The Old Pavilion

“In Remembrance of those from this village who in their country’s hour of need responded to her call. Especially of those who returned, not whose names are recorded in God’s Acre. This pavilion was erected and this field given for the recreation of the people of Bierton with Broughton.”

So reads the memorial plaque recently restored by Historic England’s foremost conservators – Cliveden Conservation who are based in Taplow. The words are believed to be taken from the speech of Captain Anthony de Rothschild on the occasion of the presentation of the pavilion to the village and the inaugural cricket match at Burcott Lane, Bierton, June 1921.

Senior conservator Julia Glynn commented, “The limestone slab from which the plaque lettering is carved is in remarkably good condition for its age”.  The plaque and pavilion are 100 years old this year (2021).  Julia has many years’ experience working as a conservator of carvings and sculpture for Historic England and The National Trust. She has recently completed a restoration of the memorial on the Old Cricket Pavilion in the Recreation Ground at Burcott Lane, Bierton – carefully cleaning the stone and re-painting the lettering.

David Brock, Head of the Government Historic Estates Dept. at Historic England, has commented – 

“I can see that the historic interest of the pavilion merits consideration (for listing) and the plaque is a fine piece of work in its own right”

The pavilion was commissioned from the Bierton firm of architects A.F. Taylor ARIBA in 1919 by Leopold de Rothschild at Ascott House, Wing. His son Captain Anthony de Rothschild had recently returned from war where he was wounded during the Gallipoli campaign in 1915. Leopold’s second son Evelyn was killed in action at the Battle of Mughar Ridge in 1917 and Anthony unveiled a memorial to his brother and the men of the village who died in WW1 – in Wing churchyard in 1920.  This memorial could have also been designed by A.F Taylor.

A deed of covenant, now in the possession of Bierton Parish Council, records the gift of the Rothschild family of the field and pavilion to the people of Bierton with Broughton Parish. The document is signed and sealed by Leopold de Rothschild and Anthony de Rothschild.

The interior of the pavilion is simply finished, but of fine craftsmanship, shown in the solid wood panelling.  Mr. Rickard of Wingrave is recorded as “fitting a timber floor” which is of unusually narrow boards, finely made and fitted.  The entire pavilion was originally supported on brick piers at the end elevations, joined by shallow arches which were guarded by lockable iron grilles. One of these is still visible. It is believed that this undercroft was used for storage purposes.  The builders were Webster and Cannon of Aylesbury, who also supplied bricks fired in their own kilns and all wrought iron work,

in and on the pavilion from their own iron foundry in the heart of Aylesbury.

It is believed that originally the pavilion was to have had a verandah at the front of the building – this was not completed for some reason, although remains of iron supports in the brickwork on the entrance front are still visible, possibly to support a framework. The entrance steps, window frames and door are not original and would have been similar in detail to those of the Waddesdon Village Hall.

The firm of A.F. Taylor ARIBA as well as designing the pavilion, designed “The Five Arrows” hotel in Waddesdon High Street and the Waddesdon Village Hall and many prominent buildings in Waddesdon and in the villages, of Wing and Wingrave.  The firm also worked in partnership with the well-known architect George Devey – a favourite of the Rothschild family,in the creation of Eythrope Pavilion and gardens, for Alice Charlotte von Rothschild, always known as “Miss Alice.”

The restoration was funded by the Mike & Claire Griffin Trust. Mike was a great supporter of the cricket pavilion and it is mentioned in his book, The Story of Bierton.

The Old Cricket Pavilion – a piece of history in the heart of Bierton.

Mike Glynn, Bierton Parish Councillor

August 2021