Betjeman in Wantage


  1. King Alfred Statue. Sculpted by Count Greichen 1876. John Betjeman and his family moved to Wantage in 1951. In John Betjemans book, Archie and the Strict Baptists Archie is shown flying over the Market Square and Statue. Grove and Farnborough are also featured.
  2. St Mary’s School Chapel. John Betjeman’s daughter Candida was educated at St. Mary’s School founded in 1873.
  3. King Alfred’s Kitchen. Penelope Betjeman’s King Alfred’s Kitchen; a tea shop which became popular with Oxford undergraduates.
  4. The Old Vicarage. According to the Rev. John Schaufelberger “John would totter down here on a Saturday morning and say ‘Boys! I’ve brought a bottle of sherry. Just to have a little drink before lunch.
  5. The Vale and Downland Museum. Formerly the doctor’s surgery from the mid-19th until 1974. Doctor Squires and his family were close friends of the Betjemans.
  6. The Church of St. Peter & Paul. Inspiration for Wantage Bells. In the ringing chamber of the tower is a copy of Wantage Bells, written in his own hand. It is said that he wrote it for the wedding of his daughter Candida, during which the bells were rung.
  7. Betjeman Lane. Previously known to some locals as Lord’s Lane. The location is featured in the poem On Leaving Wantage 1972.
  8. The Mead. Home of the Betjeman family between 1951 and 1972.
  9. Betjeman Millennium Park. This peaceful, small woodland area was established as a Park in 1997 by a local Charitable Trust to celebrate both the Millenium and the work of John Betjeman. Lines from his poems feature on six stones, inscribed by the sculptor Alec Peever.
  10. The Shears Public House. Where John Betjeman was reputed to have regularly played darts in the early evening.