Select Page

Article for the Village News – February 2013.

A very Happy New Year to all our readers from The Long Marston & Puttenham Horticultural Society. Here’s hoping all made it through the festive period and are now looking forward to a successful 2013 and the impending delight that is our annual village Pantomime!

This year we are staging ‘Sinbad the Sailor’ over the February half-term holiday and it is looking like another knockout production from the amazing Neil Gurney. With all the fun of a traditional pantomime, including great song and dance numbers, side-splitting slapstick and of course the obligatory sweets, this must be an essential part of any local’s diary this month. We start on Thursday 21st then Friday 22nd, both at 8pm, followed by 2 performances on Saturday 23rd, at 2pm and 7.30pm. Tickets are available now at the Queens Head in Long Marston and both the Community Shop and Meads Farm Shop in Wilstone. Prices have been held at £6 Adults, £4 Senior Citizens & £3 for Children. For details, Please call 07855 369515.

A major production like this however requires a lot of help putting it all together. We have a hardy band of willing volunteers who help in all aspects from Costumes to Scenery, but we would still welcome anyone who would like to join us. We will be at Wilstone Village Hall for the next two Sundays (3rd & 10th Feb) and then move to Long Marston the following weekend for a week of rehearsals before the opening night on the Thursday. We need people to help with such things as make-up, scenery shifting, or even selling raffle tickets and programmes. If you can help IN ANY WAY, please contact Vicky Hayes on 01296 661586 or Toby Davidson on 07970 636168.

The Horti also have a number of other events planned during the year, including the annual village show and a midsummer picnic on the recreation ground. More details to follow next month.

Article by Toby Davidson.

LMPHS – List of Stage Productions.

Please see below for a list of stage productions by the Long Marston & Puttenham Horticultural Society.

Dick Whittington
So Doff Your Hat (adult review)
Peter Pan (cast of children only)
Sleeping Beauty
“Review a la Pantomonium”
Humpty Dumpty
Christmas Entertainment
Jack & the Beanstalk
Robin Hood & the Babes in the Wood
Mother Goose
Christmas Entertainment
Dick Whittington
Beauty & the Beast
Sleeping Beauty
Jack & the Beanstalk
Robin Hood & the Babes in the Wood
Mother Goose
Beauty & the Beast
Dick Whittington
Humpty Dumpty

Article for the Village News – December 2012.

After the Fabulous Fireworks display (Thanks David!) at the start of the month, one’s mind turns to the Christmas season and the Horti’s annual ‘Carols round the tree’ evening on Tuesday 18th December. Once again we will have a live band playing the carols and a visit from Santa with presents for the children as well as free mulled wine and mince pies to help you join in the singing! I would however like to encourage anybody from the villages who plays an instrument, preferably brass, to join in with the band. If you are interested, you must call Toby Davidson on 07970 636168 at least a week before the event.

With no village magazine in January, the Horti are once again looking for volunteers to help us put on our annual pantomime. Our production for 2013 will be ‘Sinbad the Sailor’ and will be performed during the February half term holiday (21st–23rd). However, this is a huge undertaking for a dedicated body of people who need your help.  As is the case in all walks of life, our core of helpers is getting no younger and we are seeking some fresh blood to help us continue putting on all our village activities during the year. Although grateful for people who can commit more of their time, volunteering to help us need not be the commitment you may think. For example, maybe you could help by making one set of uniforms for the chorus – or come over to Wilstone for one Sunday in January to help paint the scenery and props. There is also ample opportunity to display your acting skills by becoming an actor.

I am not asking for you to make yourself available over a long period, just offer us a few hours of your time to help during the post-Christmas period. If you can offer us any help, please contact either Vicky Hayes on 01296 661586 or Toby Davidson on 07970 636168 or preferably come to our pre-panto meeting at Long Marston Victory Hall on Sunday 2nd December at 5pm.

Article for the Village News – November 2012.

The month of November is upon us and that gives us the last major public landmarks before Christmas! I for one have already got my poppy in support of those who died in the two world wars and beyond – something that should be marked with dignity. However, the main focus of our group will be the Village Hall’s annual fireworks display on the 3rd. We are blessed in the village with a complete pyromaniac whose displays over the years have been nothing short of brilliant every time and then combine that with a large bonfire and a full concessions stall offering burgers, sweets and the obligatory mulled wine. This year we are once again setting up on Old Tom’s field on the edge of Long Marston (heading towards Wingrave) and hope for a dry evening and a good turnout from the local area. Please however remember that there is no parking on the field (bar yellow badge holders)

We have also heard from our esteemed pantomime creator, Neil Gurney, who has agreed to doing it again next year! Neil has been very busy recently and is currently directing a production of ‘Half a sixpence’ at the Pendley Theatre in Tring from 20-24th November which I am very much looking forward to seeing. With 2 flower arranging shows in Aylesbury on top, we are very grateful for his time and expertise. The pre-panto meeting has been set up for Sunday 2nd of December in Long Marston village hall where auditions for next year’s chorus will take place at 3:30pm. Being involved in panto is hard work but most rewarding. I would encourage any child with an interest in singing and dancing to give it a try and anyone who is interested in helping us come at 5:00 to meet the team.

