now purely a decorative feature.

The Red House Cottage, Holly Tree Cottage and Woodlands Cottage

 

In the early 19th century, this was a busy working and trading area of the village.

There was a large farmhouse on the corner, along with outbuildings, barns, maltings, stables, cottages and a forge, clustered together on the site of what is now the Red House grounds.

Over the road was the Pheasant pub, and Woodlands farmhouse, with assorted outbuildings and smallholdings behind.

The Red House Cottage may not look particularly old at first glance, but ignore the modern features and imagine it with thatch. It does in fact pre-date the Red House, and was one of a row of cottages.

Trading continued here in the 20th century. The Red House Cottage was a grocer’s and fishmonger’s, and Holly Tree Cottage was Kate Carter’s off-licence.

Wellmore

Wellmore was – and perhaps still is – regarded as a distinct community from that of Maids Moreton. Historically, it was also a poorer one. The lower end of settlements tended to be less desirable because of the natural disadvantages of waste water or effluent flowing downhill towards them.

There was once a row of cottages behind a thatched house, on the bank on the left of the road. These fell into disrepair and were pulled down in the mid-20th century to be replaced with the properties that we see today.

Wellmore had its own well (no longer visible), and a shop/post office in the house behind the ‘red row’ of terraced cottages still there today.

Please take care if you walk down to look at Wellmore – there is no pavement, and traffic visibility can be poor.

 

The Pheasant

Since at least the early 17th century there has been a pub or beer house at the junction of Main Street and Church Street. That is, up until the 1920s. This sketch appeared in a book published in 1927 and the Pheasant is on the left. It stood on what is now the rose garden with no.1 Church Street so both must have been small. It is thought that the sketch was made in 1880. The road appears unmetalled.

13 the pheasant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The limited space for villagers to consume ale led, it is said, to George Villiers, the second Duke of Buckingham, in 1680 approving the building of another pub on land he owned at the north of the village. This became the Wheatsheaf which we know today.

The Pheasant was demolished in 1929 and a new red brick house built.

14 the pheasant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was in turn demolished along with 1 Church Street in 1962/3 to facilitate widening the road junction.

In 1928 a large part of the village was put up for auction by the residents of the Manor. The Pheasant and 1 Church street were lot 32. At this time Jimmy Tompkins was listed as the tenant of the Pheasant and as such was given first choice in the sale, which he exercised. The picture shows him in front of the Pheasant aged about 12–14 and the lady in the doorway, we think, is his aunt Bessie Tompkins who married George Jones. The year is about 1912/4.

(Information from articles in MMCG newsletter with thanks to Reg Doble.)

It is known that Jimmy Tompkins was also a bell ringer and moved on to farm at the New Inn at Stowe. He also has the distinction of being the last person to be buried in Foscote cemetery, in 1989.

At the time of the auction George Jones lived in 1 Church Street. George was blind in one eye caused by playing darts in the Pheasant!

The auction catalogue also shows some houses having an E.C. outside. The earth closet was a hole in the ground where you tipped the contents of the chamber pots or buckets every morning. The liquid drained away and once a week you filled you wheelbarrow with the residue and took it to your allotment.

 

2 Church Street

15 2 church street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maids Moreton Hall

  1. 1883

This was built as a private residence in 1883 and remained so until around the time of World War II, when it became the Bucks County Branch of the National Heart Hospital. This was the last time the original front of the building was visible.

National Heart Hospital

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Heart Hospital

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the 1960s large double-height extensions were added to this side, making the building ‘face’ the way it does today, towards St Edmund’s Church. Maids Moreton Hall had been in use as a care home but fallen into disrepair, many of the original Victorian features beyond restoration. A major redevelopment and new extension wing were completed in 2012.

Maids Moreton became the centre of the Bucks Lace industry during the late 19th century under the direction of Miss Margaret E. Burrowes, the daughter of Arnold Burrowes who built Maids Moreton Hall in 1883. The work undertaken by Miss Burrowes heralded an important revival in bobbin lace which received royal patronage.

There were several manors within Maids Moreton. Located at the southern end of the village was a manor, which after the Norman Conquest, remained within the possession of an Englishman named Leofwin of Nuneham Courtney. By the 1290s this manor had fallen into disrepair and a new house was built in the 1300s possibly on the site now occupied by Maids Moreton Hall. This manor became known as Greenham’s Manor after the family who possessed it during the reign of Henry IV. It was for a period in possession of the Crown before being granted in 1442 to All Souls College in Oxford.

 

 

St Edmund’s Church

St Edmunds Church

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grade 1 listed

Early 15th century (chancel possibly late 14th century), Perpendicular Gothic style

The exterior architecture is unusual in that it is all of one period except for a small Victorian addition to the vestry.

The interior was considerably altered in the 1880s.

There is a fragment of wall-painting in the Chancel.

The stained glass East Window is Victorian but there are some fragments of medieval glass which survived the English Civil War period.

The original west door (with holes made by Cromwellian musket balls) is preserved in the tower.

There are 17th and 18th century monuments, a 19th century pulpit, pews and a dole basket.

There are memorials for the South African War, the First World War and the Second World War.

The list of Rectors begins with ‘Robert’ in 1241.

St Edmund was an East Anglian king, martyred by the Danes. It is unusual to find a dedication to him outside East Anglia. The church here at Maids Moreton is the only such dedication in the Oxford Diocese.

According to tradition, the church was founded by a pair of sisters, the Maids who gave the name to the village of Maids Moreton.

 

 

The Old Rectory

19th century

In 1872 the living at the rectory in the diocese of Oxford was worth £294.

In Maids Moreton one manor belonged to the Duke of Buckingham; and another was leased by the Rev. W.A. Uthwatt, from All Souls College, Oxford.

During the 1800s the Uthwatt family became associated with many of the houses built in the village. Overseen by this family, the rectory to the church was rebuilt. This former rectory was designed by the locally acclaimed architect Edward Swinfen Harris and completed on 10th July 1878. Harris also designed the Uthwatt’s new manor house named Southfields as well as Foscote Lodge and is also considered to have designed Foscote Rectory.

Maids Moreton Rectory is built in brick and comprises 2½ storeys with a steeply pitched tiled roof and prominent chimney. Irregular windows can be seen on the façade with stone dressings similar to Maids Moreton Hall and there is a turret to the right hand side. The asymmetry of the building is typical of the Arts and Craft movement which was gradually becoming prominent at the time of the construction. The sunflower motif can be seen on both the outside and inside, carved on wooden beams in the dining room and the staircase in the main hall.

Due to its scale and situation close to the church, it is a visually prominent building. It makes a strong architectural statement and positive contribution to the character and appearance of the village.

The building is now in private hands, having been first sold by the diocese in 1967.

 

Domesday Book

Maids Moreton is in the Stotford Hundred and had three manors mentioned in the Domesday Book. The largest was held by Leofwin of Nuneham. Nuneham is in Oxfordshire. He held other manors in Buckinghamshire and other counties. It seems that Leofwin’s manor must have been to the west of the current village as it had the only mill in the village which would have been on the river.

“Leofwin holds 5 hides as one manor. Land for 5 ploughs; in lordship 2 hides; ½ plough there; another 1½ possible. Three villagers with 2 smallholdings have 1½ ploughs further possible. 5 slaves; 1 mill at 10s; meadow for 2 ploughs.”

Most manors had been given to Normans following the conquest.

When it says meadow for plough it means space to graze the 8 oxen to pull a plough.

A hide is about 120 acres.

Hundreds first appear in King Edward’s reign but are likely to be an Anglo Saxon form of local government much earlier. It may refer to a collection of settlements occupying 100 hides where the local notables and village representatives met monthly to sort out local issues.

*

Walter Gifford was the son of Osbern of Bolbec. As well as being a Domesday Commissioner he was keeper of Windsor Castle and was later made Earl of Buckingham. The Domesday book shows he had land in 10 counties including about 1/6th of Buckinghamshire. He was related to William the Conqueror and had provided some ships for the conquest. He had the villages of Lamport, now a lost village, Akeley, Leckhampstead and Lillingstone Dayrell as well as 2 of the 3 manors in Maids Moreton.

Thurstan held both of these manors from Walter.

Thurstan also held Foxcote from the Bishop of Bayeux.

Foxcote answers for 6 hides Land for 4 ploughs; in lordship 2.

1 villager with 2 smallholders have 2 ploughs.

1 slave; meadow for 4 ploughs; woodland , 30 pigs.

*

Walter Gifford’s two manors are described as follows:

In Moreton Thurstan hold 2 hides from Walter.

Land for 2 ploughs; 1½ there, ½ possible.

2 villagers and 4 smallholders.

Meadow for 2 ploughs.

Value 30s; when acquired 10s; before 1066 20s

Wulfric, Alric son of Goding’s man, held this manor

In the same village Thurstan also holds 4 hides from Walter as one manor. Land for 4 ploughs; in lordship 2; another 2 possible

1 villager with 3 smallholders

Meadow for 4 ploughs

Value £4, when acquired 20s before 1066 60s

Alric son of Goding held 2 hides of this manor as one manor; Edric, Asgar the Constable’s man,1½ hides as one manor; and Saeward, Azor son of Toti’s man, held ½ hide

 

Field Names

The field on the east of Scotts Lane is called Tin Hovel Field and that on the west Culvert Leys.

