Allan Newman Guest: New Bradwell’s Troublesome Priest

Rev. Allan Newman Guest in 1909

One of New Bradwell’s more colourful characters in the past was the Vicar of St James. The Reverend Guest arrived in 1908 and almost immediately proved to be controversial.
He was inducted with appropriate ceremony on Thursday 17 September 1908. He was single, 40 years old, and had held curacies in seven different places in Ireland, where he was born, London and Brighton. Perhaps the warning signs were already present in this fact alone, but he was energetic and at this date spoken highly of. His stipend was £350 a year – a very good income in 1908.

He was barely six months into the job when he sparked the first major controversy of his incumbency; he discovered that the register used for marriages was the one for St Peter’s at Stantonbury and that St James had never been licensed for marriages. Technically, therefore, these marriages could be construed as illegal. Something of the order of 500 marriages had been conducted over a period of 50 years. So what did the good reverend do? Instead of making his discovery quietly known to the bishop and looking for solutions he contacted the Registrar of BMD to inform them that the marriages were illegal and made a dramatic announcement from the pulpit. The news caused a sensation and not a little consternation amongst those unfortunates who now were led to believe that they had been ‘living in sin’ throughout their married lives. The Bystander (April 7 1909) was quite critical at the time and called him a ‘troublesome guest.”  Eventually, more rational heads took command of the situation and an act of parliament retrospectively legalised the marriages. 30 years later, the dramatist J B Priestley used this incident to construct his play When we are married, where long married couples meet to celebrate a 25 year union only to discover to their horror that they have been illegally married.

One gets the impression that Reverend Guest was a man of strong character and strong beliefs who rarely stopped to consider the views of others – there was only one way, his way. Matters came to a turbulent head in 1913 when he appears to have antagonised the entire parish. His parish was essentially working class, as was Wolverton. There were no gentry or time honoured traditions in a town that was barely 50 years old. The predilection for most parishioners was for simple church ceremonies based on the book of Common Prayer. They had no truck with fancy ritual which they regarded as ‘popish.’ In the parlance of the day they were ‘low church.’

A petition, signed by many, had been submitted to the bishop of Oxford complaining about the services of the church, which, in their view, were distinctly ritualistic, in their view. The bishop had shown the petition to Reverend Guest who, in a vestry meeting, treated it with contempt had threw it on the floor. At the last Sunday in April the bishop was to be at St James for a confirmation ceremony and had agreed to meet with the parishioners at 5 o’clock. The parishioners looked forward to it eagerly, believing that the situation could be resolved. As the Buckingham Advertiser and Free Press remarked,For two or three years past, Church matters at Bradwell have proceeded the reverse of smoothly.”

Passions were obviously riding high as about 1000 people turned up to listen to the bishop and have their say. Among them were some “Kensitites”. that is follower s of John Kensit a campaigner against ritual in church.

The bishop found himself in a difficult position. He obviously wanted to support his parish priest and was probably reluctant to cave in to mob rule. At one point said that Rev Guest had been reasonable, which was greeted by snorts of derision from the crowd. The meeting became quite rowdy with lots of jeers and catcalls and people shouting out. The bishop eventually left seeing that there could be no outcome, other than removing Rev Guest, which he was unwilling to do. A contingent of police from Newport Pagnell were present to keep order.

The outcome, if indeed there was one, was that Rev Guest remained the incumbent. Unlike the situation at the Stony Stratford church of Wolverton St Mary’s in 1909, where there were clear doctrinal differences between the vicar, Oliver P Henly and the Church of England, Newman Guest was more or less preaching in accordance with the church’s teachings. Newman Guest’s issues were more to do with his personality. So whereas Henly was locked out of his church, Newman Guest continued as vicar for another 30 years. The bishop did try to persuade him to move to another parish in 1916 but he refused. Over the years parishioners voted with their feet and joined other churches. 

