The Depths of Tring Railway Cutting
No Man's Land, in Bucks

Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Oak Tree

Jubilee Oak  Woughton on the Green
The Jubilee Oak and in the foreground, Newport Road. The lane behind the oak goes West across the Peartree Bridge, and meets Watling Street.

In June 1887 an oak tree was planted in the village of Woughton on the Green, to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. The tree is now 130 years old, and things have changed...

Old Thatch cottage  Woughton on the GreenThe 18th century Grade 2 listed Old Thatch cottage. There’s a road of late 20th century houses behind.

1887
In the late 19th Century, Woughton on the Green was a small village on a minor road that took you along the Ouzel river valley from Fenny Stratford to Newport Pagnell.

Houses were mostly around The Green and the road through the village. In John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72 he counted 70 houses and a population of 314.

The last house on the road South to Fenny Stratford was the new Rectory, just past the bridge over the little stream. Fields were to the East. The Eastern boundary of the parish was the river Ouzel.

The Grand Junction Canal was at the West end of the Green and a lane crossed the canal via the Peartree Bridge. There were four other bridges over the canal, carrying footpaths and a bridle path.

Over the bridge on the right was the Old Rectory, and the lane went West through nothing but fields, still in the parish.

It then heads South of South West, past Coffee Hall Farm, Pineham Farm, and Bleak Hall Farm before crossing the nearly 50 year old railway and leaving the parish, where the South West corner of the parish touches Watling Street.

This was part of a sparsely occupied area of the county, which is probably why Milton Keynes was built here.Close up of Jubilee Oak  Woughton on the GreenThe Jubilee Oak in a breeze.

The Old Swan  Woughton on the GreenThe 16th Century Old Swan pub is just by the oak. It's a grade 2 listed building.

1965
The Jubilee Oak is now 78 years old. I’m growing up a dozen miles away in Winslow, oblivious to all this. The road through the village is now a B road, the B488. It’s the only direct route between Fenny Stratford and Newport Pagnell.

The M1 is a few miles away, but local routes to junction 14 don’t go through the village.

The village isn’t much bigger, except for the council houses built on the old allotments between the stream and the Rectory. There’s a small sewage works to the South East of those houses, probably built when the houses were.

The lane that goes West over the Peartree Bridge to Watling Street is still there, as are the farms. There’s still little else that way but fields, as there is to the East.

The Milton Keynes Development Corporation will be established in two years, in March 1967. They’ll start building houses on Netherfield in 1972; about a third of that estate is on the original Woughton on the Green parish.

Rear of Lucas Place  Woughton on the GreenLucas Place comprises terraces of two bedroom houses on two floors, with a patio garden over small one bedroom homes underneath. It was built in 1976.

2018
Now the village is in the middle of Milton Keynes. The road through the village is still called Newport Road, but you can’t follow it all the way to Newport Pagnell by car. But by bicycle, you can follow most of it. It’s a similar story when you go South.

There are now houses to the North and East of the Green which were mostly built when Milton Keynes came. Lucas Place was an early addition. The population in Woughton on the Green is now around 550, but that’s only in the grid square named for the village.

The population now living in what used to be the parish of Woughton on the Green is now about 11,000.

That includes part of Netherfield, all of Coffee Hall and nearly all of Eaglestone, all of Passmore, two thirds of Oldbrook and of Peartree Bridge, nearly half of Woughton Park and a bit of Beanhill.

It also includes about two thirds of Bleak Hall industrial estate and a tiny section of the A5(D).

The local sewage works is gone, and there’s a cricket pavilion and sports centre near the spot now.

The Rectory is now divided into flats, and houses fill what were once the grounds. The Ouzel Valley Park is to the East, as far as the river. Most of the 1887 field boundaries this side of the river still exist.

Old Rectory Farm  Milton KeynesThe Old Rectory Farm has been unoccupied for some months.

The five canal bridges are all still there. The canal is now called the Grand Union Canal. The Peartree Bridge takes you into the Peartree Bridge housing estate, past the Grade 2 listed Old Rectory Farm.

It’s possible to follow the old tree lined lane West from there across the estates of Eaglestone and Coffee Hall, then South of South West and through the Bleak Hall industrial estate.

Nothing remains of the farms on the lane but some of the names, but the bridge over the railway is still there. After that, there’s nothing left of the lane except where it joins Watling Street, coming out by the Primo cafe.

A lot has changed, but it’s surprising how much remains, if you know what to look for.


Read my next post to see what I found right at the far edge of the parish, next to Watling Street.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.
If you liked this post and want to find out more about the North Bucks area, please
Subscribe

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

WOUGHTON ON THE GREEN
I live in the above village and this week started a House History course; it was intended to be about my home but reading all the amazing surrounding history, I am already hooked on researching further afield.
So you can imagine, I was delighted to discover your article on the Queen Victoria Jubilee Oak Tree. Coincidently, the RHS has confirmed, I have an apple tree celebrating Queen Victoria Jubilee, which I need to follow up later.
Please, if you have any further information on Woughton on the Green or any of your wonderful photos, I would appreciate reading these and look at images
Thank you in anticipation and well done you. Regards Susan

Following on from email just sent, I guess I shouldn't be limited to Woughton on the Green, if you have any articles or photos on Woolstone, Simpson and MK village
Thank you
Susan

Susan

If you haven’t seen it already, there’s a Google search for the NBW near the top of the sidebar; just search for “Woughton on the Green”.

