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Friday 25th May 2002, 12:30 BST
Village secrets revealed
Picture of Oak Tree
The mighty oak: historic symbol for Wishford

As people in the village of Great Wishford prepare for the Oak Apple day celebrations, a new book aims to reveal the history of this south Wiltshire community.

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Pictures of St Giles' Church, Great Wishford

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Great Wishford, known for its celebration of Oak Apple Day

Tim Galloway Jones' new book, Great Wishford, The Making of an English Village reveals more about Great Wishford's history.

It's 36 pages with photographs and maps.

Available from Waterlane Books, Fisherton Street, Salisbury, as well as The Royal Oak, Great Wishford and the village's Post Office and Stores.

Priced £5.99.

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Tim Garraway Jones' thirty-six page book brings to life in words, pictures and maps, the story of Great Wishford, including some of it secrets.

The project started life in Great Wishford's local hostelry, The Royal Oak.

Tim says; "I was enjoying a pint with my son and noticed on the walls a collection of old photos and pictures of the village."

This was enough to spur Tim into action and before long he was gathering all he could find about Great Wishford's past.

Grovely, Grovely, Grovely and all Grovely

Great Wishford PO and stores
Great Wishford Post Office and Stores

Most people associate the village with Oak Apple Day on May 29th, when villagers get up in the early hours to collect oak boughs from nearby woods.

The occasion marks an ancient decree that allows residents to collect wood from Grovely Woods; the day includes a trip to Salisbury, dancing in the Cathedral Close, and brass band music back in the village.

But Oak Apple Day is only a part of the whole Great Wishford story.

Hunting knights

As Tim's book reveals, the village has a long and ancient history.

He talks of knights passing through on their way to hunt in nearby forests and reveals the old hamlet of Grovely, complete with its own chapel.

A thousand years ago, Great Wishford was in the hands of the Abbess of Wilton.

According to the Doomsday Book, the village then was no more than a hamlet called Wicheford.

Tim's history of the village looks at how that ancient settlement eventually grew into a thriving community.

Photographs and maps

Photographs in the book show Great Wishford's Post Office and former bakery, the old village school and Sir Richard Grobham's Almshouses.

1901 Ordnance Survey map
Where is the Powten Stone? Ordnance Survey map from 1901.

Old maps of the area reveal even more about Great Wishford's past - including the location of the infamous Powten Stone, with its supernatural connections.

But what happened to the stone itself?

Some villagers says they have distant recollections of its location but its never been found.

Tim Garraway Jones says he tried to do as much local research as possible.

"Most of my work was done using books and maps from Salisbury Reference Library."

However, Tim spent a lot of his research time in the village, meeting local people and hearing their stories.

"I spent a very pleasant morning rambling around the village talking to residents.

"Some of the work was done up on the downs, looking at earthworks and the woods at Grovely."

Great Wishford, The Making of a Wiltshire Village is part of Tim Garraway Jones' Buildings in the Landscape series.

He recently published a similar booklet on the lost village of Imber up on Salisbury Plain.

This latest addition to the series is available from Waterlane Books, Fisherton Sreet, Salisbury, as well as The Royal Oak, Great Wishford and the village's Post Office and Stores.

It is priced £5.99.





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