In September 1915 he was before the magistrate for assault on a 14 year old girl. He apparently asked the girl why she was not in church. She replied that she was a Primitive Methodist, whereupon Guest, who did not like her attitude, slapped her on the face. He was fined £3. Nowadays the incident would probably have brought calls for his resignation.

In 1916 he married Dorothy Cooke from Eastbourne. His parishioners may have hoped that this would calm him down, but even she, after giving birth to two sone and a daughter could not cope with him and left him in 1926 to return to Eastbourne. She took her eldest son with her but Newman Guest put up a fight to keep the two younger ones with him in New Bradwell.

Relations with his congregation deteriorated over the years and by 1943 he was conducting services to an almost empty church. Only six members of the parish council stayed loyal to him. On Sunday he would ring the bell, go through the form of the service and play the organ  in a practically empty church.

Something of Rev Guest’s combative personality can  be discovered at a meeting of church ministers and laypeople to discuss the new prayer book in May 1927. The new proposals, he said, gave a layman power over the cure of souls, and he thought it was a wrong position to thrust upon a vicar. He added, “I would object to it in my parish.” The Rural Dean, Canon W. L. Harnett of Wolverton tried to quell the potential controversy by pointing out that the presentation of the new prayer book was for information only and it was not advisable to provoke controversy.

Guest was a strong and fit man and even in his forties he was prone to challenge other men to a swimming race. There are several newspaper reports of such challenges. Mostly he lost against much younger men, but this did not seem to deter him from putting up a challenge. He was also a recognisable figure on his bicycle which he regularly used to travel around the parish. The bicycle was of nearly vintage and I am told had a fixed wheel, which must have made it hard work cycling up the hill. Coming down was easier of course, but the fixed wheel made it hard to keep one’s feet on the pedals. Accordingly, he had a bar made to rest his feet while he was freewheeling downhill. One day in 1932 the front fork of his bicycle collapsed while he was coming down the canal hill at speed, and in the course of the fall he hit his head. He did recover.

Rev Guest was an accomplished musician and sometime composer, but even that was not without controversy. He composed a Valse in C Minor and he was accused of plagiarising Chopin’s Valse in C minor. To prove his point Reverend Guest played the two pieces and the audience were persuaded that the two pieces were dissimilar, The occasion was a bazaar to raise funds for the school and as it happened my grandmother was there at this occasion to open proceedings on Saturday November 6th 1937.

He finally resigned his ministry at St James in 1943, and died three years later in a Bedford nursing home in December 1946 at the age of 79.

He must rate as the most colourful ecclesiastic in the district in our history. He was argumentative and pugnacious, characteristics which, for al his gifts and intelligence, precluded him from higher office. During his years in New Bradwell he collected a lot of historical information which were published in newspaper articles and then by himself as Stantonbury Tales in 1924. He also adopted the habit of getting up in the middle of the night to play the organ and thus disturbing the neighbourhood. Complaints were of no avail and some felt that this activity was a deliberate act to disturb the peace of his neighbours.

The Bradville at one time changed its name to The Jovial Priest and sported a sign purporting to be based on the bicycling eccentric.

The start of New Bradwell

This minute from the LNWR Works Committee minutes of March 9th 1853, considers the tenders for the new development at Stantonbury. The average cost of building is £200 each.
While Crewe and Swindon were able to expand with the growth of their industry, Wolverton was restricted by the refusal of the Radcliffe Trust to allow any more expansion. The natural expansion of Wolverton was to the west and south, and in the end this is how it turned out. But in the 1840s the Trust became uncomfortable with their new neighbour and resolved to sell no more land to them. Various representations were made by the railway company but the Trustees were intransigent.
Part of the problem lay in the fact that they were a Trust with responsibilities to the recipients of their income (the Radcliffe Library and the Radcliffe Infirmary at Oxford) and their farming tenants. A stable income was more important than windfall capital. It was not at all apparent in the mid 19th century that farming income would not continue to be the lifeblood of the economy.
In some frustration the London and Birmingham Railway Company cast their eye on the land to the east, at the time completely undeveloped. It was owned by Earl Spencer and he was quite willing to do a deal. So it was that Wolverton’s first expansion became three streets below the canal, first known, rather up imaginatively as ‘Top Street, Middle Street and Bottom Street.’ Later they were renamed as Bridge Street, Spencer Street and High Street.
The first community had no special name but was generally referred to as Stantonbury, largely because it was part of the parish of Stantonbury, where there was a church. Eventually the name New Bradwell was assigned to this new community.

