Welcome to the second edition of the Calverton Records Journal - rather later than anticipated but we hope well worth waiting for!
We have had a busy year with three very successful events starting in April with a pot-luck lunch at The Old Stable Yard, Upper Weald, courtesy of Peter and Sue Brown, where we had a pictorial trip up and down the Wealds presented by Ron Unwin from Wolverton and District Archaeological Society's extensive library of historical slides. Ron has kindly allowed us to add the images he showed to our own photographic archive in exchange for our identifying and providing captions for some of his untitled slides - a good example of increasing co-operation between like-minded organisations. In order to promote good relations, we presented first edition copies of this journal to Bill Griffiths representing Milton Keynes Heritage Association (of which CRP is a member), to Jan Francis representing Stony Stratford Library and to Pat Hooper on behalf of the Calverton Church. The presentations were recorded by a photographer from the Milton Keynes Observer and appeared in that paper the following week.
July saw a very well attended get-together at Causeway House, organised by John and Lucinda Lourie, to discuss the effects of the great Easter flood and other previous watery inundations. There was an exhibition of various photographs showing both recent and earlier flooding of the village together with maps of the flood plain and a display entitled 'Future Floods?'. The response and enthusiasm generated at this event formed the basis of the articles seen in this issue.
The CRP's Second Anniversary celebration was hosted by Jan and Dai Evans at Oakfield House in November. Our guest speaker was Dave Green of Old Stratford who brought along examples from his extensive collection of old glassware which he used to illustrate a fascinating account of the bottle as container of everything from ginger pop to elixirs of at best doubtful benefit and more likely of the kill or cure variety. Dave is a real bottle digging enthusiast and was convinced that had we dug deeper in the village pond our excavations would have yielded much earlier finds than the examples from the 1920s and 30s which we managed to uncover. Local historian Tony Francomb also joined us and brought with him the original woodcut block which was used to print the illustration of an earlier church building on the site of our present All Saints. The illustration appeared in Liscomb's famous 1847 volume 'The History and Antiquities of the County of Buckingham'.
To keep up to date we also need to include the first meeting of 1999 which was held at Stephen Stewart's house Archview (which provides an excellent venue for exhibition displays, slide-shows and refreshments - in this case a pot-luck lunch again). We used this meeting to introduce our Millennium Project by way of a presentation based on the original entry for Calverton in the Domesday Book of 1086. This will be quite a major undertaking for the CRP which should result in the most up-to-date survey of the village.
During the meeting Stephen was able to use his computer equipment to scan photographs, maps and documents which people were kind enough to bring and offer for recording. It is worth repeating the importance of this activity for, once an original document or photo is scanned, it is effectively preserved for posterity. It will never fade, it can be recopied numerous times without any degradation and be printed out on demand to virtually any size. Stephen has scanned and catalogued over 460 photos and maps of the village. These are available in CD-ROM format for those who have a suitable computer to read them. Most of this material is also available on Calverton's own World Wide Web site and can be accessed via www.calverton.org.uk. However for those without access to this hi-tech world, we are in the process of assembling a simple photo album which catalogues all of the pictures so that a copy can be quickly made of any particular image!
The pictorial archive is very much an ongoing project, but some projects do get completed such as Kristine Roberts' beautiful field map tapestry of the Parish which was displayed for the first time at the November meeting.
The first edition of this Journal had the benefit of being able to publish a number of projects which had already been running for some time. We were conscious that we would need to feed in new projects in order to maintain momentum; we believe we have now achieved this with the following projects well underway.
We have purchased microfilm copies of Calverton's Parish registers from the County Records Office. These cover the Church records of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the village from 1559-1836. Our first task will be to scan, enlarge and then transcribe/ decipher the hand-written entries in order to compile a legible listing and database.
The village played an important part in providing radio intercepts to Station X at Bletchley Park. There were radio listening posts located in the Leys (the foundations are still visible and the generator building which supplied the power is still standing). There are several other wartime brick structures within the parish whose purposes we have yet to establish.
The transcription of Ella West's memories is now complete and work continues on the writing-up of two tapes made with George Cowley. We are considering the possibility of compiling these and other oral histories into a booklet entitled something like 'Calverton Remembers'. We could then drawn on extracts from this booklet for future journals.
Calverton has some very fine examples of ridge and furrow preserved under pasture which has not been deep-ploughed since mediaeval times. Using a variety of aerial photographic sources, the positions of all the visible groundforms are being plotted onto a computer map from which it is hoped we will be able to determine much of the agricultural history of the Parish.
If anyone has any information whatsoever which may relate to these projects or if you have an interest and would like to help, do please get in touch with the nominated project co-ordinator or any member of the CRP Committee. The more successful we are in collecting and processing information the more we can share our results all the sooner in the form of articles in future Journals!
Finally we would like to thank everyone who has already donated time, memories, objects and information to the Calverton Records Project. We hope this edition of the Journal will go some way to repay the generosity we have received.