The village hall opening in 1910

The opening of the Workman's Institute in Paxford in 1910   The hall with chimney (now removed) and no extension for kitchen and toilet

This is from Hélène Bird-Wheatcroft of Saint-Martin de Ré, France:

My great-great-great-grandfather, John Wheatcroft, farmed at Paxford and Stretton. In the 1780s, he went into business with George Pengree, his uncle by marriage (same Pengrees as per the memorial in Blockley churchyard). In 1786, he moved to France and set up in Le Havre, for all intents and purposes as a dealer in import-export - I still have some of his order and dispatch books, as well as his diaries. At that point, he expected to return to Paxford one day, hence his decision to rent out his house, but was caught out by the French Revolution. I still have the flyer advertising the place for rent (just as I have the flyer advertising his uncle's place, Upton Wold, for sale). 

John Wheatcroft was passionate about astronomy (we still have his Dollond telescope), and took great pride in having developed the Lammas wheat, which gave an extra crop and which he subsequently introduced in Normandy. I remember coming across a diary entry (in English - I suspect he did not really bother to learn French, but there you go ... ) saying that the French should be grateful to him for resource, as that year the requisitions were terrible (*). The year was 1812. He became a member of the Academy of Sciences of Caen. 

Below is a copy of his portrait (with his beloved telescope) and of the Paxford flyer.

(*) “In the country today the Lammas wheat is now ripe in the environs of Caen, and some of it has already been thrashed and turned into bread. The gros bled of this country will not be ripe under three weeks more; there never was a finer prospect of an excellent crop than this year, and never was a harvest expected with greater impatience and anxiety, as we have had an absolute dearth  these four months past. The government having made large purchases this year for the intended invasion of Russia and the forestallers having taken advantage of a real scarcity from the smallness of the produce of last harvest, wheat rose to the enormous price of 160 the sack (the sack from 230 to 240 pounds) and bread was sold here at 10 sols the pound, and in several places up to 15, a price never known in France as 40 a sack used to be esteemed very dear. The Normans ought to be very obliged to me for the introduction of this kind of wheat, which was first cultivated by me at the Abbey of Ardenne, and from thence spread all over this country”.

John Wheatcroft Rural retreat to let

The village green before and during its creation:

An interesting newspaper clipping from 1973 with photos:

Gloucestershire Life article about Paxford in 1973

Gloucestershire Life phtos of Paxford in 1973

Paxford May Day Song:
Paxford May Day song

A map of the centre of Paxford in 1884.  Note that the village was in Worcestershire in those days.

Map of Paxford in 1884

A much older map - around 1590 - is below.  This is part of the Sheldon Tapestry of Worcestershire which is on display in the Weston Library in Oxford.  Note the interesting place spellings.  Undoubtedly some names have changed but it is possible that some are mistakes.

Map of Paxford area from Sheldon Tapestry of around 1590

Please send us any maps, pictures or anecdotes that we can add to this history page.