Overview

The village had been feudal up to medieval times with agriculture being the basic industry. It was based on subsistence strip cultivation around a collection of houses, constructed mainly of wood, surrounding the Church and Rectory.

However, in the late 1600's England became the parliamentary democracy that it is today, and this stability produced reform of many things, in particular agriculture. Members of parliament were still very wealthy, landowning, individuals, one such being Roger Gale, who built Scruton Hall and its Capability Brown landscaping.

Around this time, the medieval village was disappearing and the present model, architect designed village of the present time was constructed, All buildings were of a square, vertical walled design, and built in a straight line, with village street walls to match. All coping stones, gateways and gates were of a matching design. A high wall was constructed at the boundary of the Hall grounds, giving air of quality and permanence to the village. Only a few of the older buildings survived, possibly East Grange House. The greatest change however was the disappearance of the 'strips', the old ridge and furrow open fields. Modem enclosed fields emerged and they were divided up into farms of various sizes.

The villagers were given cottages with huge gardens to compensate for the loss of their strip of land. In these gardens they would grow enough vegetables to feed themselves, as well as keeping hens and pigs, this formed the patchwork quilt landscape that we know today, although modem field enlargement altered it again some twenty years ago. The village as it was laid out in the early 1700's, remained virtually intact until the sale of Scruton Estate in 1953, fortunately however, may of its features remain intact.

Basic photography began in the mid 19th Century,as did England's census of its population. As many people spent their whole lives inside the village right up to the 1970's, there was a mass of characters, a cross section of which are included in this section. The author wishes to thank all those villagers who helped by contributing interesting material for this history, In particular, the help of Cyril Preston, who has been the village's historian for the last thirty years. His collection is a very accurate and definitive history of Scruton, which this collection is not meant to replicate, as it is basically village's, or layman's view of the village history. After a look at the 19th Century, this history is divided into decades, with a brief introduction to each period.

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