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May 2023

Mind the Edge

Eythrope listed bridge

The Monday Photo

This bridge over the River Thame was built in the middle of the 18th Century, without a parapet. I’m sure it looked very elegant.

Probably alright if you know the bridge, but I wouldn’t like to go over it in a heavy fog! But by 1910 a rustic fence had been erected on both sides, as a photo from that year shows.

There’s a different and perhaps less obtrusive iron fence there now. Just as well, as a public footpath leads over the bridge. That photo, of the same side as in my photo today, also shows a carved stone face on the keystone, when I was there hidden under ivy.

The bridge is next to Bridge Lodge, the gatehouse on the Eythrope estate which was built for Alice de Rothschild some years after this bridge was finished. The estate is between Waddesdon and Stone.


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Blog note

DSC06111The bike in question.

There was no Thursday post last week, so my apologies if you came here looking for the second lost footpath post.

It doesn’t seem very blog related, but I’ve been without a working motorcycle and the past couple of weeks has been taken up in trying to remedy that.

I rely on a motorcycle for being able to explore the countryside for the North Bucks Wanderer, especially those narrow dead-end lanes which have nowhere for a car to turn round, or those spots where there’s a great photo to be had but nowhere to park a car.

There’s nearly always a corner or a narrow verge I can park the bike on, and it’s a simple matter to turn round when I’ve spotted something to show you. So creating varied and interesting posts is much easier.

Also, it “drives” me crazy not being able to ride. Okay, I’ve made it into a joke, but when I get this bike back on the road I’ll be a much happier man; the bike is part of my support system.

The second lost footpath post will be published on Thursday.

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How Old?

Woughton on the Green Manor House
The Monday Photo

This old farmhouse by the green at Woughton on the Green, appears to be either Georgian or 19th Century. But which is it?

Actually it’s neither. Behind the chequered brickwork is a timber framed 16th Century building; two hundred years older than it appears and one of the oldest domestic buildings in Milton Keynes. In the left hand front room there’s a fine, large, 16th Century fireplace.

The rear wing hasn’t been recased so still shows it’s massive timber framing; part of it can just be seen by walking round to the right from the camera position. The chimney to the right is in that wing.

The central gabled projection and ground floor bay windows were added to the Georgian front in the 19th Century. Imagine the house before it was updated, with no centre projection, timber framing (probably massive like the rear wing) and a thatched roof.

Every house has a story, if you know what to look for.

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Lost Footpaths of Milton Keynes

Canal bridge 89  Milton Keynes(16) The canal bridge. This is the view just before you cross into Woughton on the Green; if you’ve come along either footpath you’d be nearly at your destination.
The bridge isn't on this post's map, but is on the map in part 2.

The Half Lost Footpaths
Part 1

(Edited, with photo numbers added to text and drainage ditches etc added to map)
This is an accommodation bridge, built so that fields and minor routes were not cut off by the canal. When built it was at the edge of a village, but now it’s in the middle of Milton Keynes.

This is bridge 89 over the Grand Union canal, and it’s near the pair of roundabouts where Marlborough Street (V8) and Standing Way (H8) meet.

Now it just provides access between the Peartree Bridge and Woughton on the Green housing estates, but before Milton Keynes there were two trackways or paths that met at the bridge.

These routes, marked as footpaths on 1950s maps, were both lost with the building of the new town. But parts still exist and can be found today.

Mostly these footpaths followed field boundaries, so it’s likely they date from just after the enclosure act was signed for Woughton on the Green in 1768. Hedges still in existence make them a little easier to follow today.

Lost footpath map  BletchleyThe route in about 1900, but showing the photo locations and some modern roads. By the way, if you’ve ever wondered about a strange feature of your local area, or just wondered what was there before all the houses were built, the National Library of Scotland’s online maps like this one may well be able to tell you.
Drainage ditches, ponds, and wells have now been added to this map; I now understand there's a relationship between the routes of footpaths and the routes of drainage ditches, see part 2.

Continue reading "Lost Footpaths of Milton Keynes" »

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Nine Hundred Years of Baptism

12th Century font  Wingrave

The Monday Photo

Wingrave’s church font was made in the 12th Century. It seems to have been made in sections; the bowl is all in one piece, but the carved cable moulding around the bottom looks like it was made in four equal pieces.

You can see a couple of the joins in the photo, where the moulding has vertical breaks.

The base, according to the 1925 A History of the County of Buckingham, “is supported on a modern stem and base”.

Take that how you like, but they might mean the font was put on that (somewhat wonky) base when the church was restored in 1887-88. But that font has been in use for a long time. How many babies has there been?

St Peter and St Paul’s church is open every day. The church has some fine stone and wooden carvings.


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