Marlborough Common

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Owned by Marlborough Town Council, Marlborough Common was given to the borough by King John (reigned 1196 to 1216) as pasture for livestock.

The Common is used for sport and recreation and is a popular spot for dog walking. There is a trim trail for children as well as organised sport - Marlborough Rugby Football Club is based here and Marlborough Youth Football Club plays on the football pitch which is also available for private hire. Marlborough Golf Club covers part of The Common and there are plans for a Tennis Club too. Members of Marlborough Model Flying Club are regular users as well.

On this page: Hiring the Common - Calendar of Events - Location - Cemeteries - Amenities - Community - Monuments - History - Picture Gallery

Hiring the Common

Circus on the Common

 The Common is a popular venue for circuses and fairs as well as other public and community events, having played host to car boot sales, a daredevil stunt show, a civil war re-enactment, food and drink festivals and more.

Charities may hire The Common at a rate of £11.50 per day from 1st April 2017; commercial hire is £114.00 per day. There's a £500 bond required against possible reinstatement. If you'd like to discuss holding an event here please contact us. To download the charges, please click here.

What's On?

rugby pitches

 Rugby fixtures - click here

Car boot sales with entry fees going to support Wiltshire Air Ambulance are held monthly March to September. Gates open to sellers at 8 am; buyers 9 am

17th September 2017 - Car Boot Sale (Wiltshire Air Ambulance)

2018 Events

Car boot sales with entry fees going to support Wiltshire Air Ambulance are held monthly March to September. Gates open to sellers at 8 am; buyers 9 am

17 March 2018 - Car Boot Sale (Wiltshire Air Ambulance)
21 April 2018 - Car Boot Sale (Wiltshire Air Ambulance)
19 May 2018 - Car Boot Sale (Wiltshire Air Ambulance)
16 June 2018 - Car Boot Sale (Wiltshire Air Ambulance)
21 July 2018 - Car Boot Sale (Wiltshire Air Ambulance)
18 August 2018 - Car Boot Sale (Wiltshire Air Ambulance)
15 September 2018 - Car Boot Sale (Wiltshire Air Ambulance) 

Location

Marlborough Common is bordered by Port Hill to the east, a road called The Common to the south and is bisected on the western edge by Frees Avenue. Click here for map

frees avenueFor satnav users the postcode for the Golf Club (east) is SN8 1DU and the Rugby Club (west) is SN8 1DL. Grid reference SU187695

Cemeteries

Marlborough's Cemeteries (one is a closed cemetery) are to the west of The Common, accessed from Frees Avenue

Amenities

Clean up after your dog sign

The Common is available for everyone to enjoy. Please use the litter bins provided and pick up after your dog

The primary amenity is open space - about 10 acres

There are a couple of swings and a bench in the south-west corner and benches also on the bank overlooking Port Hill

Football pitch available for private hire

While The Common is mainly grass, there is a footpath along the western edge, leading past the Diamond Jubilee Plantation, behind the Rugby Club and the trim trail as far as the Cemetery

A rough track starts at the entrance gate at the top of Kingsbury Street and runs a short distance towards the rugby pitches

Steps lead up onto the Common from Port Hill

No vehicles are allowed on The Common except under certain circumstances. Some parking is offered to the public by Marlborough Rugby Football Club in the clubhouse car park (weekdays only - they're in use by members at weekends)

A children's trim trail was installed on the western side near the Victorian Cemetery in 2015. Funds for this came from developers under a Section 106 Agreeement - a valuable mechanism for securing a range of requirements in connection with planning permissions often to enhance the amenity needs of the local area

Some areas are mown only a few times a year in order to encourage wildflowers and wildlife. Paths are mown within these areas to allow people to enjoy them without needing to walk through long grass
footpath west side of the CommonTrim Trail on Marlborough Commonwild area of The Common

Community

The Town Council works closely with The Common Users Group. Formed in 2011, this group of interested parties includes members of various sports groups, clubs, dog walkers, residents and conservation groups. It meets around four times a year to discuss the use of The Common and to share ideas and to inform the Town Council with its decision making.