New Bradwell Pubs

I’ve remarked before about the comparative abundance of pubs in New Bradwell compared to Wolverton’s meagre rationing and I am not sure why that would be the case. In any event those numbers are much reduced today.

The New Inn was pre-existing when the Stantonbury development began and I have described it in an earlier post.

The first of the new pubs was probably The Railway Tavern on Glyn Street. I say probably because there is conflicting evidence. Marion Hill, in her book on the history of Bradwell dates The Forester’s Arms at 1854 as the first pub and the New Bradwell Heritage site dates the Railway Tavern at 1864.

The Railway Tavern on Glyn Street

I may have to return to this subject, but this is what I have found. The early plan of the town shows one public house on what later became Glyn Street. At that point the section of town to the east of the Bradwell Road – Harwood Street, North Street and Thompson Street had not been developed. Both the Railway Tavern, under the landlordship of John Harris, and The Forester’s Arms, under the landlordship of Thomas Copson, are recorded in the 1861 Census. The LNWR Board minutes of 1854 make reference to only one public house, so it would be my guess that the Railway Tavern was the first new public house, followed by the Forester’s Arms a few years later.  As in the development of Wolverton, pubs preceded church or chapel. The Railway Tavern  probably opened for business in the latter half of 1854. It did close around 1959 and has been replaced by new housing.

Moira Courtman’s map showing the new development c. 1860

Similar confusion seems to prevail over the dates of  The Cuba Hotel and The County Arms. Dennis Mynard in his book on Milton Keynes give a date of “about 1854” for the County Arms, as does Marion Hill and I have seen a date of 1879 recorded. The date for the Cuba is given as 1864. Neither place is recorded in the 1861 Census, but the Kelly’s Directory of 1864 records both The County Arms (landlord, Richard Hepwell) and The Cuba Hotel (landlord, William Harding). Since the data for the 1864 directory was likely collected in 1863 it seems fair to assume that both were built between 1861 and 1863. Croydon’s Weekly Standard records aa auction sale of 20 Corner Pin lots held at the County Arms on 2 May 1864. I can’t find any earlier mentions. However it would be reasonable to conclude that the hotel was built in the early 1860s at the same time as the Corner Pin development.

The Forester’s Arms as it appears today, not much changed

The Forester’s Arms is still operating after 150 years on the Newport Road as is the Cuba. The Cuba has walled up its corner entrance. It has a very exotic name and I am not sure how it originated. I would be very interested to find out.

The Cuba Hotel at the time of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. It also doubled as a Post Office at this time.

The County Arms at Corner Pin, at that time actually on the Newport Road, which was later re-routed, was perhaps the largest of the Bradwell pubs and is still an imposing building.

The County Arms about 100 years ago.

The last pub to be built on the Newport Road in New Bradwell was the Morning Star, at more-or-less the limit of where anything could be safely built on the Ouse flood plain. It is no longer there. It was left derelict after a fire in the 1960s and pulled down in the 1970s.

The Morning Star
The last Bradwell pub was built at the same time as the Bradville estate on the hill. It was unsurprisingly called The Bradville. In more trendy times it enjoyed a spell under the name of The Jovial Priest, supposedly remembering the Reverend Newman Guest, the colourful vicar of St James for the first part of the 20th century. Today it has been re-named as Halley’s Comet. 

