THE HS2 HISTORIC IMPACT ASSESSMENT PROJECT
THE BUILDINGS of Stoke Mandeville's medieval village are long gone. Even its church, which stood unused in the fields for almost 100 years, is just a pile of broken stones. So, short of excavating, how can we find what it was like?
There are voices from the past if you know where to listen. Medieval villagers often left clues to where they lived, and how they lived, in the Wills that they made before they died.
That is why some members of the society who wanted to learn more about the deserted medieval village of Stoke Mandeville headed, not out into the fields, but into the archives. There they found 153 Wills and Inventories written by local residents between 1550 and 1850.
Styling themselves the Stoke Mandevillke Probate Group, they have transcribed all the documents, often battling with difficult 16th-century handwriting.
Initial analysis has yielded furlong names in the open fields around the village, the presence of a mill, requests to be buried in the old church or churchyard, the occasional reference to the position of a house, linen and woollen spinning wheels being passed down through families, and the monetary value of beehives.
A full report is being written, so watch this page for the detailed results...
STOKE MANDEVILLE PROBATE GROUP MEMBERS: TONY EGGLETON, MIKE GHIRELLI, HONOR LEWINGTON, MARIAN MILLER, VAL MOIR, NIGEL WILSON.