Welcome to the world of one-place studies! Twenty-six of our members are sharing something in their particular place for this year's A-Z Blogging Challenge. Today Alex Coles ponders a subset of her one-place study of Wing in Buckinghamshire.

Wing isn't just Wing, you know. In My Place is Wing village itself, then the hamlets of Ascott to the east, Crafton to the south, Cottesloe to the west, Burcott to the north, then nestled in along the road from Wing to Burcott is the hamlet of Littleworth.

When you visit Wing today most of these hamlets are not really noticeable as housing has sprung up to fill the gaps between them, leaving just one large village mass, but of course they were completely separate neighbourhoods amongst the fields at some stage or they wouldn't have separate names. Some of this would happened in living memory - when I visited Wing in 2013 I was informed by a friendly lollipop-man standing on the corner of the Littleworth road that "all those houses" (with vague wave at the nearest buildings) weren't there when he was a boy.

Different housing styles on different streets may be a good visual clue as to when a street first established itself. While it's wedged firmly up in Wing now, with just that stretch of road bearing the name Littleworth indicating the old hamlet, Littleworth must have been a clearly distinct place in its own right as far back as at least 1227, when it was known as Litlengeworth. Its history as home to a subset of my Wing folk is definitely longer than the late 19th century terraced housing (on one side of the road) and late 20th century (on the other) would suggest.

Littleworth Wing postcard
The infamous misspelled postcard published by local postmaster Cleaver (if you look closely you'll spot the waterpump in the centre)

Hamlets also raise an interesting question for a prospective one-place studier. If your potential place has hamlets, is the combined place a little on the large side to comfortably wrangle when researching? Should one perhaps start with a one-place study of the hamlet first, then expand once the core elements of the hamlet have been explored? For what it's worth I jumped in and took on the whole shebang. It is good to sometimes sit and contemplate just a hamlet on its own though - after all, in times gone by it certainly was a community in its own right.

Sportsmans Arms pub in Littleworth Wing Buckinghamshire
Any self-respecting hamlet needs its own pub - the Sportsmans Arms, 1868-2014
photo (c) Alex Coles 2013

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