Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for BUCKINGHAM

BUCKINGHAM, a town, a parish, a subdistrict, a district, and a hundred, in Bucks. The town stands on a bend of the river Ouse, ¼ of a mile NE of the Buckinghamshire railway, 16 miles NW of Aylesbury. The Buckinghamshire railway gives it communication in five directions, toward Banbury, Oxford, Aylesbury, Bedford, and London; and a branch canal, of 10 miles, formed in 1801, goes from it, north-eastward, down the valley of the Ouse, to the Grand Junction canal and Stony-Stratford. The town dates from ancient times. Remains of a Roman villa were discovered within 2 miles of it in 1837. The Roman general Aulus Plautius, on some spot near it, surprised and routed the Britons, under the command of the sons of Cunobelin. The Saxon saint, Rumbald, the subject of wondrous legends, was buried in it; and a shrine being erected over his grave, and afterwards renovated, attracted for ages crowds of pilgrims. Edward the Elder resided a short time in it in 918; and raised two forts for its defence. The Danes ravaged it in 941, and again in 1010. A castle was built on an eminence, within it, soon after the Conquest; but does not make any figure in history, and has disappeared. A great fire, in 1725, laid waste 138 dwelling-houses, and destroyed property to the amount of £38,000. The town had previously been the capital of the county; but it then lost that character; and has never since acquired any great prosperity.

Buckingham is one of the most uninteresting towns in the kingdom. It consists chiefly of one long irregular street; and is edificed mainly with inferior brick houses. Two ancient bridges and a modern one give it passage over the river. The town hall is a large brick structure of 1685. The jail is a building of 1758, enlarged in 1839; and has capacity for 36 male and 3 female prisoners. The church stands on the mount of the ancient castle; was built in 1784, at a cost of about £7,000; and has a handsome steeple, 150 feet high. The Independent chapel was built in 1857, and is in the early English style. There are also Baptist, Wesleyan, and Primitive Methodist chapels. The cemetery was opened in 1856, and has two neat chapels. The grammar school was the chapel of a chantry, founded in 1268, by Archdeacon Stratton; has a Norman doorway, and fine carved seats; and is enclosed by ancient walls. Another school has £34 from endowment; hospitals, £22; and other charities, £328. The workhouse cost £5,500; and has capacity for 250 persons. Lambard's house occupies the site of a mansion which was inhabited some time by Catherine of Arragon, the first queen of Henry VIII.; was built in 1611; occupied next year, by Prince Rupert; and gave quarters, for a night in 1645, to Charles I. Another house, still extant, was visited by Queen Elizabeth. The prebendary house, of the same date as Lambard's, is a curious edifice, with a crooked chimney.

The town has a head post office,‡ a railway station with telegraph, three banking offices, and two chief inns: is a seat of petty sessions, and a polling-place; and publishes a weekly newspaper. Markets are held on Monday and Saturday; and fairs on 12 Jan., the last Monday of Jan., 7 March, the second Monday of April, 6 May, Whit-Thursday, 10 July, the second Wednesday of Aug., 4 Sept., 2 Oct., the Saturday after 11 Oct., 8 Nov., and 13 Dec. The chief manufacture is lace-making with bobbins; but straw-plait making was recently introduced; and malting, tanning, and wool-sorting are carried on. The town was made a borough by Henry VIII.; is governed by a bailiff or mayor, four aldermen, and twelve councillors; sent two members to parliament till 1867; and now sends only one. Its m. limits are conterminate with the parish; and its p. limits include also the parishes of Maids-Moreton, Thornborough, Padbury, Hillesden, Preston-Bisset, Tingewick, and Rad clive-cum-Chackmore. Real property in 1860, £42,927 Direct taxes in 1857, £5,436. Electors in 1868, 407. Pop. of the m. borough, 3,849. Houses, 818. Pop. of the p. borough, 7,626. Houses, 1,706. Bishop John of Buckingham, Cosin the martyr, and Goode the translator of the Psalms, were natives. The town has given the title of Duke to the families of successively Stafford Villiers, Sheffield, and Grenville.

The parish includes the precinct of Prebend-End, the chapelry. of Gawcott, and the hamlets of Lenborough, Bourton, and Bourtonhold. Acres, 4,777. Rated property, £18,347. Pop., 3,849. Houses, 818. The property is much subdivided. Buckingham manor belonged anciently to the Giffords, Earls of Buckingham; passed to successively the Clares, the Breoses, and the Staffords; suffered forfeiture, and was given to Richard Fowler, in 1460; was restored to the Staffords in 1485, and forfeited a gain in 1521; passed to successively Lord Marney, the Careys, and the Brocas family; and was leased, in 1574, for 999 years, to the corporation. Lenborough manor lay annexed to Buckingham manor till 1521; was held thence for nearly a century by the Crown; passed then to the Dormers; was purchased, in 1718, by Edward Gibbon, Esq., the grandfather of the historian; and passed afterwards to the Goodriches. Stowe, the quondam magnificent seat of the Duke of Buckingham, is in the neighbouring parish of Stowe. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Oxford. Value, £465.* Patron, the Bishop of Oxford. The vicarage of Gawcott is a separate benefice.

The subdistrict contains the parishes of Buckingham, Padbury, Adstock, Addington, Steeple-Claydon, and Middle Claydon. Acres, 14,983. Pop., 5,987. Houses, 1,301. The district comprehends also the subdistrict of Tingewick, containing the parishes of Tingewick, Barton-Hartshorn, Chetwode, Preston-Bisset, Hillesden, Twyford, Edgcott, and Marsh-Gibbon; and the subdistrict of Leckhampstead, containing the parishes of Leckhampstead, Beachampton, Thornton, Thornborough, Maids-Moreton, Foxcott, Akeley-cum-Stockholt, Lillingstone-Lovell, Lillingstone-Dayrell, Stowe, Shalstone-with-Old-Wick, Water-Stratford, and Radclive, and the extra-parochial tract of Luffield-Abbey. Acres, 52,419. Poor rates in 1866, £10,078. Pop. in 1861, 13,756. Houses, 3,050. Marriages in 1866, 92; births, 460,-of which 23 were illegitimate; deaths, 244,-of which 93 were at ages under 5 years, and 8 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60 1,080: births, 4,490; deaths, 3,120. The places of worship in 1851 were 28 of the Church of England, with 6,922 sittings; 6 of Independents, with 1,100 s.; 1 of Baptists, with 210 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 178 s.; 7 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 1,262 s.; 3 of Primitive Methodists, with 265 s.; and 1 undefined, with 140 s. The schools were 19 public day schools, with 1,144 scholars; 22 private day schools, with 371 s.; 35 Sunday schools, with 2,513 s.; and 3 evening schools for adults, with 44 s. The hundred is mainly identical with the district, but not quite so extensive. Acres, 50,473. Pop., 10,644. Houses, 2,386.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a town, a parish, a subdistrict, a district, and a hundred"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Buckingham CP/AP       Buckingham Hundred       Buckingham SubD       Buckingham PLU/RegD       Buckinghamshire AncC
Place: Buckingham

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