Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pre-Railway Roads in Wolverton

That Wolverton and area has changed dramatically in the past 40 years is plain to all who grew up in the area prior to the Milton keynes development. Less obvious, and now buried, were the old road patterns that were disrupted by the canal cutting of 1800 and the railway construction in 1838.

The Stratford to Newport Road more-or-less follows its 20th century line except there is no canal bridge to negotiate and it appears to go round the the triangle where Manor Farm cottages are located. One presumes that the road was straightened here when the canal was built. Indeed the drawing by JC Hassall made in 1819 does show an abrupt turn after the bridge.

The turn to Haversham has also changed much. On this map it shows as a crossroads, with one branch going north to Mead Mill and thence to Haverhsam and Castlethorpe and turning south to Bradwell. This road was first cut by the canal and since it appears to follow the line laid by the railway was probably obliterated at that date. Part of it survived until recent times as a footpath from the Blue Bridge down to the old Pumping Station and across the brook to Bradwell. From 1837, travellers to Bradwell took the orad that probably marked the boundary between the Bradwell and Stantonbury manors. This road now goes up as far as Bradville before being cut off.

There were two cross country roads: the low road that went through Old Wolverton and a high road, an ancient ridgeway, that linked Calverton, crossed the Watling Street at Gib Lane and continued eastwards on a line that would have joined Wolverton's Green Lane before joining the Newport Road at Stantonbury.

Note too the trackway that runs from Stacey Bushes farm in the south to Old Wolverton and Manor farm to the north. This partly survived in the 20th century as a footpath from the corner of the cemetery,  crossing the Stratford Road, and following the Blackboards to Manor Farm.

The Haversham Road has been much diverted. First the turn off to Haversham had to be moved to the east when the railway line and viaduct was constructed, and 40 years later when the loop line was built. there have been further modifications and road widening in recent times.

The other interesting points about this map is that it was drawn a decade before Wolverton House, Wolverton Park Farm House and Warren Farm House was built. The mansion at Stantonbury, demolished a few years later, was still standing, and noted on this map as one of the more important houses in Norty Bucks.

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