Article for the Village News – September 2012.

What a superb summer of sport we have had this year! The Olympics were superb and I thoroughly enjoyed my day out at the Olympic Park. By all accounts, everyone also enjoyed their day out at this year’s village show with all the stalls doing well and the children’s games in full swing once again.

The Horti now has a well-earned break between events after spending a lot of hours putting the show together, but we continue to focus on our future activities. In support of the Victory Hall committee, our next major joint event is the annual fireworks display. This year, we will once again be at Old Tom’s Field on the edge of the village on Saturday 3rd September. The Bonfire will be lit at 6.30 and the fireworks start at 7.00. Tickets remain at £6 adults and £2 children, but they can be bought at a discount (£5 / £1.50) from the Queens Head or direct from David Severs on 01296 661021.

The Hall itself will be hosting a special Halloween disco on Saturday 27th October at 8pm. This is a ‘bring your own booze’ event with a door charge of £5 and promises to be a good night out.

My personal favourite event each year is the annual ‘Carols round the Tree’ this year being staged on Tuesday 18th December. We are so fortunate to have the services of a small band that makes the evening so more enjoyable whilst trying to raise a lot of money for Help for Heroes and really brings home the spirit of Christmas. The free mince pies and mulled wine help as well!

November will also see the auditions being staged for next year’s pantomime, so let’s hope we get a good turnout, but more details will be available next month.

The Long Marston Village Show is upon us!

The theme of this year’s show is ‘A Summer of Sport’ which will be reflected in the hall and on the show field.  You will soon have the show schedule posted through your door, detailing a large variety of differing classes that anyone can enter in the Village Hall. A lot of them are horticulturally-based as you would expect, like five onions, six radishes or maybe the obligatory odd-shaped vegetable!  For budding florists, why not enter the single rose category or maybe ,rather than outdoor flowers, you’ve grown a cactus in a pot! However, my recommendation would be to try one of the slightly more quirky classes at the end of your show schedule. I’m sure each household has a keen amateur chef and the show gives you the opportunity to show off your skills. How about having a go at baking this year’s cake, a Victoria Sponge, or maybe a Quiche! There are classes for jams, cakes, and home-made wine. Finally, we move onto the arts and crafts section, full of classes catering for all styles and ability. We cover such items as knitting, photography, and painting. We even have a complete section for children at the end which is free to enter! With such a wide choice, why not pick one and have a go.

On the field, things continue a-pace. We have all the usual stands, like the book stall, coconut shy and skittles. As always the tent will house the bar and afternoon teas and we are also putting the Pimms stall inside with the ice creams. The pony rides are back as well as the ever popular plant stall. However, the stage area could well steal the show this year as not only will we have a live band, but the show will be opened by The Bugles & Drums of the Stedfast Association who will be marching up from the Queens Head and we also have a Jazzersize Exhibition with audience participation! So why not come down and have a go!

On a much more serious note, these events cannot take place without the generous help of those people who give up their time to run stalls and help with stewarding etc to make your day as enjoyable as possible. It’s a mammoth task but one which the horti members thoroughly enjoy (allegedly). We do need to spread the load, though (our members seem to get older every year!) so if you have a little time available on the day and are willing to get involved as a helper – even if it’s only for an hour or so, we’d love to have your support, helping to set up in the morning, or clear up at the end of the day. For example, at the end of the show we auction off all of the items left in the hall. Whilst this is going on you may have noticed the 2/3 men who are trying to clear up the field after the day’s activities. They could really do with your help for an hour and the more people the merrier!  Whether you are participating, watching or helping, please join in and help perpetuate this timeless village event. We look forward to seeing you there.

The Story of the Village News.

Most people who read our monthly village news would probably be surprised to learn that it has been produced regularly, in various forms, for well over sixty years!