A group including the late Jim Dancer of Upper Farm produced a map in 1996 drawing on several old maps that show the names of the fields in the parish of Maids Moreton. This shows that the name Tin Hovel Field appears on the map of 1928. Culvert Leys appears on an older map of 1801.

Why these fields are so named is not known.

 

Queen Elizabeth I

In Douglas J Elliott’s book Buckingham a Loyal and Ancient Borough, the following appears:

“An account written some six years after the event, in the great Corporation Book, and which was possibly copied from an earlier minute book, reads as follows:

Vicesimo quinto die Augusti Anno Regni dui Elizabeth dei gra Regnie Anglie etc. decimo Anno dninmilesimo quingentesimo sexagesimo octavo.

Memorandu that the daye & yere abovesaid the highe and mightie Pryncesse Quene Elizab: before named came in Progresse to the borrow of Buckyngham in the countie of Buck, and at the uttermost parte of the Lymytt of the Liberties of the said Borrowe on the nort pte of the same in the waye named Towcester waye, The Bayliff and the xii pryncipall burgesses of the same Borrowe with theire most humble Submyssion Received her grace, whereupon her highness there did admytt the said Bayliff her Leveteunt within the said borrow and the par’he of the same by delyveringe one white rodde to the said Bayliff, and so passed through the said borrow havinge in most trihumphant maner her Sworde Royall and mases borne, and Trumperts blowen before her Matie until she came to the Manscion howse of the Rectorie or p’sonage of the same Borrowe where her highness rested dynner tyme. And after dynn ended her grace proceded forwards to the Towne of Burcester in the Countye of Oxon/

The said Bayliff attending upon her p’son frome the said p’sonage howse, until a certen Bridge named Dudley Bridge at the uttermost pt of the Lymytt of the Lib’ties of the said Borrowe on the west pte of the same in the waie leading to Tyngewyck in the said countie of Buck. And then John Burlacie Esquyer Shreiff in the said Countie of Buck expecting her graces comynge executed his office as before.

James Okley als hokley then Bayliff, John Lambart, Thomas More, John Gats, John Appowell, hughe Bowghton, Willm Illinge, Rycharde Myllinge, humfrey Reve, John Brystone, rycharde Shyne, Willm Sympkyns & John Taylour burgesses.”

Buckingham Corporation Book Folio 380

The Rev. H. Roundell in Some account of The Town of Buckingham (first published in 1857) gives us some further information.

Easton Neston near Towcester in Northamptonshire, was the seat of Sir George Pomfret.

It appears to have been customary, in similar receptions of the Queen, that the mayor should wear a scarlet gown of office and present a purse of gold.

 

Meadow Bank Guest House

Since the 17th century there has been a recorded dwelling here, first a farmhouse, then in 1823 a public house called ‘The Lion’.

Within a few years it was renamed ‘The Duke of Buckingham and Chandos Arms’.

In 1828 it was renamed yet again to become ‘The Buckingham Arms’ until its closure in 2011, when it finally became ‘The Meadow Bank Guest House’.

The house has been used in the past by the Lord of the Manor for collecting his rents from within. During its recent renovations, roofers explained that the roof structure is typical of the 1600s and that the A-frames and timbers potentially came from salvaged boats or even warships of that time.

One curious find of the renovation was an old shoe hidden in the walls. According to Northampton Shoe Museum, this was an old custom to ward off evil spirits.

Outside the house is the iron-cast mile marker with its misspelling of Buckingham.

 

 

Maids Moreton Mound – what lies beneath?

mm mound 2-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maids Moreton Mound has long intrigued many locals. The earthwork mound and ditch is a roughly square platform, defined on three sides by a continuous scarp slope, and on the fourth (north-west) side by a deep ditch.

Local people and historical records once believed this to be a Medieval or post-Medieval windmill site. However, following two community archaeological digs in 2014 and 2015, led by the Maids Moreton Conservation Group and Dr Susan Fern (archaeologist), this theory has been put to rest. The investigations made it clear that the platform has its origins in the 11th century and that occupation on the platform ended in the early 13th century. Could it have been the site of Maids Moreton Manor?

Find out more about the site from the display at the Old Gaol, Buckingham, where you can also purchase Piecing Together The Past, a book written about the projects. Please feel free to walk along the footpath and take a closer look at the mound.

