Starting from Rose Lane, the ground on the left now occupied by two blocks of houses, was in the 1880’s a rough piece of marshy land, part of the Village Green and classed as the official playground of the village children. Mr. Jimmy Stilton used part of it as a garden in the 1880’s and 1890’s.
By this time the school on the right, where the ﬂats now stand, was well established, having been build in 1847, but only a broken down fence enclosed the playground which, according to Harry and Joe, was more mud than turf. It so remained until 1900 when Mr. Greening, then living at Chapel Farm had it tarred over and put up a new fence.
Beyond the waste ground on the left and opposite the Chapel, stood the Malt House, a tiled building about 30ft long with walls of wattle and daub on a brick base with ventilating holes. The late Mrs Loveday told how the Chapel Sunday School teas were held there on hot summer days and how cool the brick floor used to be. The malt house cowl on top of a wooden building beside the malt house was a large bent tube with a wind vane on top and a long arm with a knob protruding from the centre, the whole structure being turned by the wind.
The lane then turned sharply (a slight bend can still be seen) and standing back were two old cottages knocked into one where lived Mr Pug French. Next was a larger building, Couins Farm, owned by Mr White the Butcher, whose sheds and slaughterhouse stood well back round a yard. This farm was centuries old. Owned by the Grange family in the 17th and 18th centuries, it belonged previously to the Grace family. A will of 1548 bequeaths money from Mr Grace to Wilstone’s Old Church. There were thatched barns round the yard and one had a driveway through it for an entrance from the lane.
After Couins Farm, came a rough piece of ground bordered by 4ft high wall over which hung a large elm tree where pigs were kept. In two more old cottage lived Charlie Collings, the ﬁshmonger, who hawked his fried ﬁsh round each evening at halfpenny and penny a portion. (A halfpenny was 1/480 of a pound). His wares were of a high standard and he supplied all the ‘best’ people.
The farm yard ran behind Collings’ house and also behind a newer building, Mr Puttmans bakery, which also sold sweets and sausage meat. The name Puttman appears in the records over 200 years earlier as “Bakers of Wilstone” , and the family only moved away when the Rothschilds developed the land after 1900. A Mr. Puttman(nam)(?) Baker of Wilstone Green, was one of those who witnessed the drowning of Ruth Osborne, the so- called witch, in a pond on Wilstone Green and gave evidence at the inquest at the Half Moon on May 3rd 1751.
This piece was first published in the Parish Magazine of January /February 1985. It was written by the late Dick Gomm of Wilstone. The piece was also published in Puttenham, Long Marston and Wilstone News, the forerunner the current Village News in September 2003 and compiled by Christine Rutter.