Longwick & Ilmer

On the borders of Bucks and Oxon, the village is as its name says a long village. It is seldom mentioned in guide books but is always on maps, having grown up over the centuries from a drovers road. Although primarily a farming area, new housing was built in the 1970s and there are new roads stating their ancestry: Sawmill Road, Wheelwright's Road and Barn Close.
One of the several listed buildings is Longwick Mill which whilst dating back to the 17th century is still run as a family business. Although this is now thoroughly mechanised the traditional buildings and old millstones are still to be seen.
The 1st of May is special in the minds of the children as they prepare garlands and sceptres of flowers for the parade in the playing field. Alison Uttley dedicated her book Grey Rabbit's May Day to the children of Longwick School. The custom is known to have been practised in 1850 when the children used to go from door to door chanting

'Good morning ladies and gentlemen
We wish you a happy May,
We come to show you our garlands
Because it is May Day
We only come here but once a year
So please remember our garlands'

The hamlet of Ilmer which completes the parish of Longwick-cum-Ilmer is home for about 70 people. Mentioned in the Domesday Book it is a very pretty place with village pond and it was at one time a town until like other places in the area its population was wiped out by the Black Death in 1349. It is now very much a leafy glade area and there are two horticultural businesses selling plants and Christmas Trees. The oldest farm house has a moat, not round the house, but round an island so that cattle kept there could be surrounded with water.

Owlswick is a friendly hamlet of 15 houses. The oldest dates from 1530. The Vale of Aylesbury Hunt meets at the Shoulder of Mutton each Christmas and there is an annual Easter Bonnet competition held there on Easter Sunday.

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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