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March 2022

Foot Locked

Canal swing bridge  Fenny StratfordThe swing bridge is built over the lock and you can see the track it swings round on here. This bridge was built in 1999, and judging by old photos, is quite similar to the one it replaced. The weight limit sign nearby can’t be the one for this bridge, which probably has about a two ton limit.

In May 1800 the Grand Junction canal opened between Brentford in London and Fenny Stratford. It was a success.

But the next stretch was built on more porous ground and would be trouble; it leaked. To aid repairs, in 1802 the canal company built a temporary lock at Fenny Stratford. That lock is still there; it's Fenny lock.

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Foundation Stone

Akeley church remains

The Monday Photo

There was a church here at Akeley in 1164, but this isn’t the remains of it. Instead, this is what’s left of its 1854 replacement.

Closest to the camera is the corner of the chancel, and you can see the rough layout of the church beyond, from those white stakes placed along the walls. Some sort of excavation work has been going on, perhaps to determine the exact shape of the foundations.

The 1854 church of St James the Apostle was knocked down in 1981, having been found unsafe a couple of years earlier.

There was a nave and a chancel and a nicely proportioned, fairly tall tower on the South side of the nave. It had been a Gothic Revival church, built in the Decorated style.

Entrance was through the base of the tower. The tower stairs came out onto the North East corner of the tower roof. They were capped with an octagonal roof so steeply pointed it looked like a small offset spire.

The earlier church was also dedicated to St James, and local historian Browne Willis described it in his 1755 book, The History and Antiquities of the Town, Hundred and Deanry of Buckingham:

"The Church here… is a mean small Building, consisting only of a Nave which is leaded, and Chancel which is tyled. At the West End is a wooden Turrit, lately rough cast, in which hang two small modern Bells. Over the Porch is this Date, 1656, being the Year when the said Porch was rebuilt.” (Sic)

I used a Sony A6000 and zoom lens just like this one for the photo in this post.

I make a small percentage from sales through Amazon links, no matter what you buy while you visit their site from here. This helps me but costs you nothing, so if you make a purchase via the NBW, thank you.

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Not by Royal Appointment

Bolobec castle bailey  from the motteThe bailey is visible from the motte, with the cut across the spur forming a moat between them. Castle lane runs along the moat side.

Bolobec Castle in Whitchurch was built for one civil war and destroyed in another, but in between it was a military strongpoint for 500 years.

In the 12th Century England was in the middle of a civil war known today as The Anarchy. Henry I had died on 1st December 1135, and had previously named his daughter Empress Matilda as heir.

But his nephew Stephen moved fast. He crossed the channel from Boulogne to England, then seized the crown on 22nd December. He had the support in England of some of the barons.

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XS Movement

Wall tie  Stony Stratford

The Monday Photo

You’ve probably seen large metal ‘X’ and ’S’ shapes on old buildings and wondered what on Earth they were for.

They are there to hold the wall up, fixed on to the building to stop the walls bulging or even falling down.

They are anchor plates. For every one you’ll see on the front wall of a building, there will be another one round the back; they come in pairs. Connecting each pair is a wrought iron rod running through the building. It has threaded ends.

Large nuts ( there’s a square nut on the one in today's photo) are tightened up on these ends to clamp the anchor plates against the outside walls, to hold them in. There are very often several to be seen together, to spread the load.

But this one is a bit of a mystery; it’s not on a building but on a wall in an alley, just off Stony Stratford High Street; it’s a garden wall. There isn’t an anchor plate on the other side of the wall, just a rusty metal stump; the remains of the tie rod. Where was the other anchor plate?

Now here’s a strange thing: although this face of the wall is stone, the other face is brick, matching the house on this plot. I think the stone wall is the only remaining trace of a house that stood here before the present brick one, Tower House. The brick facing is just to match the house, the other wall and the entrance pillars.

There are records of a previous house on this spot, destroyed by one of the town’s great fires in 1742. It seems it was at least partly of stone and had started to bulge before it burnt down.

The alley leads to the tower of St Mary Magdalene Church, all that’s left of it after the same great fire. On the other side of the alley is the Car Spares MK shop.

There you go, all this from a simple piece of iron.

Tower House was built in 1746, but has been much altered since.


I used a Sony A6000 and zoom lens just like this one for the photo in this post.

I make a small percentage from sales through Amazon links, no matter what you buy while you visit their site from here. This helps me but costs you nothing, so if you make a purchase via the NBW, thank you.

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Nice Glass When You Can Get It

Stained glass dedication  Emberton  BucksWindows dedicated to the dead are common in churches. Here, Hannah Prendergast passed away at about 45 years old. Her husband Harris was a barrister who outlived her by 19 years.
 

When it’s cloudy and wet out, what can I photograph for the NBW? Stained glass windows, from inside a church? Yes! The low diffused light illuminates them nicely.

I remembered that All Saints church at Emberton has a grand selection of stained glass, so I drove up there and walked up to the church through the rain.

The grey weather and the deep colours of the stained glass made the church very dark inside, but I found the light switches and started taking photos.

All Saints is a 14th Century church; the chancel, nave and aisles were built around 1340 in the elegant Decorated style.

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Living Round Here

Nissen huts  Great Horwood  Bucks

The Monday Photo

Quick to build, the parts easy to transport, and of flexible design, the Nissen Hut was an ideal solution for the many World War 2 buildings that had to be built in Britain.

They are easy to recognise, with their half round ends and corrugations following the curve of the roof.

RAF Little Horwood was just one of the places these huts were used, and these particular huts were used as living quarters for officers, sergeants and airmen.

As with many RAF stations in WW2, the site isn’t named for the nearest town or village, but for another one nearby. That’s why these huts are just off Winslow Road, Great Horwood.

A typical Nissen hut could be erected on a prepared concrete base in well under a day. They came in three widths; 16, 24, or 30 feet, and could be any multiple of six feet and half an inch long.

These huts are in the common size of 16’ wide by a bit over 36’ long. Made of curved corrugated iron with wooden ends, they were most likely lined but would have been cold in winter and hot in summer.

Some were lined with another skin of corrugated iron, this time with the corrugated iron running horizontally. WW2 photos show barracks huts like these with a pair of coal stoves.

Doors and windows didn’t have to be at the ends; they could be placed in the sides too. Nissen huts were transported almost as a flat pack, and even the curved sections could be nested together, to take up the minimum of space.

There were five other accomodation sites in Great Horwood, including one self contained site for WAAF personnel that’s now partly a mobile home site. Many of the buildings here on Site 3 are gone, but these huts are still hanging on.

I use Pentax cameras for many of the photos on the North Bucks Wanderer.

I make a small percentage from sales through Amazon links, no matter what you buy while you visit their site from here. This helps me but costs you nothing, so if you make a purchase via the NBW, thank you.

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