New book released chronicling history of Aylesbury Vale village and campaign to save its local pub

A new book is set to be released this Saturday (21 May), exploring an Aylesbury Vale village’s history.

By James Lowson
Monday, 16th May 2022, 3:52 pm

June Wiggins was inspired to write about the history of Mentmore and in particular The Stag pub when it was bought following a community campaign.

June’s book, Stories from the Hart, details the goings on at a small close-knit village and its recent success story.

She will be signing copies of her new book which has been published independently from the pub itself on Saturday.

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June Wiggins

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At one stage it looked like the pub which has served the Mentmore community for over 150 years, would be turned into housing.

Residents quashed those plans campaigning together to raise the funds to purchase the pub which reopened last year after refurbishment.

June who is a retired registrar, moved to Mentmore six years ago, from Hemel Hempstead.

Stories from the Hart by June Wiggins

Her book is a collection of stories and tales as told by Mentmore residents.

Members of the community leant her photos and shared their favourite anecdotes to create a snapshot of a countryside community.

June told The Bucks Herald: “It is such a special pub.

"Everybody knows The Stag at Mentmore. The community all got together and managed to buy it, and I thought that was a very good opportunity to write the book.”

June has written three other books following a similar theme of focusing in on a small community area and telling the stories of the people living there.

One challenge with this collection which has took two years to complete, was having to gather information virtually, rather than face-to-face.

Writing a book during a disruptive two years filled with lockdowns and changing Covid protocols, threw up new roadblocks for June as she was piecing together people’s stories.

She added: “When you actually go and see somebody, you can talk to them, and then more things come out.

"When I was having to do it via either telephone or emails and you don’t get that closeness.

"Where people get their biscuit tin out with all their old photographs in, then they start to talk more.

"Saying, ‘oh this was so-and-so, and that was the event where we did this’.

"There was none of that, because we couldn’t meet up.”

June will be signing limited edition copies of her latest book between 10.30am and 1.00pm on Saturday.

Councillor for Ivinghoe Peter Brazier and Buckingham MP Greg Smith will be in attendance.

June discussed her approach to putting together the collection, saying: “I tried to write the book as a newcomer, because there were things that I didn’t know about Mentmore.

"I’ve tried to do it in a way that a newcomer who came to Mentmore now, would think: ‘Oh, that’s why there is an owl in that field. Oh that’s where the train robbery took place.’

"And obviously there’s Mentmore Towers and the sale, why is it still closed. There is all these questions, and what I found that is amazing is that all the people who have been here for 30-plus years.

"They love it here, and they know everything, and you are always finding out something new.

"It is only a tiny village, but you get that loving feeling and they like to share their memories which is great.

"Here we are in this beautiful little village which has all this history, it is great.”

June was helped out by her son Ashley Wiggins who works in the film industry with the cover design and imagery.

Copies of the book are being produced by Amersham-based, Hartgraph Print and Packaging.

The book can be purchased from Saturday from The Stag, to enquire about getting a copy June can be contacted via email at [email protected]

More copies will be sold at next weekend’s Mentmore Art Festival.