The avenue of trees now known as Frees Avenue was first planted in 1910 by the then Mayor, Thomas Free to mark the accession of King George V to the throne. Sadly, disease has taken its toll and in February 2016 it was decided that some of these trees would need to be felled. A plan to replace them is currently being drawn together.

The Diamond Jubilee Plantation, a small orchard in the shape of a diamond, was begun in 2012 to commemorate the year of Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee by the Marlborough Community Orchard Group. The first trees to be planted were a mixture of Wiltshire apple varieties and crab apples, with other fruits, including plums and damsons, added later. Read more

frees ave autumn 2The Common Orchard3appleblossom2

Monuments and Commemorative Stones

There are a number of scheduled monuments on and near The Common:

earthworks - possibly a medieval bowling green - on the southern edge (look for the grassy mounds behind the bus stop)

a former workhouse and children's convalescent home (now within Merlin Court)

a milestone to Wootton Bassett along Frees Avenue

Bronze Age burial barrows to the north

Moving into the more modern era, you'll find two marker stones near the steps on the eastern edge of The Common. These commemorate the site of both a Secondary Modern School and the 347th Airbourne Military Hospital. Users of The Common may have walked past this latter stone alongside the A346 without a second thought as the lettering was unreadable for some time. In 2015, Neil Stevens contacted us as part of his research into US GIs and, in particular, the history of the 347th Station Hospital that was based here from May 1944 to July 1945, looking into the possibility of restoring the stone. Marlborough man, Mark Nash, a 3rd generation painter with a shared interest, volunteered his services and cleaned and repainted the stone in the spring of 2016.

Common monument 1stone daffs and golf club

History

Did you know..?

In ancient times, The Common was known as 'The Thorns'

At one time cattle and sheep fairs were held on The Common. They also took place on The Green, thereby giving the name to nearby streets: Herd Street and Blowhorn Street

Nearby, what is now Merlin Court Care Home was once the site of a workhouse, then an isolation hospital

There was once a bowling green in the area where the swings now sit

In the 19th Century there was jump horse racing on the Common?  It moved further out of town and evolved into what is now Barbury International eventing and horse trials

Swings on the site of the old bowling green

Timeline

1764: earliest known reference to horse racing on Marlborough Common

1836: Inhabitants of Marlborough are granted rights of pasturage on Marlborough Common

1846: Borough Council authorises the building of a grandstand, used by spectators during horse races. The Marlborough Cup was awarded to the winner

1876: Grandstand removed

1882: Seats placed at 'The Clump' near the Cemetery road

1888: Permission granted to build a golf course

1899: Borough Council issues a Scheme for Regulation and Management of Marlborough Common

1910: The avenue of trees, now known as Frees Avenue, was planted by the Borough Council on the accession of King George V

1924: Cemetery opens

1938: Byelaws approved

1940: The Common is requisitioned by the War Office - first used for a tented camp

1944: The American 347th Station Hospital is built to receive the wounded from the D-Day invasion of Europe

1946: The Common is handed back to the Borough Council with the military huts still standing

1946: Marlborough Secondary Modern School is located in the hospital buildings. The school will operate here from 1947 to 1966

1958: The Common is levelled and re-seeded

1966: Secondary Modern moves to new buildings in Chopping Knife Lane

1974: Grass banks reinstated in Frees Avenue and unlawful caravans moved by the Town Council

1975: Pony and Horse Fairs and circuses held; grazing rights issued to residents of the town

1976: Marlborough Golf Club given permission for a scheme to supply water to the greens; trees with Dutch Elm disease are felled

1977: Horse and Machinery Fairs held; further diseased Elms felled; tinkers removed under byelaws; permission given to Children's Hospital for a bonfire

1980: Vehicle barriers erected; footpath constructed opposite Portfields Estate

Gallery

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