Buildings

Modernised in the Past

17th Century cottages  Simpson

Happy New Year to all my readers!

Now on with the post…

This pair of timber framed cottages are on a side road which used to be the main road through Simpson village.

It used to be the road between Newport Pagnell and Fenny Stratford, which was diverted when a Milton Keynes grid road put an enbankment over the original route.

These cottages were built in the 17th Century but have since been refronted; the nearest cottage in the 19th Century, the furthest one in the 18th Century.

The bricks on the front of the closest cottage are greater in height than the ones in the far one; bricks have varied in shape over the centuries so this can be a good clue to the age of a wall, though not in this case to the age of the building.

Refronting was the modernisation of the times, though you can see here that the nearest cottage didn’t continue the work around to the gable end; it makes it obvious that the place has been refronted. The furthest cottage, it seems, did; no timber framework is visible in its gable end wall.

The thatched barn in the background is typical of the many barns that used to be in Buckinghamshire with its black painted weatherboarding.

Many of them were not thatched when I was a kid growing up in the 1960s and poking my nose into barns, but were roofed with corrugated iron, often painted black.

Like the cottages it is also timber framed and a listed building. You can find details of listed buildings in England online, and see for yourself what’s listed where you are. At the link, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes are both listed under “South East”.

 

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The Year, In Pictures

Here's a look at some of my favourite posts from 2022, just to whet your appetite for next year.

If you can think of any new subjects you would like me to cover (In North Bucks of course) please get in touch! I can't guarantee to use them, but I'll certainly look into each idea.

Half a House is Better Than None


Market Square and Horn St. widening

From February, a road widening scheme in Winslow from over 100 years ago. It had been a “a very sharp and dangerous corner” said the Buckingham Advertiser and North Bucks Free Press, when the work was completed.

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Lodging at Mentmore

Crafton Lodge  Mentmore

The Monday Photo

Tucked out of sight at the back of the Mentmore Towers estate is Crafton Lodge; a gatehouse. It’s named after the hamlet of Crafton, part of Mentmore parish.

The lodge allows access into the back of the Mentmore estate. Like many of the estate and village buildings around the main house, it was built around 1870-80, some years after the main house was finished.

The lodge is built in a picturesque, almost Tudor style, but like many Victorian buildings that look back to earlier times (I’m thinking of the Gothic Revival churches quite common in North Bucks) the roofs are uniformly very steep; steeper than a thatched roof would be. This is a bit of a giveaway if you are not sure how old a building is.

It’s a nicely proportioned house, and a much nicer place to live in than the many modern boxes now being built. But unlike the lodge they do not look as though they will still be here in 140 years.

This lodge, like the other two on the entrances to the Mentmore estate, Cheddington Lodge and possibly Stone Lodge, was designed by George Devey, who also did much work at Wing to extend Ascott House.

Crafton Lodge is a private house and is obviously looked after. But the 1852-54 Grade 1 listed main house (built for the Rothschilds) was reported in April this year to be neglected and no longer quite weatherproof. It’s a shame.

Tucked away places like this are the reason I look out for lanes to explore with “No through road” signs on the entrance. On my motorcycle there’s no road I can’t turn around at the end of; I’ll never get stuck if the lane just stops at a farm gate.

It’s a bit different in a car, but you might like to try exploring on a bicycle. To travel further, you can go by car or by train with your bicycle to explore an area you aren’t familiar with.

Give it a try; I might see you out there.

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Friends with Books

Old Friends meeting house  Woburn Sands

The Monday Photo

This is an old Quaker Meeting House, built in 1901 on Hardwick Road, Woburn Sands. It's right on the edge of North Bucks.

The Quakers, formally named The Religious Society of Friends, began in the mid 17th Century. They first met in the parish of Woburn Sands, then called Hogstye End, from around 1659.

In 1674 the local Friends were able to buy the small cottage with a garden which once stood on this site, clubbing together to pay the £135 asking price. They began using it the following year.

The garden would be used as a graveyard; it’s still there today, though there is no public access.

The cottage was used as a Meeting House almost continously until its last Meeting on Sunday 19th May 1901. The next morning, demolition began, to make way for the present building which they finished late that year.

A stone tablet in the front wall says:

“Friends Meetings have been held in this Parish from about the year 1659.
The Burial Ground was purchased 1674.
Hogsty End Meeting House stood here 1675 – 1901.
This Meeting House was opened 12 Month 8, 1901.”

12 Month 8 is the Quaker name for 8th December, and was a Sunday, or as they called it, 1st Day.

Friends Meetings were held here until 1947. The building, owned by The Friends Trust Ltd (a Quaker charity) leased the building to the library service the next year and it remained the Woburn Sands Library until it moved to a new address, The Institute in Woburn Sands High Street.

In 2015 the building became a day nursery. Part of the grounds are fenced off to provide an outdoor playground, but a gate in the fence allows access to the graveyard. From what I could see through the hedge it’s well kept.

The photo shows the front porch and, in the foreground, names scratched into the brickwork. One name has the year; 1990. I’d guess they are all in their mid 40s now, with children of their own. You can also just see, in chalk, the words “Cake sale” and below an arrow strangely pointing diagonally down to the ground.

There’s evidence of history everywhere you look.

I used a Sony A6000 and zoom lens for this photo.

I make a small percentage from sales through Amazon links, no matter what you buy while you visit their site.

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All Quiet on the North Bucks Front


Lodge Plugs factoryThe Lodge Plugs WW2 shadow factory, Olney.

The Monday Photo
Folks, I'm taking a break from the Wanderer. I'll be back next week but there are quite a few posts in the planning stage, with research and/or pictures to be finished. In the meantime, here's a few photos from the archives of the Monday Photo. Please click on the links if you want to learn more about the photos.

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Cracks in the Chancel

Chancel cracks  St Thomas  SimpsonThe vertical crack is on the edge of a blocked up North window. A supporting column for the tower arches is in the left foreground.

St Thomas’s church in Simpson, Milton Keynes, has a subsidence problem. Worrying cracks in the chancel walls have been monitored for some time, but on Thursday last week the problem was found to have got much worse.

The stability of the chancel is of such concern that nobody is allowed to enter, though the rest of the church is sound and a wedding last Saturday was allowed to go ahead.

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