Water Eaton

Water Eaton village has seen many changes over the past 50 years. It stood apart from both Bletchley and Fenny Stratford and was only approached by Water Eaton Road and Manor Road which were mere country lanes with high hedges and trees on either side.
Water Eaton still only boasts one public house - the Plough. The original Plough was a small slated building together with several outbuildings. Alongside was the village pond, now vanished. Opposite was the village green, which still remains, but is no longer encircled by a hedge.

Coronation Hall, adjacent to the green was built on the site of the old village school which stood until the 1920s. The school house still remains joining the hall. Coronation Hall too has seen many changes. It served as a billet for the Army in the Second World War. Today it plays host to many social functions.
There are still old cottages remaining in Mill Road. Four of them are elegantly thatched and preserved, and are listed buildings. The village pump was situated in Mill Road and standing proudly on the corner was the big old hollow oak tree. Oh! what a delight that was for the children. Sadly both the oak tree and the pump have gone.

The canal still continues its course. Once it was a hive of activity. Barges regularly used the wharf for loading and unloading their cargo. Modern bungalows with gardens stretching to the canal occupy this site. Boats are moored alongside, signs of a more affluent age. Pleasure cruises are now a feature of the canal, as are pleasant walks along the tow path where the fishermen wait patiently for the fish to bite.

Over the canal bridge is Water Eaton Mill. Years ago this was in regular use with water flowing into the mill stream. It served as the local pleasure and leisure area. Children happily paddled and bathed and many took their first swimming lessons there. Alas! It has been allowed to dry up and weeds and undergrowth have taken over.

Since the Second World War housing estates have been erected. The largest is the Lakes Estate covering a wide area of what was once lush green fields with cows quietly grazing. With more housing there has been an increase in population and in volume of traffic. There still remains a part of Water Eaton very much akin to a village, its identity not lost, although it now joins Bletchley and Fenny Stratford and is incorporated within the designated area of the new city of Milton Keynes.

Article written by members of the Buckinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes for the publication "The Buckinghamshire Village Book" (1987) and reproduced here with their permission

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