Buckingham Town Council Elections

The results of the elections for three out of four of Buckingham Town Council’s wards have been announced, as these wards did not receive more nominations than the number of seats.  The following Councillors will be able to take up office from 11th May:

Buckingham South ward

HARVEY, Jon Simon

HETHERINGTON, Sue

MAHI, Andy

O`DONOGHUE, Lisa Karen

OSIBOGUN, Ade

RALPH, Anthony

STUCHBURY, Robin

Fishers Field ward

COLLINS, Geraldine Elizabeth

Highlands & Watchcroft ward

GATELEY, Margaret

Buckingham North ward

There will be an election for the remaining ward, Buckingham North on 6th May, where seven councillors will be chosen from the following nine candidates:

AHMED, Robina

COLE, Mark Farquhar

MORDUE, Howard James

NEWELL, Ruth Dorothy

PRING, Steve

SCHAEFER, Anja

TRY, Martin Paul

WHYTE, Warren Michael

WILLETT, Ryan John William

 

For full details on the elections, visit the Buckinghamshire Council website.

 

Fun Fact Friday: Interesting Houses in Buckingham

Manor House

Manor House is one of the oldest houses in Buckingham. It was built back in the early Tudor times nearly 500 years ago. This house is unique for many reasons but the main reason is because of its twisted brick chimney, one that’s always appreciated by residents and tourists. See if you can spot it from the side of the house.

At the front of the house, there is a plaque dedicated to St Rumbold who is the baby saint of Buckingham. St Rumbold was born c.650 AD and only lived for three days however, during this short period, he performed many miracles for lots of people. His tomb and shrine are marked by a memorial plaque that can be found in the Churchyard opposite. St Rumbold’s well is sited near the new St Rumbold’s fields development, but is currently surrounded by hoarding to protect it during building work.

Coach House

This cottage is located at the end of Castle Street, just before the gates of St. Peter and St. Paul’s Parish Church. This house hasn’t always looked like this, it was extended in 1875 by Edward Swinfen Harris and as you can see from the picture, the overall design that he chose for the extension included sgraffito panels decorated with sunflowers; a very pretty and modern design!

What is Sgraffito? Sgraffito is the Italian word for decorating by scratching through surface layers to reveal a lower layer.

Prebend House

Prebend House made its first appearance in John Speed’s map of 1610 and it is also possible that some of the interiors date back from that time.

Like other houses on Hunter Street this house was probably occupied by a tanner. The Speed map shows tanning pits in the garden between the house and the river. What is a tanner? A tanner is someone who would convert animal skin into leather by using a chemical process to ensure it wouldn’t decay.

Prebend house is now part of The University of Buckingham who discovered that : ‘In the late 19th century and early 20th century Mr Rogers, a well-known figure in the town and several times Mayor occupied Prebend House. He was an agricultural merchant who brought many of the other buildings along Hunter Street and was known nationally as a breeder of champion shire horses.’

In 2010 the University commissioned builders to start restoring Prebend House. This happened in two parts, stabilising the building and making it safe and then restoring the interior with the aid of a £1 million donation from Lord Tanlaw.

Castle House

Castle House is one of the grandest and most interesting houses in Buckingham. It has 15th-century origins and was built by William and Mary Lambert during the reign of James 1st.

It was owned by Barton Senior in 1431, but the side facing the road is newer, dating back to 1708. Even though some renovations have been made over time, the west side remains the oldest surviving part of the building.

Mysterious Britain feature the listed building on their website, and it’s many royal visitors. ‘There would have been many notable visitors to Castle House, including King Charles I who held a Council of War here and Catharine of Aragon who was serving as Regent whilst her husband Henry VIII was campaigning in France in 1513.’

But Castle House hasn’t only been a house! Between 1963 and 1974 Castle House was used as the offices of Buckingham Borough Council, with its gardens being a popular lunch spot amongst residents. It then got passed to private owners after the Borough Council became part of Aylesbury Vale District Council, which is now entirely different since becoming the present unitary council, Buckinghamshire Council on 1st April 2020.

