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The Story of the Village News.

Most people who read our monthly village news would probably be surprised to learn that it has been produced regularly, in various forms, for well over sixty years!

The original Village News, known then as the Parish Paper, was produced by the vicar, and consisted of a single sheet of paper containing news of births, marriages, deaths, church services and local fund raising events. In 1939 production was suspended due to the war, but was resumed in 1947 on a quarterly basis, at a cost of 6d per copy. The first issue after the war was proud to announce that tenants had moved into the new council houses in Wilstone. The houses had all mod cons, but no pig stys!

Gradually the newsletter began to contain more news of other village events, and local firms were invited to advertise. By the 1980s the Parish Paper had evolved into a small magazine, the Long Marston, Puttenham and Wilstone Parish News, and was available to subscribers for an annual fee of 1.40, or 15p per copy.


In the ‘90s and early 2000s the magazine, by now enlarged to A4 size, had very attractive artwork on the front and back covers but it was in June 2003, after a change of editor, that the Village News became the publication that we know today.

In February 2004, through the financial support of the ‘Horti’ the subscription charge was dropped and the village News was distributed, free of charge, to every household in Long Marston, Wilstone and Puttenham. Under its new editor the magazine expanded, to include lots more local news, as well as recipes, readers letters and general interest articles.

June 2004 saw the first colour edition, and the magazine continues to go from strength to strength, having been voted 32nd out of 620 in the National Parish Magazine Awards of 2011.

Article written by Maggy Winship.

Acknowledgement: Christine Rutter.

The Boys’ Brigade in Long Marston.

 The Boys’ Brigade is a Christian organisation founded in Glasgow in 1883 by William Alexander Smith with the purpose of the “promotion of habits of obedience, reverence, self discipline, self respect and all that tends towards a true Christian manliness.”  The Boys’ Brigade proved a great success and ten years later, the Girls’ Brigade was formed along similar lines. An early admirer of the Boys’ Brigade was Lieutenant General Robert Baden Powell who, in 1907 founded the Boy Scouts.

In 1997 Long Marston residents Chris and Jan Longhurst, with the support of Rev. Martin Nathaniel, decided to set up a local branch of the Brigade. Both Jan and Chris were experienced Brigade officers, having helped to organise a number of groups over the years.

A  Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade were formed and the two groups joined together for the weekly meetings. The group was open to boys and girls aged between 5 and 11, and was held at the Victory Hall, Long Marston, although later moved to the Cecilia Hall, Puttenham. At its height the membership was twenty four children.

The weekly meetings would involve a lively mixture of games and stories, rounding the evening off with prayers. During the summer months camping trips were arranged and an annual open day organised to attract new members. This would include stalls, outdoor activities and a barbeque.

Sadly, the Long Marston Boys’ Brigade came to an end in June 2000 when Jan and Chris moved out of the area.

Article written by Maggy Winship.

Acknowledgements: Chris and Jan Longhurst.

For more information see The Boys’ Brigade Website.

The Long Marston Cricket Club

The Long Marston Cricket Club was formed in 1867, although there is evidence that an eleven from Long Marston played (and beat) Tring Cricket Club two years earlier in 1865.  Perhaps this taste of success prompted the players to go on to form the cricket club.

The cricket club played at various locations around the village including The Brade (field behind Marston Court) and latterly the Long Marston Recreation Ground on a coconut mat over concrete, but in 1961 moved to its existing site.  This move came about when it was heard that the Rev. Anthony was prepared to sell the Marlin’s allotments.

The cricket club had weekly committee meetings and the chairman, Len Dean, instructed Treasurer Chris Proctor to find out from his wife Jenny (who was Father Anthony’s housekeeper) if it was true that the site might be available.  The result was positive, a whip round of club members for the £40 deposit was held and the balance required was accrued by the committee. Trust deeds signed in 1961.

Terry Clay was one of the people who signed the deed and became a trustee.  Apparently this was by accident as, at the time, Terry a young boy working in the yard at Deans was asked to come in to provide an additional signature as legally required.  To this day he remains a trustee.

The club completed its pavilion in 1965 and the building was officially opened in 1966. Several extensions over the years have bought the clubhouse to its current state.

In the late 80’s extra land was purchased from the estate of Little Farm, Long Marston.  The club negotiated the purchase of this land, which enabled increased boundaries to be established, eventually bringing the pitch up to county standard.

The Long Marston Cricket Club has hosted matches in the National Minor Counties Championship every year since 1994, the first of these matches against Suffolk in that year, with international star Derek Randall as their pro. 

2010 saw Long Marston Cricket Club hosting games in the ECB Trophy National 40 Over competition, played by the second elevens of the top county sides, as well as the MCC Unicorns A (combined Minor Counties side containing many top level players).

The Cricket Club continues to thrive and currently boasts three teams playing in the Oxford Cherwell League.  In order that all three teams can play when two are scheduled to be at home, the Cricket Club has come to an arrangement with Mentmore Cricket Club to use their ground in exchange for Long Marston providing pitch maintenance, guidance and support.

A bore hole to the original allotment well was recently sunk.  Fortunately the borehole struck water but unfortunately, much to the players’ disappointment, not beer! 

Article was written by Paul Dumpleton.

For more information, visit the Long Marston Cricket Club website.

The Curry Club.

The Queen’s Head public house has gone through many phases through the years but none was more successful than during the late 1980s/early 1990s under landlord Simon Sturt when the pub won the Curry Pub of The Year Award.

The Curry Club was formed almost by accident. Shortly after becoming landlord in 1988 Simon noticed a group of gents coming into the pub each Thursday and leaving mid way through the evening. When he found that this was because every Thursday they went into Tring for a curry he offered to prepare them a curry at The Queen’s Head the following week. When this was served several other patrons asked if they could order one but Simon had only prepared enough for the original group. However he declared that from the following week Thursday night would be Curry Club night. 

A none too tasteful cartoon logo of Queen Victoria on the porcelain throne showing a tattooed buttock was quickly devised and The Curry Club went from strength to strength. These were not boil in the bag or mass produced curries but were prepared from scratch on the premises. The Curry Club soon became a World Tour as Simon sourced recipes not just from India but from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and the whole Asian region.

Finding a table on a Thursday night became harder and harder as word of the Curry Club spread and so every night through the week was declared curry night and a curry buffet was installed on weekday lunchtimes.

After winning several runner up titles in 1995 The Queen’s Head proudly won the Curry Pub of The Year award.

Sadly for Long Marston the Curry Club outgrew The Queen’s Head with Simon moving to the larger Grand Junction Arms at Bulbourne and later The Hawthorns Hotel in Glastonbury where the Curry Club is alive and well today (2012).

Article was written by Ian Nicholls.

For more information, visit the Hawthorn’s Hotel.

Long Marston Memories – the Railway

Perhaps you have noticed a little cluster of houses a fraction over a mile north of Long Marston cross roads, on the road to Wingrave? Many older residents will know this as Marston Gate, the site of Long Marston’s past connection to the railway network.

The branch line that passed through Marston Gate ran between Aylesbury and Cheddington station linking with the main London and Birmingham railway. The almost dead-straight course is still easily identifiable on an aerial view, running roughly West-South-West from Cheddington station to the north end of Railway Street in Aylesbury, just across the road from B&Q. (more…)

Millhopper’s Pasture – A Community Initiative

A group of eight concerned and interested individuals from Long Marston and Gubblecote determined in November 1997 to acquire the site known locally as ‘Millhoppers’ to preserve its current character in perpetuity. The individuals concerned were prepared to make a significant and irrevocable financial commitment, as a last resort, not only to secure the site but also to fund its ongoing management.    (more…)