North Crawley

A country lane, an old thatched cot,
Fields, woods and garden plots:
Those lovely elms and chestnuts grand,
And oaks - the finest in the land.

The church so grand with lovely steeple
That is so grand to many people.
The chapel, too, is rather nice,
Where every Sunday folk rejoice.

You'll find the Grange and Rectory there,
Whose architecture is quite rare —
There built among those lovely trees
In spacious parks so nice and green.

Also the pubs, they number three —
The Chequers, Castle, Cock they be -
Where after each day's work is done,
Man has a drink he thinks he's won.

Town Land, too, is also there,
Where lots of people toil and swear.
But of the crops I know are grown
Are among the finest ever known.

So hasten the day when I will be
Back to that village o'er the sea.
Returning home, my duty done,
To a better England we have won.

This poem was written by a North Crawley soldier serving in Burma in the Second World War.
There is a little difference in the village since those days. The Castle Inn is now a residence and the Congregational Chapel as well, although it is pleasing to see that the sign on the front gable, Congregational Chapel 1821, has been left.
Town Land is also still there as an allotment, but before the war there was a waiting list for plots on this allotment, now only about twelve are worked, the remainder have been taken over by a market gardener.

The old thatched cottages, or rather most of them, are still there, and still look nice and tidy, several of them being re-thatched recently.

Those lovely elms, of course, have gone, victims of the Dutch Elm Disease, but the chestnuts have grown into lovely trees, and in the spring when in flower look really beautiful. Lots of new trees have been planted, but, of course, they will be for a future generation to see and admire.

The church, at one time, apparently, did have a steeple, but it became unsafe so was taken down. It is of course the oldest building in the village, dating back to the 11th century.

The Crawley Grange, sad to say, has been vacated by 'The Squire'. It is still there, but has been divided into four separate residences.

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