If you want to learn more about these places or see them in person yourself, try out Buxplore. All these locations can be found on the Heritage for Kids or History trails inside the app.

Fun Fact Friday: Coronation Celebrations

George V coronation took place at Westminster Abbey on 22 June 1911 and was celebrated by the Festival of Empire in London. George V was proclaimed King George V following his father, Prince Albert Edward’s death on 6 May 1910. Throughout London and the rest of England, people celebrated his coronation by throwing parties in their local area. In Buckingham, residents celebrated the coronation of George V on the grounds of St. Peter and St. Pauls Parish Church.

On the day of George V coronation, men, women and children gathered at the church to celebrate. In a picture from Buckinghamshire Archives, it shows the women dressed in their best frocks and the men in suits, sat on chairs around long tables that would’ve most likely been set up on the grassed area so everyone could enjoy a huge spread of food and drinks. Typical food that would’ve appeared were finger sandwiches, jelly, tinned fruit, rock cakes and tea of course! There would’ve also been bunting erected above their heads and union jack flags pinned everywhere. The Street Party Organisation say that; ‘before 1919 there had been a long-held history of residents dressing streets for national occasions, using flags, garlanded material, sometimes with an arch.’

Later in the day, based on other events, we can guess that the children enjoyed playing games such wooden tops, marbles, yo-yos and wooden hoops which were rolled with a stick called a dowel. There would’ve also been plenty of room at the church for them to play tag, leapfrog and hopscotch if they wanted. Another form of entertainment that was documented at the church was a fire hose battle. This is where a handful of men got a fire hose and sprayed water at each other.

There are lots of great images of what the coronation parties looked like, available on Buxplore within the History route when you go to the location of St. Peter and St. Paul’s Parish Church on the app.

The trees at the church are known as coronation trees. This is because they were planted when various coronations took place back in the early 1900s and still stand proud today. They have plaques attached to them commemorating previous coronations such as George V and Edward VII. However, the plaques that are attached aren’t as visible anymore as they have grown into the trees themselves, intertwined amongst their large roots!

Want to know more about the church? St Peter and St Paul’s church was built on Castle hill in 1781 after the old church steeple fell and destroyed the earlier building in 1776. The site was given by the Verney’s of Claydon House, who had a keen political interest in Buckingham, and also gave the Town Mayor his chain in 1884. Parts of this church were refurbished by famed architect Sir Gilbert Scott, he added the chancel, porch, buttresses, and all of the gothic features that can be found today.

 

 

Easter Bunny Hunt

 

With Easter fast approaching, we have organised a bunny hunt around the parks for you to all get in the spirit!

The bunny hunt will be taking place from Thursday 25th March until Thursday 8th April 2021.

Taking part is easy! Explore the perimeters of Bourton and Chandos park and find all the hidden Easter bunnies. When you find all the different bunnies, take a picture and tag us @buckinghamtc on Instagram or Twitter with your guess at how many bunnies in total are hiding.

How many bunnies will you find?

Fun Fact Friday: Buckingham and Lacemaking

The lace produced in Buckingham was originally known as Point d’Angleterre but local prominence in its manufacture was so great that it was commonly called Bucks Point.

Wikipedia states that “Bucks point is a bobbin lace (lace made by hand with thread wound on bone or ivory bobbins) from the East Midlands in England. “Bucks” is short for Buckinghamshire, which was the main centre of production. The lace was also made in the nearby counties of Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire. Bucks point is very similar to the French Lille lace, and thus is often called English Lille. It is also similar to Mechlin lace and Chantilly lace.”

The BucksPoint organisation state that “although Buckinghamshire was a centre of English lacemaking from as early as the 16th century, the styles of the lace made would have varied at different periods, reflecting what was fashionable at the time which meant Bucks Point lace did not appear until the end of the 18th century.

