diamond geezer

 Tuesday, June 26, 2018

This is not most people's view of Milton Keynes.

But before the planners drew their lines across the map, several small villages were scattered amongst the fields where the new city now stands. These included Broughton, Bradwell, Woughton on the Green, Little and Great Woolstone, as well as Willen where the big lake ended up. And there was also a small parish called Milton Keynes, just off the Newport Pagnell Road, whose name was borrowed to apply to the entire twenty-thousand-acre site.

In the Doomsday Book, the manor was called Middeltone. In 1166 it passed by marriage into the hands of Hugh de Kaynes, a Norman landowner, and so became known as Middelton Kaynes. Milton Keynes is a 15th century contraction. If Mabel hadn't married Hugh, the new town would have been called something completely different.

All Saints Church dates back to 1330, on the site of an even older building from the turn of the 13th century. I tried hunting for the medieval fishponds immediately to the west, but in this parched weather there was no obvious sign. On the village green is a village sign, still using the old name, and a small village hall housed in the old village school. The cricket pitch looked pristine.

The former heart of the village is just down the lane, outside The Swan Inn. Not only is it 13th century, it's also thatched, and requires taller clientele to duck their heads on entering. The tables out front are well frequented on sunny afternoons. Down the road is the obligatory red telephone box, and a shelter which looks like it was once a bus stop. The last surviving shop is a barbers. The Post Office may be long closed, but now comprises half of a very pretty thatched cottage.

If you fancy a walk round the original village, try the Milton Keynes Virtual Trail hosted on the Two Villages Archive Trust website.

The rural illusion is convincing, but you only have to drive a short distance down the road to reach modern Leys, Closes, Crofts and Drives. Connection to the wider world is via the Griffith Gate roundabout. Indeed the village has been entirely absorbed into the Middleton neighbourhood, whose name harks back to the original name of the village, before it was Milton Keynes.

On the other side of the parish is Oakgrove, one of the new town's newest neighbourhoods, and where Waitrose have chosen to site their out-of-town megastore. The developers named it after a clump of trees on an 17th century map, rather than adopting the perhaps more honest option of Formerquarry. Street names include Pixel Avenue, Cyber Avenuue, Abacus Drive and Wizard Way.

A Show Home and Sales Centre await potential buyers, with prices on the 4 bedroom detacheds starting at £675,000. The family homes already built along the edge of the reedy flood relief channel look less Milton Keynes and more Barking Riverside. But there are tunnels for the newts, so that's good, and the peace of Ouzel Valley Park is only a short distance away. The driving forces behind housing growth change, but never disappear.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream