Tales From The Edge

The Short and Winding Road

The old road  Warrington

The Monday Photo

Until about 1981 this narrow twisty lane was part of the main road from Olney to Wellingborough; the A509.

The lane just leads up to a farm now, but imagine driving along here on a dark winter’s rush hour evening in the 1970s, with the ineffective headlights of the time. You’d be struggling to see as car after car and articulated lorries came towards you through the rain.

Nor would I want to be broken down on this road with my bike parked where it is now; there’s barely enough room for a lorry to get by.

The two trees behind the woodpile In the background show where the old road turned sharp right. An even sharper bend can still be seen now about a third of a mile away behind the camera.  It’s on the far side now of the much straightened A509.

Like many main roads this one has been an important route for a very long time, and was once the Newport Pagnell to Kettering turnpike, which opened in 1754.

In 1979 work on the Newport Pagnell bypass began, and the project went far past the town, bypassing Sherington and Emberton too. Work at the Emberton stretch was going on in 1980 and I think that the straightening of this stretch of road at Warrington was done as part of the project in 1980 or 1981.

You might know of a funny little piece of road left over from road improvements; why don’t you see if you can work out what the original road layout used to be?

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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.

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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.

Continue reading "All Quiet on the North Bucks Front" »

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A Low Point for the Canal

_IMG2824The towpath hangs out over the edge of the aqueduct.

The Iron Trunk, the aqueduct that carries the Grand Union Canal 40 feet above the Great Ouse, is the third one to be built here.

The first one collapsed, the second one was temporary, and the one we have now is 210 years old. The canal company changed the course of the river and the shape of Buckinghamshire to build it.

Here’s the timeline.

Continue reading "A Low Point for the Canal" »

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Bridge Points

The county border at Ickford Bridge

The Monday Photo

(Also, a Tale From the Edge)

This is what I saw when I sat on Ickford bridge yesterday, eating my packed lunch with one foot in North Bucks, and the other in Oxfordshire.

The county border here runs along the river Thame. I’m looking East, so the fields in this photo are in Buckinghamshire, as is the left hand side of the river. The right hand side is of course in Oxfordshire.

The border runs straight through the apex of this triangular pedestrian refuge and there are two stones marking it, both engraved and both meeting at the apex. The one on the left is easy to see here, but the other stone is in shadow and hardly visible.

The lichen doesn’t help to make the stones easy to read either, but the left hand one says:

Here Begineth
The County
of  Bucks
1685

The right hand one says:

1685
HERE ENDS
THE COUNTY OF
OXON

It seems they were done by two different people, with the year at the top on one and at the bottom on the other, and only one of them is all in capitals. It’s strange that they are worded so differently from each other; perhaps whoever made them were both Buckinghamshire men.

This is the second time I’ve shown you a county boundary marker recently, but these are probably the oldest ones in Buckinghamshire and it’s thought 1685 was also the date the bridge was built. It’s certainly not the first bridge on this spot.

I’ve been to Ickford before; in the fields behind me there’s usually an annual tug of war match between the villages of Ickford in Bucks and Tiddington in Oxon and I’ve covered it on the NBW. Naturally the pull is across the county border, the river. Yep, people get wet.

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Border Post

Bucks and Beds boundary marker

The Monday Photo

(Also, a Tale From the Edge)

I’m just outside Buckinghamshire here, but only just. I’m close enough to reach out and lay my hand on the edge of the county, and I know this because this cast iron sign tells me so.

It’s a county boundary post, probably erected in the 1930s. South of this spot, the border between North Bucks and Bedfordshire zigzags away along hedgerows until it meets a stream.

It follows the course of the stream for a while, then turns off along the line of what used to be the edge of a field but is now the back fence of several houses.

When the boundary hits Station road in Woburn Sands, it turns ninety degrees and runs right across the front face of the Weathercock Inn.

You can see here that the boundary runs right across the bottom of the photo. What you can’t see is that at the base of the post, the border also turns sharp right and goes past the camera and my right elbow; I’m in a corner of Bedfordshire.

The boundary crosses the junction and goes along the edge of the road. This means that the houses here (this is Lower End) are in Bucks, and the road is in Beds.

From Lower End, the boundary follows the Cranfield Road and crosses the A421 and the M1. The A421 is being dualed now and last time I was there, a new bridge was being built to take the Cranfield Road over the new dual carriageway.

There are 18 boundary markers still known to exist around North Bucks, and most of them are in this ‘lollipop’ style.

I think I’ll see if I can find a few more; it’ll be somewhere to go on the motorcycle now that’s allowed again. A journey with a destination, no matter how insignificant, is always better for you than just going out and travelling randomly.

By the way, there's a few more Tales From the Edge in the sidebar.

 

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