I don’t think I have much on Simpson, but there’s certainly something on MK village, and on Woolstone too. There’s quite a bit on Woughton on the Green.

Here are a couple of links. The first one has lots of old maps that I’ve found very useful. The second one is a map of Roman roads of Britain; you’ll probably have to zoom in to WOTG on that one.
 https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=14.253333333333329&lat=52.02577&lon=-0.72028&layers=10&b=1

http://romanroadsinbritain.info/margary.html

Good luck, and please let me know how you get on.

Roger

Loved the article - oh how it brought the memories back. We lived in Woughton from 1947 - 1955, I went to the local primary school, then Bletchley Secondary Modern. I was last there in 2007, and the dear old jubilee oak was showing its age, looking (like myself!) a bit weather-beaten I thought. It was pleasing to see that very little had changed around The Green since 1947.

I emigrated to Australia in 1971, and have fond memories of Woughton - years ago my brother sent me the book Ouida Rice wrote on Woughton in the first half of the twentieth century, as part of some oral history unit, and I did enjoy it.

You refer to the old rectory - (which predates my time there) - is this the house on the RH side over Peartree bridge that was farmer Lol King's house?

I was intrigued at your mention of sewage works to the south east of The Close. I couldn't place this atall - that would be somewhere in the region of the new rectory and Bury Lane wouldn't it - I can never recall seeing any hint of it's presence, it must have been well hidden?

Anyhow, thanks for the trip down memory lane, I'll always have a soft spot for dear old Woughton, it was good to me.

Cheers, (or as they say here - Aroo)

Best regards
John O'Hara (Down-under)

John

yes, the Old Rectory was on the right just over the canal bridge and since I wrote this post it's become occupied again.

I spotted the sewage works on an old map, but I can't find it now. From memory it was further away than the New Rectory and more to the East; about 350 yards South East from The Close.

I do remember that the site is now under the embankment for the main road, and I think it was just to the South of the modern sports field buildings. Was Bury Lane the one that headed East from just past the New Rectory? I think that might have been the access to the sewage works, which would not have been very big.

Roger

Hello Roger,
yes, Bury Lane was a narrow dirt road/cart track just after the Rectory grounds, on the left if heading towards Simpson. It veered right at Bowler's field, and meandered around the field perimeter, ending at the bank of the river (Ouse). I imagine the sewage plant was a simple cesspit-style unit, probably with run-off into the river, making it largely invisible. Maybe it also hints at where/how the lane got its name?

Cheers
John O'H

John

Yes, that's the lane. There had once been a bridge over the river at the end of Bury Lane, I think in the 17th Century or earlier. The lane then turned right and went to the West side of Walton church, where it joined Church Lane.

How the lane got its name I don't know.

Roger

In the 50s there was another wooden footbridge crossing the river, it’s alignment was on a line as an extension of Bury Lane, linking it with the bridle path leading out onto Church Lane . Weathering (and, shamefully, us thoughtless, rascally kids oscillating/shaking it in the middle and loosening the joints) meant it eventually (decades later) succumbed to the ageing process – the concrete abutments are still visible amidst the grass.

That's something I didn't know!

Perhaps of interest, I've researched some of the occupants of Woughton House - Levis, Blounts, etc.

(Also the millers of Little Woolstone.)

Also the school teachers of the Woughton/Simpson school.

Regards

John Taylor

Hi John

that is of interest, thanks, and now I'm well again I can contact you about your research.

Kind regards
Roger

Hi John Taylor,
only just spotted your post.
In my time in Woughton (1947 - 1955) Woughton House occupants were General Blount and his brother Mr Oswald. Live-in staff were Bill and Connie Guess - he clipped your tickets at the Bletchley railway station, Connie was cook and house-staff manager. They employed local casual labour for some housework, and my mother worked there for a number of years.

At the local school, the infants class teacher was Miss Smith, the rest of classes had the following series of teachers (over time) - Miss Evans, Mrs Tull, Mrs Booth - not sure after that.

Hi John

Thanks for your post.

Yes, the Blounts came to Woughton House from Tring in 1937 with their unmarried sister Minna, who sadly died shortly after.

As a resident of these parts for donkeys years I'm presently compiling a series of books on the villages that used to be. Woughton is the present one 'in progress'!

Possibly of interest, Magic Flute Publishing (Bryan Dunleavy) is now finalising the one on the Woolstones & Willen.

Hopefully some interesting tales - to include the millers who made it big in America, and the former schoolmistress who met an unfortunate end through a faulty gas tap!

Regards

John

Hi John T,
yes, I’d certainly be interested in the book on the Woolstones and Willen. My aunt moved to Willen in 1958, and boarded several of the labourers working on that section of the UK’s first major motorway, the M1.

In your Woughton project, have you come across a small book (now out of print) by Ouida Rice? Some years ago, she went round the village and interviewed many residents, especially those with Woughton-family roots going way back. I think it must have been out of some oral history unit project. It’s a fascinating read – the theme was around ‘An English village in the first half of the twentieth century’.

Cheers
JO’H

Hi John

Yes, I have a copy in front of me, courtesy of ebay!

It certainly is interesting, and invaluable from preserving the recollections of residents who are sadly no longer with us.

Also it greatly embellishes the information from other sources.

Regarding North Bucks in this undertaking, the books in this series so far published are Broughton, Great Linford, the Shenleys, and Loughton (to include The Fountain and its 'Flying Field.'

Regards

John

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)