Marsworth

The Grand Union Canal runs through Marsworth with an arm of the canal going off to Aylesbury. The village is surrounded by farming country and was part of Lord Rosebery's estate. In the 1800s it had its own hospital but this was demolished in 1894 and the land is now known as Hospital Farm.
An elderly resident remembers trains on a branch of the railway line to Aylesbury, stopping at Marston Gate, just outside the village to pick up milk brought in from the surrounding farms for the Nestles milk factory at Aylesbury.
The canal was very busy at the beginning of this century. Boats carried everything but mostly coal, sand and wheat. In 1916 it was frozen over for six weeks and there was no movement of traffic at all with boats frozen in by the ice.

In the Second World War Marsworth became part of an airfield. The R.A.F. were there at the beginning of the war, flying Wellington bombers. They were followed by 4,000 American airmen who flew Fortresses and Liberators. A leaflet squadron was based there. The camp was a big one with a hospital, dining hall seating over a 1000, and a theatre. The stage from the theatre was later put in the village hall.

There was also an underground command post on the airfield. It was reported to be as big as a good sized bungalow and to be bomb-proof. It was kept well stocked with food and water at all times. Churchill was a regular visitor particularly towards the end of the war. He used to land there on his way to Chequers.

General Patten also visited Marsworth and decorated some of the American airmen during a service held at the camp.

Although Marsworth has grown since those war-time years it is still a very happy and friendly place to live.

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