A Short History of the New Inn

The New Inn circa 1920

Like most pubs which have “New” in the title, the New Inn is actually old – over 200 years  and pre-dates the town of New Bradwell. It was built as a canalside hostelry in 1804 to serve the bargees on the Grand Junction Canal, which itself had only been operational since 1790. It is a stone rubble-built building with thick walls. It is not always easy to come up with a detailed history of an old building but since I lived there between 1958 and 1963 when my father was the landlord there, I can probably piece together the development of the building.
The building today shows three gables, but I suspect the original structure had two – the stone-built part of the Inn. The walls were (are) very thick and this helped to retain warmth in winter and keep the place cool in summer. Downstairs there were four rooms with a central stairway leading to five bedrooms.  Two rooms on the street side filled the public bar function as they still do to this day. The two rooms on the west side were probably living quarters for the landlord.
A bill for its sale in 1828 boasts “a large and commodious wharf, Stables for 30 horses, Corn Granaries, Coke and Salt Houses, Pigsties, Brewhouse, Wash-house, other detached Offices and a large garden.” The house had a “spacious Kitchen, Bar, large Dining-room, Back Kitchen with pump and a good Well of water.” There was cellarage for 100 Hogsheads,  which seems an optimistic amount of beer to consume in a week. The “offices” was a contemporary euphemism what we would now describe as toilets.
The brick addition to the south, which is shown as having a barn door in this 1920s photograph was probably a late nineteenth century addition. When we arrived in 1958 it housed a Gents toilet on the street side and a Ladies toilet on the west side with an open courtyard in between. Upstairs was a large room which could be reached by an outside stair flight on the west side, or internally from the residential part. This was known as the “Club Room” and it extended into the former back bedroom area. In 1958 this part was derelict. The roof had been leaking for many years and the floorboards were rotten. At my father’s insistence the roof was repaired and a new floor laid. Thereafter it was used for Bingos run by the New Bradwell St Peter’s Football Club and various wedding functions and parties. Some time after we left it was converted into a restaurant.
Up to 1958 the pub entrance was on the street side, but my father closed this off to open up the bar a little bit and cut out the draughts. The canal side entrance then served as an entrance to the Public Bar and the Lounge Bar.
As I have already mentioned the New Inn was built to accommodate the bargees on what was once a busy commercial waterway. There was no “New Bradwell” in 1804 and local inhabitants would have been few. The 1841 Census lists several publicans in Bradwell but is a bit vague about which pub was occupied by whom.
In the mid century the pub was operated by William and Hannah Millward, he from Birmingham, she from Cheshire. Their lodgers on March 30th 1851 were two acting families whom I have described in The Comedians, The other half of this acting troupe stayed at the Radcliffe Arms on this night. In 1861 there are seven lodgers recorded, all male and presumably sharing room. Most of them are railway employees but one, James Heritage, was an itinerant bookseller. By 1871 Millward’s son Daniel is running the place so the Millward family were fixtures there for about 30 years.  Daniel Millward continued his career at the Railway Tavern on Glyn Street.
One puzzling element in what I assume is a long period of Millward tenancy is a minute I discovered in the minute books of the L&NWR Works, Construction and Estates Committee for 1854.
            It was ordered

That the terms and conditions of proposed tenancy of New Inn at Bradwell by Mr J. Smith, be reported to the committee before being finally concluded.

