Sign-writer error misunderstands the importance of being Milton Ernest

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(Photo credit: BBC website)

A signmaker with a liking for the works of Oscar Wilde was blamed for accidentally renaming a village in Bedfordshire.

Milton Ernest was spelt as Milton Earnest – as in Wilde’s play ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ – on a new sign at the junction of Milton Road and Thurleigh Road.

Bedford Borough Council hastily corrected the error and this morning (Thursday), Milton Ernest appeared on white tape pasted over the offending sign.

David Newman, who wrote the local history book The Importance of Milton Ernest, told the BBC he was “surprised at the error”.

The village’s original Festival of Britain sign (spelt correctly)

Mr Newman, who is also the vice-chairman of Milton Ernest Parish Council, said: “It has been Milton Ernest for hundreds of years and people still mistakenly spell it the wrong way, as in The Importance of Being Earnest from the Oscar Wilde play.

“I’m surprised that the people who made the sign made such an error.

“You would have thought the council would have checked and have known the correct spelling of a village in its borough.”

One villager said: “Perhaps the sign-maker had a liking for Oscar Wilde.”

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