 

 

1 and 2 Old Bakery Cottages

17th century, Grade II listed

Known as The Old Bakery, the business was run by the Gibbs family who first appear in the 1891 census. People from the village would bring their food to the bakery on Sundays for cooking in the still hot ovens.

Thomas John Gibbs later became an agent for the Prudential Assurance and bought the three cottages with land at the back. He may even have built cottage number three which originally was two dwellings.

In 1900 the Tom(p)kins brothers’ sale of the property referred specifically to the car park/well area as being DUCK LAKE. This is the first time (apart from the 1595 map) historic evidence has shown that Duck Lake was attached to this area only. It also gives further confirmation that the well was once part of a large pond there, which had historically been a significant feature of the village.

The interesting features of the cottage are the large inglenook stone and brick fireplace and bread oven and the Listing refers to the casements, the exposed timber frames, massive beams and large chimney stack.

No ghosts here that we know of! Only a spooky little oak stairway into the roof space where presumably at one time some of the family members would have slept.

 

 

Corner Cottage

c.1650, Grade II listed

The village Post Office was here from the late 1800s to the 1920s and then again from post-war to the early 1960s. The letterbox was situated in the wall on the left.

The house is thought to have been several dwellings at one time and there have certainly been two cottages here from the beginning of the 20th century, named Corner and Thatchover.

Corner Cottage was owned by the same family for 90 years from 1920 to 2012.

The Post Office, Duck Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scotts Farmhouse

A timber framed house with rectangular panels of plastered infill with a steeply pitched roof which suggests it was originally thatched. The upper floors still show the original wattle and daub construction materials, and many of the original beams are now exposed throughout the house.

Whilst English Heritage list as an 18th Century Farmhouse, parts are said to date back to 1548.

The 1803 Enclosure Act shows Thomas Scott holding the homestead, yard and land totalling 80 acres. Thomas appears to have no family or will and was buried in Maids Moreton church in 1807 aged 88.

It was a working farmhouse until the mid 1990’s.

 

 

Upper Farmhouse

1624

The oldest part of the farmhouse was built in 1624 as can be seen by the date on the front. Some of the windows have retained their mullions.

A large house needed servants. One such, a William Shakespeare appeared on the 1841 census. Later in 1861, two servants and a nurse were employed by the Salmon family.

The Dancer family lived here from 1873 to 1975. They bought the house in 1933 from Major Andrewes.

 

 

The Forge

The Forge has been in operation since at least 1835, and possibly earlier.

It originally consisted of two separate buildings: a small cottage on the left, plus the workshop with attached stable on the right. The space between them led to a garden behind. The remains of a window looking out into the gap is still visible inside the workshop.

19 the forge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At some point, a connecting section was built, which became a second cottage. In the 1980s, the two cottages were combined into one and renovated. An extension was added at the back.

 

The Forge also accommodated a post office during WW2. The position of the postbox can still be seen on the wall inside the workshop.

The blacksmiths of Maids Moreton have been traced back to 1835:

  1. ROBERT WEBB

In 1835 Robert Webb bought or built the forge.

He died in 1846 and is buried alongside his first wife and children near the church tower. An ancient anvil found buried behind the forge is thought to have been his: some say there was a tradition for a blacksmith’s anvil to be buried when he died.

 

  1. JOHN SCOTT FINCH

John Scott Finch had the Forge in the 1850s. He then emigrated to the USA with his wife and three small children; their fourth baby was born two days after their arrival in New York. The family settled and became farmers in Wisconsin.

  1. JAMES MARRIOTT

James Marriott became publican of the Wheatsheaf in about 1824 and was also an apprentice blacksmith with both Robert Webb and John Finch. James Marriott continued to live at the Wheatsheaf while also working at the forge. He was still blacksmithing in his 60s.

  1. RICHARD ROBERTS

Richard Roberts was related to the iron foundry Roberts family of Deanshanger. He ran several forges, at Maids Moreton, Akeley and elsewhere. He went on to work in Weedon, Northants, and eventually retired to Passenham.

  1. AMOS PICKERING

Amos Pickering and his family lived in the Forge cottage c.1863-70. They moved to Buckingham where Amos ran a forge on the corner of Nelson Street and School Lane.

Amos was a local hero for rescuing drowning people from the river, but he had bad luck in business and health and he died in 1900, aged 53, from pneumonia.

  1. JOHN ROBERTS 7. JOHN ‘GEORGE’ ROBERTS 8. HARRY ROBERTS

Several generations of the Roberts family ran the forge from the 1860s until 1947.

John Roberts (behind the railing in the photo) lived here for 77 years until his death at the age of 90 in 1947. He would mend children’s hoops, let them roast a sausage on a shovel, and had only one good eye, having lost the other to a spark.

