PRE MILTON KEYNES RUN SERIES – THURSDAY 1ST JUNE
Although the history of Milton Keynes is very recent, the area is rich in history
Long before England existed, this area was at the bottom of a primeval sea…..a fossil of an ichthyosaur was even unearthed in Caldecotte and is now on display in the central library
Human settlement began in this area around 2000 BCE, mainly in the valleys of the rivers Ouse and Ouzel and their tributaries (Bradwell Brook, Shenley Brook).
Evidence for the earliest habitation was found at Blue Bridge – production of flint tools from the Middle Stone Age. In the same area, an unusually large (18-metre or 59-foot diameter) round house was excavated and dated to the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age, about 700 BCE
Before the Roman conquest of Britain of 43 CE, the Catuvellauni (a British Iron Age tribe) controlled this area from their hill fort at Danesborough, near Woburn Sands
Under Roman occupation, the area thrived. The obvious reason for this is the major Roman road, Iter II (later known as Watling Street), that runs through the area and that gave rise to an associated Roman town at Magiovinium (Fenny Stratford).
The foundations of a large Romano-British villa were excavated at Bancroft Park, complete with under-floor heating and mosaic floor.
The Domesday Book of 1086 provides the first documentary evidence for many settlements, listing Bertone (Broughton), Calvretone (Calverton), Linforde (Great Linford), Lochintone (Loughton, Milton Keynes), Neuport (Newport Pagnell), Nevtone (Newton Longville), Senelai (Shenley), Siwinestone (Simpson), Ulchetone (Woughton), Waletone (Walton), Wluerintone (Wolverton) and Wlsiestone (Woolstone).
Only one medieval manor house survives: the 15th century Manor Farmhouse in Loughton. There are sites of other manor houses in Great Woolstone, Milton Keynes village and Woughton on the Green. The oldest surviving domestic building is Number 22, Milton Keynes (village), the house of the bailiff of the manor of Bradwell
Newport Pagnell, established early in the 10th century, was the principal market town for the area. While Stony Stratford and Fenny Stratford were founded as market towns on Watling Street in the late 12th or early 13th centuries.
The Grand Junction Canal came through the area between 1793 and 1800, with canal-side wharfs in Fenny Stratford, Great Linford, Bradwell and Wolverton.
The London and Birmingham Railway brought even more profound changes to the area.
Wolverton was the half way point on the rail route, where engines were changed and passengers alighted for refreshments. Wolverton railway works was established here, creating work for thousands of people in the surrounding area.
Bletchley, on the 1846 junction of the London and Birmingham railway with the Bedford branch, was to become an important railway town too but almost forty years after the construction of Bletchley railway station, the 1884/5 Ordnance Survey shows Bletchley as still just a small village
As the nation emerged from World War II, Bletchley Council renewed its desire to expand from its 1951 population of 10,919 and by mid-1952, the Council was able to agree terms with five London Boroughs to accept people and businesses from bombed-out sites in London.
This trend continued through the 1950s and 1960s, culminating in the GLC-funded Lakes Estate in Water Eaton parish. With compulsory purchase, Bletchley Road (now renamed Queensway after a royal visit in 1966) became the new high street with wide pavements where front gardens once lay.
Bletchley had fought to be the centre of the proposed new city, but it was not to be. The 1971 Plan for Milton Keynes placed Central Milton Keynes on a completely new hill-top site four miles further north, half way to Wolverton. Bletchley was relegated to the status of suburb.
Pre Milton Keynes Run Report
94 Runners came out for the first in our run series – the ‘Pre Milton Keynes’ based run from Bletchley Park led by Marshal Milton Keynes Athletic
It was great to see runners from a lot of our local running clubs out in force on the 4 mile route from the amazing Bletchley Park
The route took us past the 15th century Rickley Cottages and into Rickley Park which was originally a post WWII RAF camp
After a brief stop at the Italian mausoleum to hear about the Italian workers who came to the brickwork’s in the 1950’s and traditions (Well done Martin P!) it was on to the Blue Lagoon area which housed the brickworks between 1923 and 1970. At its peak the site was making…wait for it… a BILLION bricks a year until finally closing in 1990
The runners then returned to Bletchley Park via Bletchley station where the last steam engine passenger service ceased in 1966.
Many thanks again to Brian, Jim and the other MMKAC run leads and of course to Jenny from the Bletchley Park Trust who arranged access to the site for us