Memories of Stoke Poges

The school in School Lane was originally the school for the boys and the girls of Stoke Poges and Wexham. It was a Board School, built in the 1870's, and replaced the old school in Rogers Lane. It was three schools in one, an infants for all up to the age of seven, and for above that age two segregated schools for boys and girls.
Some children went to school when they were only three years old; many left at the age of ten and when they left school the girls usually went into service. There was nothing else for them to do. School was not free. The children each paid one penny a week. Corporal punishment was administered where and when necessary. One little girl was taken into the cloakroom and soundly spanked by teacher because she said she did not want to go to school. That little girl is now eighty-five years old and it is her most vivid recollection of her school days.
Empire Day was always celebrated with songs in. the morning, with the Union Jack flying, and a holiday in the afternoon. May Day meant dancing round the maypole in the playground. Some children carried a maypole to the houses saying 'First of May is Garland Day, Please remember the Maypole' hoping to collect pennies.
On Sundays they went to Sunday School. Before St Andrews Church was built, the Methodists met in a building in Rogers Lane near the present village hall. There are houses there now. The Sunday School outing was usually to Burnham Beeches. The children rode there in farm wagons and sometimes even in coal wagons. Food and drink were supplied.

Every year there was a Christmas party organised by the vicar and curate. It was held in the Parish Hall, formerly the old school in Rogers Lane, and there was the usual Christmas tree and small gifts. Bonfire night was always celebrated with a huge bonfire on the common opposite the Fox and Pheasant.

Village shops supplied most of the everyday requirements—butcher, baker and post office and the general store. There were three postal deliveries a day—and a cottage loaf cost 3Vfcd. Some people fetched their milk direct from a farm. Others had it delivered—the milkmen having churns from which they measured the quantity required with his long-handled measure.

There was no shortage of water in the village. It was drawn from wells or pumps. For those who had no other supply of drinking water, there was a pump opposite the present Junior School in Rogers Lane. One well had frogs in it but some wells were fresh spring water and always pure.

Most of the men in the village worked on the big estates. In winter, when the weather was too severe for outside building work, men collected sheets of ice from the ponds and lakes, using tongs, and stacked the sheets of ice in the ice wells belonging to the big houses, Stoke Court and Stoke Place.

There was a fair amount of poaching of pheasants, partridges and pigeons. The pub would pay fourpence a rabbit. The skins of rabbits were sold to the rag-and-bone man. Those who could catch sparrows, which were a pest, received threepence a dozen and the sparrows were made into pies.

The chimney sweep charged sixpence for an ordinary chimney: he had a boy to climb the large chimneys. There were twenty-one chimneys at Stoke Court.
Some of the old roads which still exist today have new names. Duffield Lane used to be called Back Road, Templewood Lane was Donkey Road, Chapel Lane was Watery Lane, Hockley Lane was Green Lane, Plough Lane was Cock Lane, Farthing Green Lane was Church Road. It is said that Shaggy Calf Road was so named because a headless shaggy calf ran up the road.

To commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria the Jubilee Oak was planted—some say by the Queen herself—at the corner of Church Road where it crosses Park Road. All the school children attended the ceremony and sang songs.

Members of Stoke Poges & Wexham

Extracted from 'A Pattern Hundreds' (1975) and reproduced with the kind permission of the Buckinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes