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Old Wolverton

The original Wolverton has Anglo Saxon origins with a Norman motte and bailey being built after 1066. These features can still be seen in the landscape in the fields between Wolverton and Stony Stratford. The buildings that remain here (mainly farmhouses and cottages) are predominantly 18th and 19th century remodelling of older buildings. The area grew with the advent of the canal and the focus of the village shifted by about half a mile when the railway line arrived in 1838. Old Wolverton is now little more than a hamlet.

Wolverton Mill

About a mile west of Wolverton itself is Wolverton Mill, now converted into flats. Built and altered over a hundred years between the late 18th century and late 19th century, it is thought to be on a site which has continuously been used for the same purpose since the 11th century. Some time in the mid-19th century the mill was raised up and an open shelter built on cast iron columns to house a steam engine for use when the water from the adjacent River Ouse was low.

Grand Union Canal

The Grand Junction Canal was proposed in 1792 as a route linking the industrial Midlands with the River Thames. Work was begun in 1795 under the direction of engineer William Jessop. An aqueduct was recommended in 1799, after the canal was opened and built a few years later.

Wolverton Aqueduct

Known as the ‘iron trunk’ this cast iron aqueduct was built for the Grand Junction Canal Company in 1809-1811. The engineer who designed it was Benjamin Bevan of Leighton Buzzard. The iron trunk itself was supplied by Reynolds & Co’s Ketley Ironworks, Shropshire. It cost £3,667. It carried the canal from London to Blisworth over the river Great Ouse. It replaced an earlier aqueduct constructed of brick piers and a wooden trough of 1803, which collapsed in 1808. The current brick abutments of were rebuilt in 1919. Beside the canal in the undergrowth, it is possible to make out the hollows which are all that remains of the flight of four locks down and five locks up (the present Cosgrove lock being the fifth) from 1800, designed to bring the canal down to river level (about 12m/35ft) and then raising it up again to the wharf on Old Stratford Road. There is an original canal bridge (Bridge No.69) of circa 1800, much repaired in later brick, on the footpath from Stratford Road to Manor Cottages in Old Wolverton. This is known locally as ‘Suicide Bridge’ (for gruesomely self-explanatory reasons).

In 1793 an act was passed for an arm of the canal to come off at Cosgrove to go to Old Stratford. It was here that the ships built in Stony Stratford would be brought up by horse and cart and first put into water. A year later, an act was passed for the arm to be extended to Buckingham. When the canal at Buckingham was closed in 1964, the length gradually silted up. There has been a group in operation since 1993, working to try to open the canal up.

The Galleon Pub

Built in the early 19th century to serve the canal traffic, a wharf was also built near the bridge on the Old Wolverton to Newport Pagnell road. Known originally as “The Wharf House”, the pub was renamed “The Locomotive Inn” with the coming of the railway, and then “The Galleon” in 1939.

Galleon Wharf

Built to allow loading/unloading on the Grand Junction Canal (now the Grand Union Canal), goods were then placed onto the Stony Stratford to Newport Pagnell turnpike road. Galleon Wharf is now occupied by timber merchants, Jewson’s.

A view from the Grand Union Canal wharf looking toward the first station

The third station, now sadly demolished.

Driver Bill Faulkner on the last run on the last day of the 'Nobby Newport' line.

By Geoffrey Ealden, Anna McEvoy, Julia Newman, Andra Roach, Peter Smith