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June 2023

Down at the Farm

Manor House  Stewkley  Bucks

The Monday Photo

In Stewkley’s High Street South were once two farms; Dovecot Farm and Manor Farm.

This building was the farmhouse for Manor Farm, and was built in the late 16th Century. That makes it one of the oldest houses in North Bucks.

It’s timber framed, except for the whitewashed brick extension to the right of the photo. That’s part of some early 19th Century alterations, as are the chequered brick faces on the ground floor, facing the road.

The two massive chimneys have diagonally set stacks; two on the furthest one, (not visible here) and four (the last one hidden behind the others) on the nearest one.

You can just see the long rear wing with its plaster infill, behind the whitewashed extension.

To the South of the farmhouse and to the left of our photo is a rectangular plot that’s now a garden. It’s likely that this was once the farmyard, though no other farm buildings seem to remain.

Except, that is, for a Dovecote just outside the corner of the plot, and now visible if you walk down into the Manor Farm Business Centre. It has a date stone; 1704.

The 1925 A History of the County of Buckingham (courtesy of British History Online) says of the farmhouse: ”The manor-house of the chief manor in the parish has been converted into a farm.” Hence, I suppose, the name.

Oh yes, I know today is Tuesday; I ran out of time yesterday!

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Live, Fox

The Towers band  at Stony Stratford

Band: The Towers.

Venue: The Fox and Hounds.

Date: Friday June 9th.

Location: Stony Stratford.

Event: Stony Live.

Dancing at the Fox and Hounds


The Towers band  at the Fox and Hounds  Stony


Audience at the Fox and Hounds  Stony Stratford

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Pray, Tell

Church handbill  Wingrave

The Monday Photo

I found this poster, or maybe it’s a hand bill, encouraging prayer in Wingrave’s church of St Peter and St Paul, and found it was printed by A. R. Mowbray & Co Ltd.

Mowbray’s were a firm that supplied ecclesiastical furnishings, stained glass windows, and printed works, incorporated (I think that means founded) in the mid 19th Century and lasting until the mid 1990s.

They were based in Oxford and London W1. The London address, 28 Margaret Street W1 is still there; it’s just off Regent Street.

Mowbray’s would be able to supply most of the specialised things a church needed that could not be sourced locally.

This hand bill (or poster) was part of a series, as at the bottom it says, “No. VIII”. If you’ve read my post on Roman numerals, you’ll know that means it was the eighth one in the set. I’d guess that it’s at least 100 years old. I’ve never seen another one.

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Shopping for Clues

High St. shop  Newport Pagnell

The Monday Photo

This is a commonly seen sort of a building; a house that’s been converted into a shop. This is 104 High Street, Newport Pagnell and until fairly recently it was the Smarts Trophies & Engraving shop.

Now the sign board above the shop window has gone, we can see how this Victorian house has been modified.

A big clue is the flat brick arch over part of the shop window. It’s directly below an upstairs window, and when we look at the arch above the shop doorway, that’s directly below its own upstairs window. This means) that the arches were once over downstairs windows.

Note how both the downstairs arches match in design and level, but the very similar arch over the turquoise door at the far end is one brick course lower. This, not the dark blue door closest to us, is the original front door, or at least its doorway.

Rolled Steel
Above the shop window is an RSJ; a Rolled Steel Joist that supports the wall above. This is common in shop conversions. You will also often see beams across a shop or pub ceiling.

That’s almost always an RSJ too, in pubs usually disguised to look like a stout wooden beam, in shops often just boxed in. They replace walls that once supported floor joists and brick dividing walls above.

Removing internal walls is not a job for the amateur builder; it can cause a house to fall down.

Curiously, the kitchen shop next door seems to be part of the same building. Although the layout and window proportions are quite different, it shares the same corbel detail under the eaves and a continous roofline above.

This is a Monday photo, one of many on this blog. It’s one photo (the clue’s in the name!) with up to about 500 words; just right if you want a short read. Just click on “Monday Photo” in the sidebar; there’s over 130 to choose from.

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Groovy Music


Stony Live, Stony Stratford’s annual eight day live entertainment festival, was on last week.

Saturday 3rd of June, was day one of Stony Live, and that’s when I found One Foot in the Groove (with a couple of guest artistes) playing at the Old George, Stony Stratford.

Continue reading "Groovy Music" »

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Low Call


The Monday Photo

; presently occupied by J.S. Cowley & Sons, Funeral Directors.

Post-Office Telephones it says on the cast iron rim, in worn letters. This pair of covers were installed to provide access to phone cable joints and I expect it’s still in use.

These Footway Box Covers (FBCs) as the Post Office called them, designed for installing in footpaths. A more durable design was specified for road use; thePost Office called them Carriageway Box Covers.

The Post Office’s telecommunications arm was called Post Office Telephones from 1931 until October 1969, when it was renamed Post Office Telecommunications. It didn’t, by the way, become British Telecom until 1980, before becoming privatised in late 1984.

It’s hard to say how old these particular covers are, but a very similar design bore the legend Post Office Telegraphs. Even if the manhole covers in the photo were installed in October 1969, they are still nearly 54 years old.

Have you noticed a cover like this where you are?

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