meaning of the name Buckingham is 'the place of Bucca's people
hemmed in by water'. Buckingham played an important military
role in 914 and was heavily fortified by Bucca, and is outlined
in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle which was created or altered during
this period. It was vital at that time for all other Southern
towns to fortify themselves against the Danes and it was likely
that Buckingham was created with the fortification.
the time of the Norman Conquest, Buckingham had become a royal
borough. The Doomsday Book suggests that the town's population
exceeded 500 during this time. King William II gave Buckingham
to Walter Giffard who became the Earl of Buckingham. He also
became the largest landowner in the county. The first Duke of
Buckingham was Humphrey Stafford who received the title when
the manor of Buckingham was passed to him in the 16th century.
the death of Edward VI Buckingham was one of the first towns
to proclaim Mary Tudor as Queen in 1554. This helped to reinforce
the town as royalty status. The town was passed through many
hands. Robert Brocas bought it in 1552 and sold the Castle Farm
and Mill and in 1573 the manorial rights were leased to the
Corporation of Buckingham. At this time Brocas also sold the
rights of collection to the Tuesday market and the two yearly
fairs to Thomas and Richard Neale. In 1604 these men then sold
it to Sir Thomas Temple.
current Manor House in Buckingham used to be called The Prebendal
House and was an extremely grand manor for its time, but it
was ruined during the Civil War and demolished by 1654. The
Civil War was a time of mixed emotions for the people living
in Buckingham. Sir Edmund Verney and Sir Alexander Denton were
both royalists, yet there were also Parliamentarians such as
Sir Richard Temple and Sir Richard Ingoldsby. Buckingham was
vulnerable to attacks from both London which was held by Parliament,
and Oxford where the King's Court was established. It is said
that at this time in 1643 Oliver Cromwell stayed in Buckingham,
and King Charles stayed briefly at Castle House.
infamous Buckingham fire of 1724 seems inevitable now. Most
of the houses were made from timber with plaster, and sometimes
brick panels. Most of them were also thatched and uninsured.
The wealthier residents or tradesmen were able to insure their
houses against fire with firms such as the Sun Fire Office though.
The fire began in the Unicorn Inn in the market square and spread
down both sides of Castle Street as well as part of Well Street.
More than 500 people became homeless when well over 100 houses
were destroyed. Houses built of brick were created in Cow Fair
for these people.
Buckingham lost its status of County Town to Aylesbury, it battled
very hard to win it back. Lord Cobham built a beautiful gaol
on market hill for the popular summer assizes, to try to make
it a centre for the county, and these were held here until 1849.
In competition though, Aylesbury had erected a new County Hall
of enhanced quality for the prisoners, and it advertised its
own Act of Parliament and managed to win back the summer assizes.
used to be the Coaching Inns in the 18th century are still around
in Buckingham today. The Cobham Arms, the White Hart and the
Swan and Castle still have preserved coach entrances today.
economy improved in 1799 with the introduction of the Grand
Union Canal. Cheaper coal and Welsh slate for roofing material
were imported. In 1850 the railway line from Bletchley to Banbury
was extended to reach Buckingham. It encouraged the building
of Chandos Road with its distinctive Victorian houses. The line
today is disused but is popular for local walkers.
current Chantry Chapel used to be a school, but is now owned
by the National Trust. The building of many schools in Buckingham
was encouraged by the 1902 Education Act. Margaret Thatcher
encouraged the building of the University of Buckingham which
opened in 1976.
of the changes to the structure of the town in the 20th century
came about because of the need for more housing, which inevitably
lead to more traffic and so more roads were needed to be built.