The original Village News, known then as the Parish Paper, was produced by the vicar, and consisted of a single sheet of paper containing news of births, marriages, deaths, church services and local fund raising events. In 1939 production was suspended due to the war, but was resumed in 1947 on a quarterly basis, at a cost of 6d per copy. The first issue after the war was proud to announce that tenants had moved into the new council houses in Wilstone. The houses had all mod cons, but no pig stys!

Gradually the newsletter began to contain more news of other village events, and local firms were invited to advertise. By the 1980s the Parish Paper had evolved into a small magazine, the Long Marston, Puttenham and Wilstone Parish News, and was available to subscribers for an annual fee of 1.40, or 15p per copy.


In the ‘90s and early 2000s the magazine, by now enlarged to A4 size, had very attractive artwork on the front and back covers but it was in June 2003, after a change of editor, that the Village News became the publication that we know today.

In February 2004, through the financial support of the ‘Horti’ the subscription charge was dropped and the village News was distributed, free of charge, to every household in Long Marston, Wilstone and Puttenham. Under its new editor the magazine expanded, to include lots more local news, as well as recipes, readers letters and general interest articles.

June 2004 saw the first colour edition, and the magazine continues to go from strength to strength, having been voted 32nd out of 620 in the National Parish Magazine Awards of 2011.

Article written by Maggy Winship.

Acknowledgement: Christine Rutter.

The Boys’ Brigade in Long Marston.

 The Boys’ Brigade is a Christian organisation founded in Glasgow in 1883 by William Alexander Smith with the purpose of the “promotion of habits of obedience, reverence, self discipline, self respect and all that tends towards a true Christian manliness.”  The Boys’ Brigade proved a great success and ten years later, the Girls’ Brigade was formed along similar lines. An early admirer of the Boys’ Brigade was Lieutenant General Robert Baden Powell who, in 1907 founded the Boy Scouts.

In 1997 Long Marston residents Chris and Jan Longhurst, with the support of Rev. Martin Nathaniel, decided to set up a local branch of the Brigade. Both Jan and Chris were experienced Brigade officers, having helped to organise a number of groups over the years.

A  Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade were formed and the two groups joined together for the weekly meetings. The group was open to boys and girls aged between 5 and 11, and was held at the Victory Hall, Long Marston, although later moved to the Cecilia Hall, Puttenham. At its height the membership was twenty four children.

The weekly meetings would involve a lively mixture of games and stories, rounding the evening off with prayers. During the summer months camping trips were arranged and an annual open day organised to attract new members. This would include stalls, outdoor activities and a barbeque.

Sadly, the Long Marston Boys’ Brigade came to an end in June 2000 when Jan and Chris moved out of the area.

Article written by Maggy Winship.

Acknowledgements: Chris and Jan Longhurst.

For more information see The Boys’ Brigade Website.

The Long Marston Cricket Club

The Long Marston Cricket Club was formed in 1867, although there is evidence that an eleven from Long Marston played (and beat) Tring Cricket Club two years earlier in 1865.  Perhaps this taste of success prompted the players to go on to form the cricket club.

The cricket club played at various locations around the village including The Brade (field behind Marston Court) and latterly the Long Marston Recreation Ground on a coconut mat over concrete, but in 1961 moved to its existing site.  This move came about when it was heard that the Rev. Anthony was prepared to sell the Marlin’s allotments.

The cricket club had weekly committee meetings and the chairman, Len Dean, instructed Treasurer Chris Proctor to find out from his wife Jenny (who was Father Anthony’s housekeeper) if it was true that the site might be available.  The result was positive, a whip round of club members for the £40 deposit was held and the balance required was accrued by the committee. Trust deeds signed in 1961.

Terry Clay was one of the people who signed the deed and became a trustee.  Apparently this was by accident as, at the time, Terry a young boy working in the yard at Deans was asked to come in to provide an additional signature as legally required.  To this day he remains a trustee.

The club completed its pavilion in 1965 and the building was officially opened in 1966. Several extensions over the years have bought the clubhouse to its current state.

In the late 80’s extra land was purchased from the estate of Little Farm, Long Marston.  The club negotiated the purchase of this land, which enabled increased boundaries to be established, eventually bringing the pitch up to county standard.

The Long Marston Cricket Club has hosted matches in the National Minor Counties Championship every year since 1994, the first of these matches against Suffolk in that year, with international star Derek Randall as their pro. 

2010 saw Long Marston Cricket Club hosting games in the ECB Trophy National 40 Over competition, played by the second elevens of the top county sides, as well as the MCC Unicorns A (combined Minor Counties side containing many top level players).

