Villages

A Beacon for the Queen

At Mill Hill  Quainton for the Jubilee BeaconLocals gather on Mill Hill high above the village to see the Jubilee Beacon lit. In the middle distance you can see the windmill and church.

There were beacons lit for the Platinum Jubilee on Thursday evening, all over the UK and the Commonwealth. This is what I saw at Quainton.

Waiting for the Jubilee Beacon  QuaintonInside the temporary fence, these men wait to light the beacon.

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A Box of Books

 

Phone box library  Chilton  Bucks

The Monday Photo

This phone box library is in the small village of Chilton, on a bend opposite the entrance to Chilton House and the Gatehouse.

This phone box (or kiosk) is a type K6. Introduced in 1936, 60,000 had been installed by the time a new design, the K8, was introduced in 1968. About 11,700 K6 boxes are still in place.

The completed box weighs about three quarters of a ton, not surprising when you know that the sides and top are cast iron, and the door is made of teak. This one is a listed building, but many are not.

Communities or registered charities can adopt a phone box from British Telecom and it costs just £1. Over 5,000 have been adopted already, and there’s another 5,000 still available.

They are boxes that BT no longer wants to use on their network. Some are made into mini libraries like this one, some house defibrillators.

The only other phone box library in North Bucks, as far as I know, is in Gawcott. An original phone box for the village in a different spot had previously been removed, so the village bought a complete used phone box and had it installed in Main Street.

This cost them a lot more than £1. I don’t know how long it’s been there, but it wasn’t there last time Google Streetview toured the village. You’ll find it opposite Old Barn Close.

If you know of any more phone box libraries in North Bucks, please leave a comment.

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Post Round

Nether Winchendon church and postbox

The Monday Photo

Here are two listed buildings for the price of one! The parish church of St. Nicholas in Nether (sometimes called Lower) Winchendon is 13th Century and Grade 1, but this stone pillar with a Victorian postbox is 20th Century and Grade 2. The pillar is what we are looking at today.

The pillar was designed by the noted architect Philip Tilden, probably while he was handling the restoration of the village’s ancient Nether Winchendon House.

It was erected in the middle of the village in the 1920s, on a grass triangle in the middle of the road junction. Older photos don’t show a postbox on the triangle, but old maps seem to show a postbox on the edge of the junction, perhaps where this postbox previously sat.

This postbox dates from about 1861, and is cast iron. It was made by Smith & Hawkes of Birmingham, and their name is cast into the bottom of the box. Boxes like this are long lasting and still fairly common.

Next time you post a letter, take a look at the postbox; letters on the box will tell you under which monarch the box was installed. There’s usually a crown; either between the letters or above them. The R either stands for Regina (Queens), or Rex (Kings).

These are the letters you’ll see on postboxes, and the dates those monarch reigned, although the first boxes under Queen Victoria were not installed until 1853. Edward VIII boxes are very rare because he reigned for less than a year, and I’ve heard there’s just one example of those boxes in North Bucks.

VR                  1837 to 1901            Victoria 

ER VII            1901 to 1910            Edward VII

GR                  1910 to 1936            George V

ER VIII           1936 only                Edward VII

GR VII            1936 to 1952           George VI

ER II               1952 to date           Elizabeth II

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Secrets of Quainton

Quainton's cap millThe cap and fantail of Quainton's windmill.

The Green

Quainton is very well known for its many half timbered buildings. I can’t tell you about you about all of them, but when you see them around the village, just assume they are 17th Century; you’ll almost always be right.

This walk is three quarters of a mile long mile, or a mile and a half if you choose to do the long version with the views. You can usually park on the Green (See the map), and this walk starts on the lowest point of the triangular grass part of the Green.

At your feet is a manhole. It’s not very old, but it’s where one of a system of village pumps once stood. If you listen carefully, you may be able to hear running water. The pump on this spot was the second one in line; you’ll find the first one on Church Street.

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Secrets of Oving

Oving Hill  BucksOving Hill and Ammonite (squatter's) Cottage. You can see North Marston at the foot of the hill.

A "Secrets Of" Guided Walk

The village of Oving sits high on a hill above Aylesbury Vale. There’s a Roman road, two squatter’s cottages, and amazing views.

In this walk there’s a couple of sections you can choose not to take, but you’ll miss out on the views if you do. The whole walk is just over two miles, but without the two sections (see map) it’s under a mile.

There’s parking to the left of the early 17th Century Black Boy pub. From there, walk back past the pub to the junction.

On the right of the pub is a lane that leads to the Hossil, or horse hole; a pond that’s said never to dry up or freeze.

The Hossil is just a pond, but it’s fed by at least one of the springs on the hill top. Oving stands on the edge of two watersheds. To the North, water runs into the Wash via the Great Ouse. To the South, streams eventually feed the Thames. The springs were used until mains water came to the village in 1939.

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Milton Keynes is Just a Village

First World War memorialAt the bottom of the war memorial are the usual crosses and a wreath, but there’s pebbles painted with poppies, and for some reason, wooden spoons.

Until the late 60s, if you knew of Milton Keynes at all, you’d probably be a local. Before then it was just a tiny village on a side road three miles from Newport Pagnell, but with the passing of an Act of Parliament in 1967 this began to change.

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