I have not found any record of the railway company acquiring the New Inn, although that does not mean that they did not, but this minute makes little sense in view of the apparently uninterrupted tenancy of the Millwards. I can only conclude that the reference to “New Inn’ is not “The New Inn” but rather the new building on Glyn Street which was subsequently named the Railway Tavern.
It is noticeable that guests and lodgers at the New Inn start to drop off after 1871. A number of cottages had grown up beside the wharf  in the previous decade and New Bradwell itself was growing. One might guess that there was sufficient local pub trade to provide a living,  As if to confirm this view, there is only the Tooth family living there in 1881. Tooth stayed there for about twenty years and  practised as a butcher on the side. I wonder if the addition described above was constructed in these years. This would have given him room to hang meat.
By 1901 the pub is down to a 70 year old widow Sarah Radbone and her 40 year old daughter. The club room is let out to a family and there are two New Inn Cottages that appear on the Census. I don’t know where these were located but clearly there was no evidence of them 50 years later.
In 1864 the short branch line from Wolverton to Newport Pagnell was completed and The New Inn became popular amongst the navvies working nearby. It is said that the pub was nicknamed the “War Office” on account of the number of fights that broke out there. It was certainly not that way in the 1950s but as a Public House it only delivered a part-time income. Some regular cutomers came up the hill and some down from the Bradwell Road, but New Bradwell was well supplied with pubs in those days. The pub then, as now, was owned by Charles Wells Brewery at Bedford. There was not a lot of choice. You could either buy Bitter or Mild on draught and some bottled ales – Light Ale Brown Ale, IPA, Strong Ale and Guinness. In the way of spirits, Scotch Whiskey and Gin were staples and there was some demand for Rum and Vodka, often mixed with tomato juice, orange juice or lime cordial was entering a phase of popularity. Typically men only used the Public Bar and on Saturday and Sunday the men would bring their wives and girlfriends to the Lounge bar.
This was the very successful New Inn darts team of 1959/60.
Back Row: Vic Ewins, Tom and Mick Emerton, George “Nobby” Odell, Ron Frost, Arthur Godfrey
Front Row: Sam Tuckey, Tom Howard, Bill Taft, Geoff Odell
The pub darts league ran every Monday night and was very popular.
Goodman’s scrap yard was opposite and the Goodman brothers also rented some of the New Inn land. The frontage to the canal was overgrown. Barge traffic was rare and leisure craft had barely started. The concept of a pub as a place to go for a sit down meal had yet to be invented.
Today The New Inn looks a lot prettier. Bay windows have replaced the old sash windows and the interior has been much modernised. There is now a lawn sloping down to the canal.

Bradwell Windmill

There is something very attractive about windmills and they appear to generate more interest than watermills. Bradwell Windmill still stands after two centuries but it was only used for 71 years of its life as a working mill, closing in 1876.
I have reproduced the text below of a duplicated sheet produced by the Council. It is dated 1956 and someone in my family paid 3d for it. One curiosity is the last paragraph: No responsibility can be accepted by the Council for any accident, injury, or loss sustained by any person while in, or in the precincts of, the windmill. Obviously this disclaimer was sufficient in 1956 to protect the Council from lawsuits.



The Windmill is built of stone and dates back to the late 17th or early 18th century. It is the oldest tower mill in Buckinghamshire and is included in the list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest which has been compiled under S. 30 of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947.
The Mill is old enough to be of interest both on account of its design, and as an example of how grain was milled in bygone days.
When in use the Mill was driven, by four sails with a span of about 52 feet, on which there were sailcloth “curtains” that the miller could draw across at will.
As reconstructed the sails are shortened to reduce their weight.
All the roof cap rotated, and the miller kept the sails into the wind by
means of gearing and the wheel and chain still to be seen.
The mill has two main floors above the ground, The first floor carried two sets of grindstones, one for wheat and the other for barley; a flour dresser consisting of a drum of perforated metal in which long brushes revolved; and the main vertical driving shaft from the sails. An interesting feature was the governor arrangements which increased the pressure on the millstones as the speed of the sails quickened, and acted conversely when the wind dropped. The millstones have been lowered to the ground floor for safety, but parts of the flour dresser and governors can still be soon.
The second floor was the garner, which contained most of the hoisting gear and the hoppers from which the grain was fed down through shutes to the centres of the millstones below, the flour then emerging from the periphery of the stones.
An extra section of floor has boon laid at the top of the mill to give access to the huge brake wheel, sail shaft, and other gearing and mechanism.
When in 1949 the mill was acquired by the Council the roof had collapsed, the sails were beyond repair and the interior was in decay.            
Gradually the mill has been restored by pointing the tower; building a now roof of traditional design; reconstructing the sails; and repairing the mechanism, floors, timbers and ladders.
The cost of acquiring the mill was £80 and that of restoring it, £1,910.
Towards the latter, a sum of £500 was contributed by The Pilgrim Trust and £558 by the Bucks County Council and £180 came from other outside sources; leaving an amount of £752 which was met locally.
The Council appeals to visitors to respect the property which is maintained at public expense.
No responsibility can be accepted by the Council for any accident, injury, or loss sustained by any person while in, or in the precincts of, the windmill.
Council Offices, Market Square, Stony Stratford, Wolverton, Bucks.

