A Potted History of Long Marston and Puttenham

When looking for sources to put together the timeline for our new website, we took more from this book than any other. The Long Marston and Puttenham Horticultural Society deserve great credit for putting it together.

The size of this book makes it a contrast to the others we have reviewed but it is no less valuable for its brevity; it is a book that I can truly say that I read from cover to cover in one sitting, very unusual in my experience.

It is of course some time since it was first produced. The Introduction tells us that its production was part of the Millennium commemoration though the version I read shows a publication date of 2012, presumably an update. However this does not detract from its usefulness to the reader as there have not been enough historical landmarks since the Millennium to make a significant difference.

The structure can be hard to follow until you find that the index is rather curiously located at the back. The first seven pages are an excellent summary of the early history, written by Serena Williams, leading up to the 19th Century. The structure then changes and deals with each subject in rather arbitrary sequence, starting with the churches of the two villages and ending with an article on local entertainment. The fact that this is a series of articles by different authors rather than a coherent narrative does not detract from the exceptional amount of information that is communicated in easy to read style.

Of particular interest and value to our research were articles on the Sports Clubs by Joan Dean (Tennis) and Paul Dumpleton (Cricket) and the story of the Long Marston Railway by John Kaye. I also enjoyed gaining some new information, for instance that we once had a Boys Brigade Troop in Long Marston and I learned more about the Go-Kart racing on the Airfield in the 1950/60s (Thanks to Maggie and Martin Winship).

It is perhaps not fair to directly compare this book with the much more comprehensive and professional books on Wilstone History as produced by John Painter and Dick Gomm because, despite its informal style and lack of pictures, the fact remains that, for our research into local history and in particular for our timeline, it remains number one for effectiveness.

The note at the back suggests a £10 price tag which is probably out of date. I know from their display at the most recent Village Show that they have stocks so it might be worth making an offer to the Horti!

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