Steeple Claydon

The steeple on St Michael's church can be seen as one approaches the village. Many believe mistakenly that Steeple Claydon is so called because of this, but the manor of Stepul Claydone is mentioned in the Domesday Book. The steeple and tower were not built until the mid-19th century.
Calvert clay has a lot to do with the growth of this village for its prosperity came after the brickworks were built. Work on these began in 1898 and production of bricks started in 1900. Today over 500 people work there although at one time the London Brick Company (as it was then) employed over 1,000 people and was the
main employer in the district. Although the brickworks are at Calvert, Steeple Claydon became the village which grew around it. The reason being that it was the village with a sewerage system and a piped water supply. The village continues to grow and at the last census taken, had a population of 1,692.

There are five public houses in the village. There is an old jingle about them which goes thus:

'The Black Horse kicked the Crown
and drank the Fountain dry,
The Sportsman shot the Prince of Wales
and made the Phoenix fly'.

The Black Horse has been non-existent for many years, but Bull Lane where it once stood is likely to be remembered, for nearby is a small estate named for obvious reasons Taurus Close.

Many villagers came and settled here after the Second World War when prefabricated bungalows were erected to house the brickworkers, who were given priority on local council housing lists as there was such a demand for bricks to rebuild the bombed towns and cities of Britain, and homes were desperately needed for the ex-servicemen returning home.

At the time, it seemed odd to house brickworkers in aluminium prefabs imported from America, but many were grateful for the accommodation afforded which had every 'mod-con'. These included a hot and cold water system, with bath, and the then ultimate luxury (in the villages anyway) of a fitted kitchen with a refrigerator!

The credit for the growth of the village into the thriving community it now is may be attributed to three local councillors, all now deceased, who had the vision and ambition to improve it. Oddly enough, two of these, Mr Tom Mitchinson and Mr Allan Shaw, originated from the North-East of England. The new school, the third phase of its building still to be completed, was named after county-councillor Shaw. Councillors Tom 'Mitch' as he was affectionately known, and George Beckett worked tirelessly for the village and organized many events to raise money to improve the recreation ground, build a new pavilion and provide a childrens' corner.

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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