The Village Green Reclaimed

 

‘BE VIGILANT AND LOOK AFTER YOUR VILLAGE GREEN’

In 1921 General Jack Seely gave the strip of land opposite the Seely Hall to the village to be used as a green. Unfortunately the gift was never written down and when the Seely Estate was sold in 1958, the land was claimed by the buyers of Brook Farm.

By 1962 the villagers were becoming extremely concerned about the state of the land, which had been fenced off and was being used for breeding pigs.

Mr Bert Morris, Parish Councillor, raised the matter and Brighstone Parish Council put in a claim on behalf of the public. Following the death of Mr Joliffe Kingswell, the farm sale particulars included the land of the village green.  Letters passed between solicitors and the Parish Council, until finally, in February 1972, the executors no longer contested the ownership of the land and the green was returned to the public.

The original 1920s posts and chains had been stored in a barn and were included in the sale of the land. Thanks to Mrs Win Hollis who had championed the cause, the posts and chains were also withdrawn from the sale. In 1974/5 the green was levelled and re-seeded and the posts and chains were repainted and reinstalled. The Green was restored by a sub-committee comprising of Bert Morris and Peter Jackman assisted by Bill Cook and George Humber. The financial cost was borne by the Parish Council and the labour was given free, as was the gift of the trees.

The green was officially opened on 6th September 1975 by Mrs Brenda Ross, wife of Island M.P. Stephen Ross.  She said: Be vigilant and look after your village green! In these sad days of erosion of the countryside due to road widening and, in some cases, bad planning, it is a joy to find some land which is actually being restored to the public. When the land was fenced off it would have been the end of the story but for the tenacity of one man, Mr Bert Morris, who led the fight to get it back.