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Stratton St Margaret sprang up on Roman road
9:47am Monday 13th April 2009 in Aerial Memories
This 1950s aerial view shows new building under way at Stratton St Margaret.
It was once a village two and a half miles to the north of Swindon.
Green fields mark the spot where Grange Junior School now stands as work begins on Birchwood Road and Tudor Crescent (1). With a name derived from the Latin “strata” meaning road, Stratton St Margaret straddles the Roman road from Gloucester to Silchester. Perhaps not as famous as the 200-mile long Ermin Street from London to York, Stratton’s own Ermin Street has also been known as Station Road and simply, The Street.
The parish once numbered three hamlets at The Street, Upper Stratton and Stratton Green. In the 19th century two new hamlets developed, one around the pottery at Stratton Park Cross Roads and another at the Kingsdown brewery.
Stratton St Margaret has 14-listed properties, including the grade II-listed Church Farmhouse which dates back to the mid 17th century and the Wheatsheaf, in Ermin Street.
It was bought by local brewer Arkell’s in 1869, and the 18th century property has been a pub from 1834 when Richard White was landlord.
Parts of the parish church of St Margaret (2) date from the 12th century and two stones found during restoration work undertaken in 1840 are believed to be evidence of an Anglo Saxon wattle and thatched church on this site. During the 17th century English Civil War, Parliamentarian troops camped at Penhill reportedly stabled their horses in the church.
In 1932 St Margaret’s church bells were recast and a new treble was paid for by Stratton schoolchildren. Sir William Hedges, a wealthy Stratton St Margaret landowner and first English Governor of the East India Company in Bengal, bequeathed the interest on a sum of £200 “for the sustenance of vicar’s widows.”
He is buried in the churchyard with his first wife Susanna Vanacker, who died during childbirth in 1683.
Susanna was the daughter of Nicholas Vanacker, a merchant and lord of the manor of Erith, in Kent, who has the distinction of having written the oldest cheque in the Bank of England Museum, made payable to a Mr Delboe in 1659.
Today, the Stratton St Margaret conservation area, one of nine such urban areas within Swindon borough, encloses the heart of the historic village and includes parts of Ermin Street, Church Street and Swindon Road.
1. Green fields mark the spot where Grange Junior School now stands as work begins on Birchwood Road and Tudor Crescent
2. Parts of the parish church of St Margaret date from the 12th century and two stones found during restoration undertaken in 1840 are believed to be evidence of an Anglo Saxon wattle and thatched church on this site.
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