- Village Life
It has to be said that it is an unusual one, both in size and layout. For starters, it’s L-shaped and on a slope, the only conventional aspect about it, is that it is the centre of the village. Although, it’s difficult to say just where the centre is nowadays. The triangle of roads leading from the Eleanor Cross seems the obvious centre, and has been the traditional one, but nowadays, with the Post Office and the (only) grocery shop, a teashop, a hairdresser and the Village Hall all close together, perhaps the Queen Street triangle is a more appropriate site to be called the centre. Or perhaps we have two centres – a north one and a south one. Oh dear, let’s not go there!
Back to the village green. It is bounded on the west side by Church Hill and at the top, the east side and the bottom, by the Church wall and right at the bottom – Grafton Road.
Photographs from the late 19th century and early 20th, show that Osmond’s slaughterhouse was situated at the top of the hill with a garden reaching down to Grafton Road, or East Street, as it was known then, enclosed by iron or wood fencing.
Osmond’s butchery, and the land it was on, was owned by Boughton Estates. However, in 1938, the butchery was in the process of being demolished and the land was gifted to the Church in 1939 (images: a. b. & c. below).
There’s a gap in our knowledge here * (see below), because we have to jump forward to 1965 when legislation was enacted, under the Wilson government, and an Act of Parliament, The Commons Registration Act, came into force. The Act concerned the registration of Rights to Common Lands, Town Greens and Village Greens in England and Wales. Three years were allowed for the registration with a deadline of 30 June 1968, after that time it would cease to be recognised as common land.
Either Geddington Parish Council were slow to recognise this new Act, or perhaps were not aware of its importance, until a reminder letter from the Ministry of Housing & Local Government was sent in February 1968 (images: d. & e. below).
However, the Parish Council, through the auspices of the Parish Clerk, William Wolstenholme, soon put that right by sending in the application on 30th May 1968 (images f. – k. below).
Acknowledgment swiftly came on the 6th June, with further paperwork in July (images l. – o.) .
It would appear that Geddington did not get on the Registered List in the first registration period, which had an expiry date of 30 June, so did not get on the poster that accompanied this letter (images p. – u. below).
Trees on the Village Green have come and gone. The Monkey Puzzle tree, Auricaria Auricana, was so named by an observer who when first seeing a tree, commented that monkeys wouldn’t be able to climb such a tree. Seeds of this variety of tree were first brought over from Chile in 1795 and, after being grown on by plant nurseries, were usually planted in the parks of the well-to-do merchants and upper class owners of land. (The plant hunters’ expensive, years-long expeditions had to be sponsored, and often by the plant nurseries themselves.) The specimen in our image below has a well-grown look, although as they can grow to 150ft or more, it’s no wonder that it is no longer with us. Other trees that have appeared on the Green include: a young stripling planted by the W.I in the 1960s, which eventually looked a rather wind-battered tree by the summer of 1973.
I seem to remember that it was an almond, but I could be wrong. However, there then appeared three striplings, seen here in the winter of 1975, and, although one has disappeared, the two remaining are presumably the younger versions of the two current arboreal specimens that received a little light pruning in 2016.
The Village Green has always been a place of fun for children, young and old, especially in winter. Good examples are the Arnold sisters in both seasons during the 1950s,
and a more modern sculpture of an ice seat, an ice table and an ice TV – very enterprising although not very tempting for anyone to remain seated for long!
Cars have been known to use it occasionally as a car park unfortunately, but granite sets have been inserted down the Church Hill edge of the grass, to maintain the edge.
* If you have any knowledge or documents that would fill in this gap, that is between 1939 and 1965, we would be most grateful if we could have a look at it and, perhaps, complete this piece of village history.