The mill was built by Samuel Holman in 1805 and operated by him until his death in 1825. Thereafter it was run by his widow and son.
It was probably sold after this and the  millers thereafter appear to be tenants.
In the 1841census William Carr is the miller. He appears to come from the long standing family of millers at Haversham Mill, sometimes known as Carr’s Mill. He iis recorded here with his wife Frances, both with given ages of 50. They have two sons, John, aged 14 and William 12. They also employ a 20 year old William Lambert to assist with the working of the mill.
A few years later they moved to Castlethorpe Mill, where they are recorded for the next two censuses. I don’t know much about mills, but I would imagine that a watermill (as Castlethorpe Mill was) would have been more productive than a windmill, due to a constant source of power.
The miller in 1851 was George James, born in Bradwell 33 years earlier. He has with him a 24 year old wife Mary and their 1 year old son Edwin. They employ a 13 year old female domestic servant Harriet Morris and John Colley, a 20 year old miller’s assistant. But by the next census he has changed his trade to that of carpenter and the mill is in the hands of William James, 55, possibly an older brother.
The 1871 miller was Robert Saxby from Kent. He was 50 and with quite a large brood with him. There are 9 children ranging from 22 to 1.
Saxby was certainly a career miller. Starting in Kent, he moved to Weston underwood for a few years prior to his move to Bradwell. After 1876 he moved with his large family to the Eling Tide Mill in Hampshire. In 1881 it is occupied as a residence  but not as a working mill. 
The turnover would suggest that this was not an economic mill, except perhaps in its early days.
It was pretty much derelict for the first half of the 20th Century. As can be seen from the above document, the Council acquired it for a mere £80 in 1949, which was possibly all it was worth.

New Bradwell in 1851

Prior to the new railway houses what later became New Bradwell didn’t amount to much. There was a Windmill House above the canal occupied by George James, the miller, and his family. Nearby, and still occupying this site, was the New Inn, and there were two houses listed at Bradwell Wharf, which I think may have been on the east side of the Bradwell Road.
The area also records a “Roadside Cottage” and a “Grove Cottage”, although there is no way of determining the location from these documents. A Toll Gate House  is presumably located on the Newport Road – then called the Turnpike. The only other occupied house in this area, occupied by Thomas Clarridge and his family and some lodgers is called “Puddle House” in the 1851 Census. The same house is unnamed in 1861, although occupied by the same family. Clarridge was employed by the Grand Junction Canal, so it is safe to assume that he was living beside the canal.                

The making of New Bradwell

On March 9th 1853, a sub-committee of the L&NWR Works Committee met at Euston to review tenders for a new development at Wolverton. The committee of four included Joseph Ledsam, Richard Moon, Admiral Moorsom and the Honourable P. Pierrepoint. Ledsam and Moorsom had both been involed with the railway from the early years and Richard Moon was subsequently to become Chairman of the Company. Wolverton needed to expand but the Company had reached an impasse with the Radcliffe Trustees who felt that they had given up enough land and refused to part with any more. Accordingly, the L&NWR had acquired 19 acres from Earl Spencer of Althorp in Stantonbury, just down the hill from Wolverton Station. 15 acres of this was a sloping field bounded by the Newport Road, Bradwell Road and what later became St James Street, and at the south end, a line bounding the canal property. A further 4 acres was later developed as Corner Pin.

