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Historic wagon goes on show as village festival highlight
IT served villagers for almost 70 years before being retired for a well-earned rest.
So when this 1889 wagon returned to Stanton St John for the first time in 32 years, it was like welcoming back an old friend.
It will soon go on display at a festival celebrating the village’s last 100 years.
It was built by Francis Pullin, a wheelwright from Charlton-on-Otmoor, for Mr Tompkins of New Inn Farm, Stanton St John.
It carried hay, crops and agricultural equipment as well as helping out with other tasks around the village.
Among those who greeted its return on Monday was festival committee member Bobbie Stormont, 59.
She said: “It was a great event when we welcomed the wagon back – there were about 30 or 40 people there to see its return.
“Two of our oldest residents, who are in their nineties, were there and they could remember it.
“One of them could actually remember playing on it when it was carrying corn back when he was a boy.
“I am hoping it will inspire new people who have come into the village to find out more, not just about Stanton St John but the rural past in general and our wonderful museums.”
The wagon has been in the collection of the Oxfordshire Museums Service since 1982 and will be on display on Sunday and Monday outside Chequers, a former pub in Middle Road.
But the exhibit made its return by accident.
Ms Stormont said: “We are celebrating 100 years of village life and I thought it would be nice to have a local museum as a patron.
“I emailed some local museums and the Oxfordshire Museums Service came back and said ‘we have an original wagon from Stanton St John which we could give you’.”
Museums Service collections officer Christine Jeuckens said: “It’s wonderful to see the Tompkins Wagon back in Stanton St John for the festival.
“It’s magical to be able to bring a bit of Stanton’s past back to life through a genuine artefact.
“This is the first time we have done anything like this with an item of this size.”
Organisers hope to welcome over 4,000 visitors to the festival, which also has a First World War theme.
It will open from 1pm to 6pm on both days and costs £5 for adults with children free.
Proceeds go to village societies.
- For more information, visit stantonstjohn.com
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