The last 100 years
In the early part of 20th century, much of the area around Barton Stacey was owned by the McCreagh family. The last owner from this family, Michael McCreagh, was opposed to the tithe tax system which took one-tenth of the revenue of his farms, so he stopped them working and allowed them to fall into disrepair. Such was the effect on the area that Barton Stacey became known as a derelict village.
The derelict estates were requisitioned by the government around 1938-1939 for use as a military training area and this began the period of association between Barton Stacey and the army.
The parish became home to a large army camp - Barton Stacey Camp - and the parish church was used as the garrison church. The camp housed a variety of functions, particularly engineering units who carried out a number of repairs and restorations for the church.
In 1971 engineers from the camp repairing the church discovered under the north aisle a vault, probably sealed around 1740, containing 6 coffins thought to date from the 17th century. One of the coffins was opened and found to contain the body of a headless man - perhaps a victim of the civil war.
The camp played a significant role in World War Two when large numbers of American forces - particularly 5 Division - were stationed there as part of the preparation for D-Day on 6 June 1944.
The church's wooden font cover was made by army apprentices at the camp in ?year.
The army has since left Barton Stacey, and the camp has closed, and the camp buildings were all demolished in the late-1980s. The army retains much of the land around Barton Stacey as training areas, and these are sometimes used for day and night exercises which involve firing.
The army also has a live firing range for small arms at Moody's Down, which is used both day and night, mainly by young soldiers from the Army Training Regiment based at the Sir John Moore Barracks at Flowerdown, Winchester. Red flags and red lamps give a warning of the firing range is in use, but this doesn’t seem to disturb the farmers tending their fields or the sheep grazing. The range is subject to an interesting set of by-laws which set out the rights and obligations of the both the army and the public.
The army built a substantial amount of residential housing for married quarters in the 1950s and 1960s, with larger detatched houses along West Road, Pheasant Close and Partidge Close for the officers, and smaller semi-detached and terraced houses along Roberts Road for the NCOs and other ranks. The Army houses were mostly sold to private residents in the mid-1990s. With its concentration of houses, the school, the green, and a football field, the Roberts Road area is a natural centre for much of the community.
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