VARIOUS explanations have been given for the name of the Crammer pond, between The Green and St James Church in Devizes.

But the most convincing is that given by Dr Lorna Haycock in her excellent Guide to Devizes.

She says that the name probably comes from the German “kramer”, meaning tradesman. The German merchants used to visit the town and set up their stalls on the small green next to the pond, hence the name.

She writes: “This area, formerly part of the wasteland of Bishops Cannings manor, was used for fairs and stalls and the pond is also the supposed site of the Moonraker legend, in which canny Wiltshire smugglers duped the excisemen by hiding their kegs of brandy in the pond and pretending to be raking for “the gurt big cheese”, the reflection of the moon, when challenged.

The pond is very much a part of town life. It is well stocked with fish although fishing is not permitted, and is home to a large population of Canada geese, ducks, swans and other birds.

Recently its retaining walls have been causing problems and the town council has just completed work to repoint much of it. Sadly, the length of wall next to the church collapsed just as the church authorities had committed themselves to a £300,000 refurbishment of the church building.