Marlborough’s Town Mayor is right in advising his fellow councillors to reconsider their well-intentioned suggestion that roads on the new Redrow development off Salisbury Road should carry the family names of those Marlborough men who returned home at the end of the First World War after serving with British forces.
In the Town Mayor’s words, they are in danger of ‘opening a can of worms’. Before long the Council Chamber could echo with the cry ‘Why was my great-uncle Jack not included?’ Much safer ground lies in the older history of the Savernake Estate and the ancient Borough of Marlborough.
The Ailesbury family owned the Estate as did the Crown Estate more recently. The Borough has a long history worth remembering. There is, for instance, no public memorial to the former Grammar School some way below the new development and its former premises may soon be absorbed in a new development and its memory lost. So here are some suggestions:
The Ailesburies: Esturmy Drive, Bruce Court, Brudenell Close, Earls Road, Marquess Court, Ailesbury Road, Tottenham Drive, Marchioness Drive, Countess Road, Warden (as in Warden of the Forest – not as in ‘Put that light out!’) Road.
The Borough: Aldermen Road, Burgess(es) Court, Stewards Place, Seamer Drive (last borough Mayor), Maces Close (for our 17th Century maces).
The Grammar School: Grammar Close, King Edward VI Road, Marsh Road (original name of The Parade).
The Town: Merchant Place (our nationally known 17th century Merchant’s House), Waylen Court (19th century Quaker historian of Marlborough), Stedman Drive (headmaster of St John’s, 20th century historian of Marlborough, formerly commemorated in Stedman Building at St John’s – now demolished), Fairfax Road (General Fairfax relieved the Royalist occupation of Marlborough in the First Civil War), Freeman Court (Francis Freeman the tanner in whose premises the Great Fire began), Puritan Way (Marlborough was a Puritan 17th century Town), Proffett Place (Preacher Proffett – a Puritan rector of St Peter’s preached regularly to Parliament on Fridays and suddenly became a Royalist when King Charles II was restored to the throne and was even given a pension by the King at the request of his congregation : an original ‘Vicar of Bray’).
Crown Estate: Windsor, Victoria, Edward, George, Elizabeth.
It might be useful for the Marlborough Town Council to receive other suggestions from the History Society, the Merchant’s House Trust and members of the public. Whatever their choice, they may find that naming of streets is a minefield potentially laden with disputes!