We have already featured the role of Father Anthony – the much admired (and feared) late vicar of our parishes – when he agreed to sell, amid much opposition, some allotment land to the cricket club, allowing them to create the beautiful Marlins ground in the early 1960s.
But this was not the Reverend’s first involvement with Long Marston’s recreational facilities. Up until 1936, our current recreation ground was owned by the Rothschild family and loaned, free of charge, to the village for sport and play. Part of the deal was that the Council paid for maintenance and allowed local farmers to keep the grass short by grazing their animals overnight!
In 1936 the Rothschilds offered to sell the land to the council for £30. OK, £30 was worth a lot more then (around £600 in today’s money) but this still seemed a generous deal. However, the Parish Council, in their lack of wisdom, declined the offer.
The Rothschild’s solicitor also worked for the Church and told the Reverend about this surprising rejection. Father Anthony was furious at the short term attitude of the Council and immediately clinched the deal by paying a deposit from his own money. He then called a meeting which led to the full amount being raised from village residents.
Source; A Potted History of Long Marston and Puttenham, produced by the Horti.