Quakers Walk, Devizes, Wiltshire.
Quakers Walk is a footpath, about 0.85 miles long, from Roundway Park Road to the Kennet and Avon Canal near St. Mary's Church. It is probably of great antiquity as it was part of the footpath and cart track from Roundway village and its farmland to the market in Devizes.
Below is a postcard that was posted in 1907; it shows the open gates and the beginning of Quakers Walk (Courtesy Jack Yeates).
A map dated 1773, before the Canal was built, is shown below. Quakers Walk is probably of the medieval period, possibly of the late 13th century. Quakers Walk continues along the Wessex Trail to Roundway village and on to Roundway Hill that dominates the northern skyline of Devizes.
The Nicholas family owned much of the land in this area from the late 13th century until about 1770. There is a memorial to the Nicholas family in St. James Church. On the death of Edward Nicholas the Estate was sold to the Sutton family.
By 1773, as shown on the map above, the Suttons had built a House and large gardens to the west of Nicholas place. In 1800 Marlborough Lodge was built on the corner of Roundway Park (Road) and London Road to control the Drive from this direction. There was a separate access "road" carriage way from Devizes town to the west of what was to be known as Quakers Walk. See map above. When the canal was built two bridges were built; one led directly to the House and one to Roundway village along Quakers Walk. The bridge nearest to the Wharf carried a roadway to Roundway House. In 1878 the Devizes Cemetery was opened and the way to Roundway Park House over the bridge nearest to the Wharf was shut. This left Quakers Walk as the only acces road to the Houses from central Devizes. The cemetery website has some interesting historical details and a map.
In 1840 New Park estate was bought by E. F. Colston of the powerful Bristol trading family. This estate then became known as the New Park or Roundway Park. He started to enclose land and this caused local resentment. He enclosed Sheep Wash Dell in 1842. He created a deer park too, which in 1892 consisted of 120 acres. The deer park was enclosed by iron fencing and contained about 200 fallow deer.
Below and to the left is an old postcard view of Quakers Walk. This postcard was posted to Devon in 1905 (Courtesy Jack Yeates). It was then a carriage and cart drive way from Roundway Park House to Devizes town.
Below is Quakers Walk in March 2010.
As part of the Quakers Walk housing development the pathway has been regraded to its historic width and with a hard, but non-paved surface.
Below and to the left is the gate house for Roundway Park at the end of Quakers Walk, it was built around 1850. The gate house is listed by English Heritage (EH) as Quakers Walk Lodge. Both the Lodge and the gates, below right, are grade 2 listed - see the bottom of the page.
In 1916 C. E. H. A. Colston was created the 1st Lord Roundway.The Colstons remained at Roundway Park until 1948. A Reading Room of timber and corrugated iron on a brick foundation was erected by Edward Coward. From 1937 church services were held there, possibly the first to be held in the village in its known history. The postcard below shows the bridge over the kennet and Avon Canal and the Gates and Lodge at the entrance to Quakers Walk. This postcard was posted to Southampton in 1908 (Courtesy of Jack Yeates).
After the war the 2nd Lord Roundway sold Roundway Park. The house, pleasure gardens, kitchen garden and a paddock were bought by WiltshireCounty Council, who used part of the house for Civil Defence purposes. The estate land of 1,584 acres was sold to the Bristol Merchant Venturers as the trustees of H. H. Wills charity (Bristol Tobacco company) for Chronic and Incurable Sufferers. Roundway House was demolished in 1955. There is a memorial tablet and stained glass window in St. James Church - their local Church.
The land to the east of Quakers Walk itself is still owned by the Merchant Venturers of Bristol and its surrogate St. Monica's Trust. Applications for development of this land continue to cause controversy in Devizes.
One victory for common sense has been gained. The NHS Primary Care Trust (PCT) has bowed to the passionately case at a public meeting organised by the Trust for Devizes on March 18th 2010 at the Bear Hotel. The issue was the location of the Primary Care Centre for Devizes. The PCC is a GP centre where 3 practices are almagamated at the same site and provide more services to make up for the loss of our Community Hospital. St. Monica's Trust - a Merchant Venturers owned Charity - had convinced the PCT that a joint venture at the Quakers Walk development would be cheaper than the publically approved Green Lane site. The meeting,Chaired by Tony Sedgwick, exposed the lack of planning over parking, public transport and the diminution of medical services. The PCT has now announced that it is pulling out of the Quakers Walk development. Some at the meeting argued that the Community Hospital site would be a more central location with better transport links than the Green Lane site - we shall see. It has also been asked whether we need to see the provison of a private Care home in the beautiful open space that is Quakers Walk.
Above is a photo of the Quakers Walk development just 100 m from Quakers Walk. It was taken in March 2010 from the Devizes Rugby Club near the Police HQ.
Below is the continuation of Quakers Walk to Roundway Village. Apart from the Millennium White Horse (2000) and the plantation on Roundway Hill, it is probably not that different from 1773. Nicholas Place was just to the right of the photographer. The surrounding land is in agricultural production but it too is owned by the Merchant Venturers and open for future development.
This the Open Space that we need to protect!
English Heritage listing for Quakers Walk Lodge at its gates
Date Listed April 1987. Grade II. Images of England Number: 447043
ROUNDWAY QUAKERS WALK SU 06 SW 5/218 Quakers Walk Lodge and gates are grade II
Lodge, gate piers and gates to Roundway Park, built in the mid 19th century. Lodge is of squared rubble stone with concrete tile roof and end wall stacks, each with one octagonal shaft. Two-storey cottage, 3-window picturesque cottage with barge boarded projecting centre gable and gablets over first floor side windows. Stone corbelling under first floor. Centre has Tudor-arched doorway with hood mould and first floor 1:2:1-light oriel on ashlar base with stone slate roof. Sides have casement windows with hoodmoulds, 2-light with shutters above, 3-light below. 20th century rear additions.
Gates. A curving low stone wall with spearhead railings links to large gates across drive. Ashlar corniced main piers with urn finials and plain ashlar outer piers. Ornate cast-iron gates with anthemion finials and elaborate lower panels. Anthemion-head rails each side on ashlar base.