20 the forge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21 the forge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

His sons, George and Harry, worked alongside their father until his death.

  1. ETHEL ROBERTS, MRS BENNETT AND MISS BENNETT

The Forge and cottage passed to John Roberts’ sister, Ethel Roberts. Ethel lived in the cottage, along with Mrs Louisa Bennett and her daughter. Mrs Bennett ran a post office from the premises during WW2 (the remains of the postbox are still visible inside the forge workshop).

  1. HARRIS BROS

Harris Brothers, agricultural engineers, first rented the workshop from Ethel Roberts, then bought both cottage and workshop after her death in 1947. Mrs Bennett remained in the cottage and died at Maids Moreton Hall in 1955. The business has so far passed between siblings, their children and a nephew during its 70 years of trading to date.

 

 

The Wheatsheaf

Wheatsheaf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

est. 1680

A public house has traded in this building since 1680. The Wheatsheaf, however, was not always its name. It was originally the Chequers until 1783, then was renamed The Star until 1805, when it finally became the Wheatsheaf.

At one time the pub contained the village grocery store. This innkeeper was also the local carpenter and coffin-maker. One tenant even traded as a blacksmith whilst dispensing ale.

It is said that that the ghost of Elizabeth Griffin is present in the pub. She was the wife of landlord William Griffin who was a tenant at the pub from 1806–27. A few mediums have visited the pub recently and commented on her presence in the snug area of the bar which is apparently where she sits in her rocking chair overseeing the goings-on in the pub. Many of the locals believe her presence is not the only one: sightings of a dog and another cloaked person have also been reported.

 

 

Pightle Cottage

‘Pightle’ means ‘enclosure’ and the word first occurs in the 1200s. The village map of 1595 shows a dwelling on this spot: the farmhouse of a large enclosure stretching north along Main Street.

Part of the inglenook fireplace in the cottage contains stones believed to have come from a 13th century chapel attached to the medieval manor house nearby after which Manor Park is named.

There were three manors in Maids Moreton. Their origins go back to the Anglo-Saxons and, later on, the Danes. The area around St Edmund’s Church was probably settled by the Angles, and it’s likely that Main Street dates from the Danish Viking era.

A Viking-style knife was found in summer 2015 during the archaeological dig led by Maids Moreton Conservation Group. It is now on display at the Old Gaol Museum.

Pightle Cottage was a post office at the beginning of World War II run by Mr. Frost. The first post office in Maids Moreton was opened in 1855 under Miss Susanna Goode, and the last post office closed in 2003.

 

 

Old Page’s Cottage

  1. 16th century

This cottage is probably named after Henry Page, a carpenter, who in 1910 was discovered dead still holding his saw. He was 80 years old. A year later his tools were auctioned off – including hammers, chisels, planes, axes, a spoke shave and a plumb bob. His family had been carpenters for generations, and were first mentioned in the church register in the 1600s.

22 old pages cottage

 

 

 

 

 

 

Studio photograph of Henry ‘Pop’ Page, c.1890

 

Village tradition tells that this is the oldest cottage in Maids Moreton, but don’t believe the story that it is mentioned in Domesday Book! However a village map of 1595 shows a dwelling on this spot, and maybe it is this cottage.

 

Maids Moreton Village Hall

Fundraising to build a much-wanted village hall began in earnest in 1911. A committee of Trustees was established, who set about raising an estimated £350.

Villagers joined in enthusiastically, arranging a variety of ambitious events including a series of concerts at Buckingham Town Hall, garden fêtes, dances, sales of work and subscriptions. However it took until after the First World War to achieve enough funds.

In September 1920, Thomas Andrewes Uthwatt leased land for the hall to the Trustees. The yearly rent was 10 shillings and the lease was for 21 years. The Trustees included the Right Honourable Mary, Baroness Kinloss, John Robert Gough and the Reverend William Clay.

The village hall was then erected on the site. It is said that it was dedicated to the memory of the village men who had fallen in the Great War.

Village Hall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1931 Eusebius Andrewes Andrewes sold the site to Harold Gibbs, master baker of Duck Lake, for £20. Electricity became available in Maids Moreton in the same year, and more fundraising to install electric lighting in the hall began.

The Trustees finally bought the site outright from Harold Gibbs in 1962 for £200.

The Village Hall was originally intended “for the use of the inhabitants of the village of Maids Moreton without distinction of sex or of political, religious or other opinions, and in particular for use for meetings, lectures and classes, and for other forms of recreation and leisure time and occupation, and with the object of improving the conditions of life for the said inhabitants”.

The Village Hall has had many Trustees over the years and is still run as a Charity.