Residents at the nearby village of Watford have recently produced a website about the history of the area and are now seeking the help of people in Braunston who might have information about times past in the village. The new website, which can be viewed at www.watfordvillage.weebly.com starts its story way back in the dark ages with tales of Knights, Romans, Saxons and Viking invaders. Slowly it travels through time and brings us up-to-date with more modern features, such as wartime stories of village life to the coming of the Canals, Railways and even the M1 motorway.
Dee Solomon, one of the Watford residents involved in the project, tells us a little more about what’s been happening: “Well I suppose it all started about a year ago when a few people in the village were chatting away about ‘the good old days’ and how over the past couple of decades the world seems to have got itself into one big hurry. ‘Do you remember when?’ was how each sentence seemed to start - and we soon realised that there was absolutely nowhere where the village’s history could easily be found.”
After many evenings spent looking through dusty documents and also paying to join a genealogy site, some of the history of Watford began to reveal itself and some surprising facts have since come to light. For instance; how many people have heard of ‘Thomas Rogers’? - a previous Watford resident who set sail on ‘The Mayflower’ as one of the Pilgrim Fathers in 1620. Or did you know that in the 18th century gypsy children were baptised at the church of St Peter and St Paul? - Their families resting temporarily at Watford, whilst travelling the rural roads of Northamptonshire.
“We’ve had a lot of interest,” Dee explains, “not only locally but from people as far away as America -with distant connections to Watford. But what we’re really missing is stories and photographs of people’s day to day lives, particularly in the 19th and 20th centuries. Considering we have a big farming community here you’d have thought there would be plenty of photos of things like harvest time – at the moment we have virtually nothing about this.”
An interesting item for Braunston residents is a 1950s video shown on the ‘Canal page’ of the website. It shows the journey of a working boat on its way to Birmingham – with the boatmen stopping overnight at Braunston and going for a well-earned pint at the Ship Inn (The Ship Inn once stood where Brindley Quays is now).
“If anyone has old photos of Watford that they would allow us to copy, or stories and memories they could write down for us, we’d love to include them” says Dee.
To get in touch, visit the website at www.watfordvillage.weebly.com and use ‘contact us’ page, or you can email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org.