Bucks point is made in one piece on the lace pillow, at full width with common designs being floral and geometric. The floral designs are like those in Mechlin and Lille laces, but Bucks lace is generally simpler than the Belgian laces, and is made of linen or silk.”

Lacemaking in general was quite literally a cottage industry where women worked at their lace pillow, often in the doorway or outside for good lighting, as often as they could, to make a few pennies per foot. Their children could even make narrow simple edgings almost as soon as they could sit up!

No lace maker ever made a complete piece of lace. Instead, they would learn one pattern by heart to sell to a lace dealer and then each pattern would later be joined together to become a flounce or shawl. The dealers would then commission strips of a particular pattern and travel round collecting them and usually exploited the lace makers by supplying the thread and deducting the cost from the payment, which was generally only pennies.

It was supposedly Catherine of Aragon who introduced the craft of lacemaking to the area. Catherine, Henry VIII’s first wife, visited Buckingham in 1513, staying in Castle House. An Ivory crucifix, which is said to have belonged to her, can be seen in the Old Gaol Museum today.

Is there any Bucks Point lace left? Well, the Mayor of Buckingham wears a jabot which is made from fine Buckingham Lace and the Macebearer’s jabot is the same, although less fine. The Mayors Bear also dresses in Buckingham Lace too – How fancy!

Buckingham Fringe Week Returns

Musicians playing instruments
Families playing on field
Ross Hockham with telescope

Buckingham Town Council is excited that the Buckingham Fringe Week will be going ahead this summer and plans are well underway for a week of events. So far events include a children’s outdoor theatre, otter trail through the town, skate park awareness day, the ever popular Oxford fiddle group, wellness walk and a fun day at the Lace Hill Sports and Community Centre. There will also be entertainment in the town centre throughout the summer months. Events are being planned to take place outside and allow for social distancing.  If government restrictions change, then events may be altered. 

Cllr Robin Stuchbury Chair of the Town Centre & Events Committee is.

Cllr Stuchbury said “I am looking forward to the return of the Fringe. The Buckingham Town Council events team has been working closely together with councillors on producing a collection of events built around our established Fringe Festival and are planning for the future by providing events and activities for every member of the community. One of Buckingham’s strongest assets is its ability for everyone to work together with partners to give residents that ambience once again as we carefully and responsibly reopen Buckingham both socially and economically. We will be publishing further details in the upcoming weeks and months and look forward to providing some joy through social interaction and community events throughout the summer.”

If you are going to be putting on events in Buckingham during that week and would like to be included in the Fringe Week brochure, please e-mail Amanda, the Events Coordinator events@buckingham-tc.gov.uk with details.

For enquiries please contact Paul Hodson at Buckingham Town Council on 01280 816426, office@buckingham-tc.gov.uk.

 

Protecting Buckingham’s New Water Voles

Water Vole in Tube
Rat in a Corner
Mink in Grass
Canal with Reeds in the Foreground and Water in the Background

Buckingham Town Council agreed to support work to protect our rare water voles at a recent meeting of the Environment Committee.  The Council agreed to set up an email group to enable those monitoring the voles to communicate with each other, to help protect the voles from American mink.

Dr Tom Moorhouse, Senior Researcher in Wildlife Product Demand Management at the WildCRU, Zoology, University of Oxford and author of the Water Vole Conservation Handbook, was lead researcher on a replicated water vole reintroduction experiment run by Oxford University, with the support of Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) and two farms along the Great Ouse.

Dr Moorhouse said,

“We reintroduced twelve populations to local rivers from which they had been lost. This project remains a success story, one of the very few instances in British history when the declining conservation status of an endangered species has been reversed. The majority of our released populations established and spread, including the colony we released on the Great Ouse. Thanks in large part to local landowners’ diligence and enthusiasm, the population not only established but has spread to Buckingham, which is truly wonderful news.”

