2019 - Wilcot Green

There were a few cottages round the Green at least from the end of the 18th century, but the new stone and slate cottages were added in the early decades of the 19th.

With their coherent style they are what gives the Green its distinctive look.

Was this the time when the characteristic box hedges were added to the side of the roads flanking the Green?

The new cottages also moved the centre of gravity of the village away from the area round the Church and at Stonebridge and East Stowell to where it now is. Presumably this shift in the centre of gravity influenced the decision to build a new school on the Green in 1841.

Until the end of the 19th century, there were village stocks at the south-west end of the Green where felons could be held securely (and wet and cold and humiliated) until they were taken away. By 1906 the stocks were said to have disappeared without trace. Here is what the Reverend Sykes said about them in 1906:

Shown here by kind permission of Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre

There was a village well in that corner too.

In some eras the Green was used to pasture sheep or mown for hay.

Until about 1912 there were elm trees along the southern edge of Back Lane; the new lime trees were planted between the Green itself and the Back Lane cottages by Henry George Pearce around the turn of the century.

After World War I, a War Memorial was erected at the north end. For several decades in the mid-20th century there was a tennis court beside the War Memorial. From 1924 the village hut at the south end of the Green acted as a village hall; it was only demolished after the School was closed and converted into a village hall.

The Home Guard assembled and often practised on the Green in the 1940s. Here you can see the School in the background:

The Green was originally in two parts: the large triangular Green as it now is, and the smaller Bowling Alley, roughly from the village hall down to the corner by the pub.  The large triangle was full of trees, but they were allegedly cut down because they made the village ‘damp’: