Cublington

There cannot be many villages in England that have actually moved, but Cublington has!  It is situated in the Vale of Aylesbury and the earliest mention of Cublington is in the Domesday Book when 'Coblincote' consisted of 10 hides (1000 acres) and land for nine ploughs. The property, worth £6 per annum, then belonged to one Gozelin from Brittany, a follower of William the Conqueror.
In 1322, sixteen households in the village were wealthy enough to be taxed but by 1341 when King Edward III imposed new rates on country parishes it was reported that about 100 acres of land lay fallow and uncultivated and 13 houses stood empty. The tenants, being so poor, had left the village. There were few lambs and sheep and no-one substantial enough to be taxed. For what specific reason, it is not clear, maybe the Black Death and badly drained land, but the village went into decline.

By 1400 it had been reborn on its present site with a new church built in its centre. Many of the materials of the old church - stone and timber — were re-used in the new one and some of the fittings, like the old parish chest, were installed in the new church. This old chest — the oldest in Buckinghamshire — is still in use today.
The old village site is still visible after all these years and is classified as an Ancient Monument. It lies in the field at the end of Ridings Way and has a footpath running through it.  Journeying today towards Cublington from Stewkley one travels along a switchback of a route lined on both sides by farmland, tall hedges and verges of wild flowers until one comes upon what remains of the Old Manor and its outbuildings. Built in the early 18th century the Manor House was burned down around 1800 but the granary and range of stables and dovecotes, having stood empty and derelict for many years have now been restored to make two beautiful homes.
Turn here into Reads Lane, named after a local farmer whose family, four generations later, still farm in the village. Tucked away along Reads Lane one finds the beginnings of a very modern farming venture — the production of ewes milk cheese and yoghurt. The lane leads out onto the Wing road.
It is just a short distance to the crossroads and it is along here one finds the village hall. Originally the village school, it was built with money provided by a generous local benefactor, Mr Biggs. It closed as a school many years ago but was re-opened during the Second World War to accommodate the many children who were evacuated to the village.

A few yards further on are the 'Evergreen Nurseries' where so many varieties of conifer are grown. This is the site of the village bakehouse which closed about 25 years ago. A certain Mr Stonal made pies locally which were cooked at the bakehouse before being sold out of the area.
At the crossroads, obscured by a high hedge is the village pond. Before water was piped to the village women were known to have used the water from the pond for their washing. In those days, few houses even had sinks and pumps were used for drinking water. An elderly inhabitant believes there are 22 wells in Cublington, most of which are covered by concrete slabs and a potential hazard for the unwary.

Times have changed considerably since the turn of the century. The mothers were kept busy with their large families whilst their menfolk worked locally on the farms. Young women usually went 'into service', often to other villages or Leighton Buzzard and almost all walked to their places of work. The village was pretty self-sufficient with its own bakery, farm produce and a store but should one have needed to visit Leighton Buzzard, a carrier came twice each week to take passengers. There was poverty and hard work but a strong sense of unity and friendship.

One of the highlights of the year in those days was the Annual Feast with much eating and drinking and jollity. There were amusements for all ages and a wonderful day was enjoyed by all. Efforts were made during the last decade or so to hold a Feast again and for a number of years it was very successful but it no longer takes place.

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