The Ancell Trust Sportsground
Over the years many tennis, bowls, football, cricket and croquet players from around the Milton Keynes area have enjoyed the unique facilities on offer at the Ancell Trust Sports Ground in Ostlers Lane.
But who was Mr Ancell and how has his legacy continued to help so many people and organisations in Stony Stratford to this day? On 29th March, 1913 Mr Frederick Thomas Shillingford Ancell made a Will with details of a Trust he wished to set up to benefit the residents of Stony Stratford. Mr Ancell was a lifelong Baptist and a builder who lived at 33 High Street, Stony Stratford. Following his death in 1919, residents were surprised to learn that this generous man, who had no near relatives, had made a Will setting out details of a Trust for the town with a sum of over £18,000. Residents would be offered grants for healthcare, travelling expenses, education, apprenticeships, training and recreation facilities. Just before his death, Mr Ancell had also given £105 towards building a bathing place on the River Ouse behind the Barley Mow (now a private house—185 High Street). The first Trustees were Mr Worley, Dr Powell and Mr Woollard. It was not long after the Trust was set up before requests for grants were received from residents, clubs and organisations of Stony Stratford.
The Sports Ground The First 10 Years
One of the first requests was for the provision of a Sports Ground by the Football and Cricket Clubs as they would soon be without a ground. In May 1920, the Trust set up a Sub-Committee, and several proposals were considered. It finally decided to purchase land from Mr Calladine and the Radcliffe Trust. Having agreed a price in 1921, it was then necessary to employ a groundsman, build fences, walls, divert the footpath and plan the layout of the ground for various sports.
In February 1922, a paddock next to the Sport Ground became available and this was bought for £325. This extra land would provide facilities for 5 tennis courts. In March 1924, the Bowling Green was re-laid and two months later, Mr Eli Blackwell, the grounds man moved into the cottage with a reduction in his wages. In December 1926, 2 additional tennis courts were laid. In October 1929, it was necessary to close and re lay the Bowls Green which cost £197. To pay for this subscriptions had to be increased.
In 1930, old railway coaches were obtained and used as changing rooms for the Tennis and Cricket Clubs. In later years one of these coaches was given to the Quainton Railway Trust. It has been fully restored and it is now on display!
Gifts and Grants
In addition to the Sports Ground funding, the many gifts and grants have been made over the years. In 1997, The Ancell Trust was named as a beneficiary in the Will of the late Norman John Harris. Despite many enquiries, little information could be found about Mr Harris. He did live in Stony Stratford for a while but he did not appear to have any local connection with the Trust or its residents. After his estate was settled, the Ancell Trust received £52,411.
For more information about Ancell Trust grants contact Karen Phillips on 01908 563350.