The minute reads:

In accordance with Minute of Locomotive Committee Feby 22nd. 1853 Tenders were received by advertisement for Houses and Cottages at Wolverton including,

14 Houses for Foremen

4 Cottages with shops

60 First Class Cottages

40 Second Class Cottages

Total 118

Fifteen tenders were submitted ranging from £20,611 to £28,632 and the lowest, from a Mr. Parnell for  £20,611 9s 4d was accepted and recommended to the General Committee. It is noteworthy that the committee were careful to ask their own engineer to make an estimate for comparison with the bids. His was £21,516.
Additional tenders for roads and drains were also scrutinied and again the lowest bid from Mr. Firbank for £1341 4s 8d was recommended.

The first parts of the new village were the south side of the High Street, Spencer Street and Bridge Street. These streets were not so imaginatively named originally, being High Street, Middle Street and Top Street. Middle Street and Top Street were renamed Spencer and Bridge Streets at the end of the century.

At the same time as construction of these new houses was going on three streets to the north of the Engine Shed in Wolverton, Garnett St., Cooke St. and Walker St., were being demolished to make room for worskshop expansion. This amounted to approximately 40 cottages, which were in any case much inferior to the new ones in Stantonbury, so I expect the new cottages were filled as quickly as they were built.

Spencer Street

First, a confession. When I heard that there was a movement to preserve these houses when they were planning to demolish these streets back in the late 1960s I was incredulous. Why on earth, I thought, would anyone want to preserve these characterless terraces constructed in (to my aesthetic) a rather ugly yellow brick? Well, I was wrong (not for the first time in my life) and the campaigners more visionary than I gave them credit for.
The planters and the greenery and the absence of car parking at the front does a great deal for the appearance of the terrace, but the rather sickly yellow ochre colour of the brick has acquired a patina or has perhaps been neutralized over time to a more acceptable beige. I like it.
I had a brief conversation with a young man sporting hair that had been dyed white and pink and he told me that he enjoyed living there and that there was a good community spirit in new Bradwell. I would note from the wide open windows in all houses on this rather sultry day that insulation is not as good as it could be.


Here are the origins of New Bradwell. the railways works at Wolverton Station needed to expand; the Radcliffe Trust were unwilling to part with any more farmland, so the railway company directors turned to the neighbouring parish for a solution. Here is a map of those first streets in 1860 – Bridge Street, Spencer Street and the High street – all built up the hill away from the flood plain. What a difference from today when governments quite happily authorise the building of houses on land subject to flooding, whereas in the 19th century no self-respecting builder would have contemplated such an action – unless he was building a watermill.

The brick for these houseswas a grayish yellow and never looked attractive to my eyes, yet these were the houses which survived the wrecker’s ball due to a campaign by arriviste Milton Keynesers who were keen to preserve the Railway heritage. I would not have shed a tear if they had been destroyed in the 1960s but today I am ambivalent. Had the houses in Ledsam or Creed Streets in Wolverton survived we would have preserved some of the earliest houses from the 1840s, but at the time of the development of Stantonbury somewhat better looking houses were being erected on Church Street and the Stratford Road in Wolverton so there are plenty of examples of 1860s housing but one gfrom the 1840s!
The ancient parish was Stantonbury with a church near the river at Stanton Low. This church was dedicated to St Peter and although long since abandoned, retains its name in the local footall club – New Bradwell St Peter.
The name Stantonbury fell into disuse as the new settlers here liked the name New Bradwell better. The name of Stantonbury was only revived when the new comprehensive school was built on the hill in the 1970s.