The Cricket Club continues to thrive and currently boasts three teams playing in the Oxford Cherwell League.  In order that all three teams can play when two are scheduled to be at home, the Cricket Club has come to an arrangement with Mentmore Cricket Club to use their ground in exchange for Long Marston providing pitch maintenance, guidance and support.

A bore hole to the original allotment well was recently sunk.  Fortunately the borehole struck water but unfortunately, much to the players’ disappointment, not beer! 

Article was written by Paul Dumpleton.

For more information, visit the Long Marston Cricket Club website.

The Curry Club.

The Queen’s Head public house has gone through many phases through the years but none was more successful than during the late 1980s/early 1990s under landlord Simon Sturt when the pub won the Curry Pub of The Year Award.

The Curry Club was formed almost by accident. Shortly after becoming landlord in 1988 Simon noticed a group of gents coming into the pub each Thursday and leaving mid way through the evening. When he found that this was because every Thursday they went into Tring for a curry he offered to prepare them a curry at The Queen’s Head the following week. When this was served several other patrons asked if they could order one but Simon had only prepared enough for the original group. However he declared that from the following week Thursday night would be Curry Club night. 

A none too tasteful cartoon logo of Queen Victoria on the porcelain throne showing a tattooed buttock was quickly devised and The Curry Club went from strength to strength. These were not boil in the bag or mass produced curries but were prepared from scratch on the premises. The Curry Club soon became a World Tour as Simon sourced recipes not just from India but from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and the whole Asian region.

Finding a table on a Thursday night became harder and harder as word of the Curry Club spread and so every night through the week was declared curry night and a curry buffet was installed on weekday lunchtimes.

After winning several runner up titles in 1995 The Queen’s Head proudly won the Curry Pub of The Year award.

Sadly for Long Marston the Curry Club outgrew The Queen’s Head with Simon moving to the larger Grand Junction Arms at Bulbourne and later The Hawthorns Hotel in Glastonbury where the Curry Club is alive and well today (2012).

Article was written by Ian Nicholls.

For more information, visit the Hawthorn’s Hotel.

Tennis Club Memoire.

Towards the end of the fifties the village was slowly returning to normal after the Second World War.  The village school had been rebuilt after the direct hit from an enemy bomb, and in order to raise money to encourage sport in the village the Long Marston Sports Association was formed.  This enabled us to apply for any grants that were on offer. Money had been raised for a new village hall; football and cricket were in full swing, albeit both sports on the recreation ground with the help of a concrete wicket!  So thoughts were starting to turn to tennis.

Duncan Mead, the pioneer of the current farm shop with a stall outside his house, very generously allowed the youth of the village to play on his court at Highover, Gubblecote one evening a week, in the same way that Major Stoddart allowed the Cheddington youth to play on his court at the manor.

But naturally our aspirations were higher than this so with the support of the Sports Association an open meeting was called in the new village hall for anyone who was interested.  A good turnout ensued and a small committee was formed with Bill Milsom: Chairman, Michael Tomlinson: Treasurer and yours truly as secretary.  The year was 1960, I remember it well as I was heavily pregnant with my third offspring so there was not going to be much action from me!  We kicked (or rather served) off with a handful of members at a subscription of £1 pa.  The first subscription came in from Miss Calder the village Headmistress as a sign of support, I don’t think she ever played.

Fund raising began, aided by small grants from Dacorum Council and the LTA.  The one from Dacorum came with the proviso that the courts should be open to all on payment of a fee, and this pertains to this day.  Visitors to the village and inhabitants are all welcome to use the courts.

So the court was built on the recreation ground, just the one, not enough money or room for two, and no clubhouse.   And the Long Marston Tennis Club was born, and very quickly Badminton was added and played on Thursday evenings in the winter as an alternative to tennis

Soon friendly tennis matches with other local clubs were arranged and we all got very competitive, but our Chairman was a bit appalled by the apparel some of us turned up in and insisted that whites should be worn for matches!!  However, this was not always welcomed by all players especially on one memorable occasion when we all turned out in our whites, a bit like an advertisement for Daz!!  to find only 3 players from the opposition at the venue, which was a grass court in the garden of a local farmer.  Once we had knocked up and being assured that their fourth player would appear, a young man strolled out of the nearest cow shed, jeans and bobble hat in place, this will be easy we thought until he proceed to stroll round the court hitting balls we had never seen the like of before, I don’t think anyone got a game off him.  It was quite difficult after that to insist on the white rule!!  And look at the top players today, anything but white, the exception being Wimbledon of course

Of course, as today, players do like to make up their own double or single games and there was one memorable mens four who played on a Sunday morning at 10am.  Organised by Archie Bracher who extracted 10p a minute from each player who was late on court.

