The Green and Crammer Pond, Devizes 

 

These provide a central and important open  and recreational space that makes Devizes unique among small towns. The Pond is home to mallards, Canada geese,swans and seagulls. Local children continue to feed the ducks and have a wonderful time. In 2008 the Town Council has installed a new modern playground that has proved vey popular. The south western an d larger part of yjr  Green remains free of any development and provides a wonderful open space in the centre of Devizes and close to two schools. Photogallery

 

Crammer Pond and the Moonraker legend "Smugglers myth lives" from the Wiltshire Gazette and Herald 2007 By Lewis Cowen.

 

Most of Wiltshire claims a connection with the Moonraker legend, but Devizes has probably got more right than most to claim it as its own. There is a plaque beside the Crammer pond on the Green, named after the German merchants, or Kramer, who used to erect their stalls beside it to sell their wares. It recounts the story of how a group of Bishops Cannings men - the pond came under the Bishops Cannings parish in the 18th century - brought contraband brandy over the Plain from Orcheston. Hearing of excise officers being in the area, they wrapped the barrels of liquor in tarred paper and sank them in the pond. A few nights later, thinking the coast was clear, they returned to reclaim their loot by hooking the casks out of the water with agricultural rakes.

They were challenged by a group of excise officers, who demanded to know what they were up to.

One bright spark, pointing to the reflection of the full moon in the water, replied: "We'm tryin' to get that girt big cheese out of the water." The officers rode off, chuckling over the idiocy of these local yokels, while said yokels retrieved the precious brandy. The Crammer is now one of Devizes' jewels. It is home to ducks, geese and swans who are always grateful for bread thrown to them.

During the Second World War, American soldiers, who patronised the nearby Donut Dugout on the Green, would delight in releasing the brakes of cars and pushing them into the water.

 

In 1962, Devizes Rural District Council contemplated draining and surfacing the pond and turning it into a car park. This received almost as much local fury as the building, in 1969, of a four-foot-high brick wall at the Estcourt Street side of the pond, designed as a public safety measure.

There was a huge local outcry. A petition was raised with thousands of signatures and it led to the creation of the Trust for Devizes, which fights for the conservation of the town to this day. A copy of the petition is in the archives of Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Long Street Less than a week later, the wall was torn down.

 

 The pond is first marked as The Crammer in Dore's map of Devizes in 1759. It shrank slightly when part of it was used to expand St James Churchyard in 1844.

 

Photogallery