Memories of Bradwell

The village of Bradwell has not changed much in thel ast thirty years, but that will soon be altered when Milton Keynes gets busy.
Once we had a vicar for the Parish of Bradwell but now he has to look after Loughton and Shenley as well as Bradwell.

There were three public houses but one was closed a few years ago. The village school was filled with over forty children, but about ten years back the number was only eight, so it was closed and the children are taken by coach to New Bradwell. The school is now a very nice house.

There used to be three shops in the village. There is only one now, but luckily it is a post office so we don't have to go far for our pensions.
Our three farm houses are all empty and the land left vacant.

Evelyn Haseldine, Bradwell


How we looked forward to and enjoyed Shrove Tuesday, a half-holiday from school when we all went paper chasing over the fields. Being a church school we had another day's holiday next day, Ash Wednesday. To make sure of a good mark on school register we went to church, but the rest of the day was ours to do as we liked. The next big event in our lives was Whitsuntide, and big athletic sports took place on the Monday. The next highlight of our childhood was the annual pageant. Planning and rehearsing went on for months and every year had a different theme. We had little money and all our fun had to be made by ourselves.

Kathleen Shirley, Bradwell


A very eventful day in our lives was the Sunday School treat and several times we went for it on a barge. We boarded the boat by the bridge up the Old Bradwell road and off the poor horse would start until we got to Great Linford. When we got to our destination, Fenny Stratford, we all disembarked and went into a large field where we ran races, scrambled for sweets and had our tea. Coming back at dusk the men of the party got out and helped pull the rope so that the horse would have it a little easier.

In the winter children learned scripture for a Lord Wharton bible. This gentleman had left money in his will for these bibles for the children who could say passages of scripture by heart.

On Sunday evenings in the spring and summer we went for long walks, sometimes up the fields to Linford Wood where Milton Keynes City Centre is to be, or along the canal and down by Stanton Lane to St Peter's Church, which the Lord Bishop of Oxford has just declared redundant, and then on through the fields to Haversham Mill. I used to wonder where the underground passage was which rumour said ran from the church to Bradwell Abbey. Other times we walked along the towpath to Great Linford past the limestone quarries where parents took children who had whooping cough as it was good for them.

On an Easter Monday my parents sometimes took us to Stony Stratford to watch all the traffic coming back from Towcester Races. This was exciting for us as we never saw so much traffic the rest of the year. Most of it was horse-drawn vehicles.

On a Sunday morning the local baker used to cook the meat and Yorkshire pudding. My mother made her Yorkshire and put it in her tin, then put her meat on a stand and took it to the bake-house. There the baker gave her a metal disc with a number on it and put an identical one on the meat. At one o'clock she went back, and as he pulled them out of the oven he called the numbers out, and my mother would then claim our dinner and hurry home.

When we went to my grandmother's to stay in winter she always warmed our beds with a warming pan. It frightened me when she took the red hot embers from the fire and put them in the pan.

We had a cycling club at school and one of the teachers used to take us to places of interest such as Olney where the poet Cowper once lived. Now the Pancake Race is run there between America and England. Brickhill Woods and Woburn Park, not then open to the public, were among our favourite rides.

E.M. Toddy, Bradwell


Extracted from 'A Pattern Hundreds' (1975) and reproduced with the kind permission of the Buckinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes

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