1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Buckingham

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BUCKINGHAM, a market town and municipal borough and the county town of Buckinghamshire, England, in the Buckingham parliamentary division, 61 m. N.W. of London by a branch of the London & North-Western railway. Pop. (1901) 3152. It lies in an open valley on the upper part of the river Ouse, which encircles the main portion of the town on three sides. The church of St Peter and St Paul, which was extensively restored by Sir Gilbert Scott, a native of this neighbourhood, is of the 18th century, and stands on the site of the old castle; the town hall dates from the close of the previous century; and the grammar school was founded by Edward VI., in part occupying buildings of earlier date, which retain Perpendicular and Decorated windows, and a Norman door. A chantry, founded in 1268 by Matthew Stratton, archdeacon of Buckingham, previously occupied the site; the Norman work may be a remnant of the chapel of a gild of the Holy Trinity. The manor house is of the early part of the 17th century, and other old houses remain. The adjacent mansion of Stowe, approached from the town by a magnificent avenue of elms, and surrounded by gardens very beautifully laid out, was the seat of the dukes of Buckingham until the extinction of the title in 1889. Buckingham is served by a branch of the Grand Junction Canal, and has agricultural trade, manufactures of condensed milk and artificial manure, maltings and flour-mills; while an old industry survives to a modified extent in the manufacture of pillow-lace. The borough is under a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors. Area, 5006 acres.

Buckingham (Bochingeham, Bukyngham) was an important stronghold in pre-Conquest times, and in 918 Edward the Elder encamped there with his army for four weeks, and threw up two forts on either side of the water. At the time of the Domesday survey there were twenty-six burgesses in Buckingham, which, together with the hamlet of Bourton, was assessed at one hide. Although it appears as a borough thus early, the town received no charter until 1554, when Queen Mary created it a free borough corporate with a bailiff, twelve principal burgesses and a steward, and defined the boundaries as extending in width from Dudley bridge to Thornborowe bridge and in length from Chackmore bridge to Padbury Mill bridge. A charter from Charles II. in 1684 was very shortly abandoned in favour of the original grant, which held force until the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835. In 1529 and from 1545 onwards Buckingham returned two members to parliament, until deprived by the Representation of the People Act of 1867 of one member, and by the Redistribution of Seats Act of 1885 of the other. Early mentions occur of markets and fairs, and from 1522, when Henry VIII. granted to Sir Henry Marney the borough of Buckingham with a Saturday market and two annual fairs, grants of fairs by various sovereigns were numerous. Buckingham was formerly an important agricultural centre, and Edward III. fixed here one of the staples for wool, but after the removal of these to Calais the trade suffered such decay that in an act of 32 Henry VIII. Buckingham is mentioned among thirty-six impoverished towns.