We all took our tennis extremely seriously so seriously in fact that I well remember one couple who reached the semi final of the ladies singles only to toss a coin to see who should go through to play the clubs leading singles player in the final!!!  No one would get away with that today.

The next milestone was the move to Emma’s orchard in Cheddington Lane where we play to this day.  We leased the Orchard from a Mrs. Harrington for £20 a year for 28 years this expired in 2005 and was renewed for a further 20 years at £200 pa which is now paid to her daughter.  Mrs. Harrington didn’t live in the village, but had a great attachment to Long Marston through her family.

Fund raising began in earnest in 1977 and great initiative was shown including bowling for a pig at the Tring Donkey Derby, although I gather the pig changed into a lamb when it was discovered that a licence had to be obtained to move a pig!!  (the winner could have it alive or ready for the freezer)! Grants were also obtained again as follows:

Dacorum Council – £2,680.00

Herts Playing Fields Association – £200. 

Loans were also obtained from:

Herts Playing Fields Association – £500

National Playing Fields Association – £600

Dacorum Council – £600

The members also provided loans of £975 (the majority of which were never called in).

So after three long years of fund raising the courts were eventually laid down in 1980.  The first clubhouse was a caravan and the second a wooden shed which was burnt down, these were used whilst planning permission for the current clubhouse was applied for, this was erected in 1983 and is the envy of every club in the league who plays here, spotlessly kept by the current members.

So the Tennis club thrived and prospered to where we are today with 60 adult members and 33 children. The adult subscription is now £65pa.  We put out four teams in the winter and six in the summer in the Aylesbury and District League (we are founder members of this).  For a village side this is no mean feat, playing clubs three times our size: Berkhamsted, Great Missenden, Halton and Aylesbury to name but a few. 

The big challenge at the moment is getting permission from Dacorum for floodlighting the courts.  We are the only club in the league without floodlighting and it is desperately needed to in order to bring the facilities up to standard and to remain competitive with all the other local clubs.  This has been ongoing since 2000, unlike in neighbouring counties, the planners have not been sympathetic.

This memoire sadly does not have room to record the generations of Chairmen, secretaries, Treasurers and committee members who have contributed so much over 60 years, there would just be too many to mention.  Suffice it to say that our current Chairman, Jane Dean: Secretary, Margaret Kelland: Treasurer, Andrew Screech and all the committee members are acutely conscious of the huge debt we owe to our forerunners who have made the Long Marston Tennis club the success that it is today.

Article was written by Joan Dean.

For further information see the Long Marston Tennis Club website.

Neil Gurney’s Flower Arranging Evening


[singlepic id=374 w=760 h=600 float=center]

Tickets from: the Queen’s Head, Long Marston; Wilstone Village Stores Or Mead Farm Shop, Wilstone.

Tickets and enquiries:

Toby Davidson – 01296 660754/07970 636168 or email:

Long Marston Memories – the Railway

Perhaps you have noticed a little cluster of houses a fraction over a mile north of Long Marston cross roads, on the road to Wingrave? Many older residents will know this as Marston Gate, the site of Long Marston’s past connection to the railway network.

The branch line that passed through Marston Gate ran between Aylesbury and Cheddington station linking with the main London and Birmingham railway. The almost dead-straight course is still easily identifiable on an aerial view, running roughly West-South-West from Cheddington station to the north end of Railway Street in Aylesbury, just across the road from B&Q. (more…)

Millhopper’s Pasture – A Community Initiative

A group of eight concerned and interested individuals from Long Marston and Gubblecote determined in November 1997 to acquire the site known locally as ‘Millhoppers’ to preserve its current character in perpetuity. The individuals concerned were prepared to make a significant and irrevocable financial commitment, as a last resort, not only to secure the site but also to fund its ongoing management.    (more…)

Three Counties Kart Club

[singlepic id=369 w=500 h=330 float=center]

April 3rd 1961. Yuri Gagarin was selected by the Soviet space agency to make the first manned space flight, comedian Eddie Murphy was born and I Berg leads a closely contested race at a rain sodden Easter Monday kart meeting at the Long Marston track.

The Keelekart Company was founded by racing driver Michael Keele in the 1950s in Tring, (more…)

Recording on Millhoppers.

When we first acquired the reserve, our main aim was to conserve the wild life that we already knew was there, with a particular emphasis on butterflies. But managing for butterflies also benefits so much other wildlife, so recording birds, plants, trees, dragonflies and any other aspects of wildlife; (more…)