Water voles were once abundant on our waterways but during the 20th Century suffered a cataclysmic decline, which sadly is still ongoing.  We lost 99% of our populations in two decades, largely as a result of predation by the invasive American mink. Thankfully a number of projects around the country are working hard to combat this loss, including two sites along the Great Ouse in Buckinghamshire, and to return the water vole to our rivers and canals. These project desperately need ongoing support. The only methods we have to reverse this decline are reintroducing populations, and then safeguarding those populations through mink control. Any lapse in mink control - for even a few weeks - can be fatal to a water vole colony.

Buckinghamshire's three water vole colonies are colonies of a fantastically rare native species, which is protected by law, and they exist in Buckinghamshire entirely thanks to a lot of ongoing hard work in monitoring and controlling mink. With co-ordinated mink control in place, it is hoped that they will expand further, and thrive.

Council Ruth Newell, Chair of the Town Council’s Environment Committee said, “this is wonderful news when water voles are the fastest declining mammal in the UK, and great to hear of the recovery of the River Great Ouse, following the catastrophic pollution incident a few years ago.”

For enquiries please contact Paul Hodson at Buckingham Town Council on 01280 816426.

Fun Fact Friday: Lark Rise to Candleford

Larkrise to Candleford is a famous novel that showcases how a young Flora Thompson grew up in the scenic Buckinghamshire countryside. Flora wrote poems and short stories for many years but it was not until 1945 that the Lark Rise trilogy was published. Before that, the stories were published separately as Lark Rise in 1939, Over to Candleford in 1941 and Candleford Green in 1943.

The stories relate to three communities: the hamlet of Juniper Hill (Lark Rise), where Flora grew up; Buckingham (Candleford), where Flora visited and the nearby village of Fringford (Candleford Green), where Flora got her first job in the Post Office.

Candleford is a combination of Banbury, Bicester and Buckingham. Throughout the book, Candleford is highlighted as a special and realistic type of place, showing how typical village life was like at the end of the 19th century. The stories are told in the third person by ‘Laura’, a version of the author’s childhood self who observes events directly, while the adult author is also present as a second narrator, commenting and reflecting on past events.

Due to Flora Thompson writing her account of previous events that happened nearly forty years after, she was able to identify the period as a pivotal point in rural history: the time when the quiet, close-knit and peaceful rural culture, governed by the seasons, began a transformation. This transformation saw the start of agricultural modernisation, better communications and urban growth which you can see in today’s society. This transformation is not explicitly described but it appears as a fable, for example in Laura’s first visit to Candleford without her parents: the journey from her tiny village to the sophisticated town, represented the worldly changes that would affect her whole community in the future. How do you think Buckingham would have appeared back then?

You can still very much feel Flora Thompson’s presence within these locations, Buckingham especially. One reason for this is because her uncle had owned a factory in Markham’s Court where she would make regular visits too. Another reason is because Buckingham’s Old Gaol Museum has an exhibition all about Flora Thompson’s life and works which was formally opened on 25th May 2007 to coincide with the sixtieth anniversary of her death. It is the only permanent, viewable exhibition of Flora Thompson memorabilia in the world. The display has been augmented over the years with costumes and props from the BBC film production of “Lark Rise to Candleford” and many artefacts from the museum’s collections that illustrate the life and times of the local rural communities that Flora wrote about so eloquently in her books.

Buckingham Town Matters Spring Newsletter

The Spring edition of the Buckingham Town Matters newsletter is now out for delivery and will be with residents soon. This edition includes some topics on the Buckingham survey, flooding, town action commission for trees and everything you need to know about the upcoming local elections.

If you prefer to listen to your local updates, try our audio version. This edition is read by Buckingham Town Councillor, Mike Smith.

We hope you enjoy and make sure to keep an eye out for updates on the next edition; Summer 2021.

Wellbeing Wednesday: Mental Wellbeing During A Pandemic

Taking care of your mind as well as your body is really important if Coronavirus means you are still spending a lot of time at home. You may feel bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also feel low or anxious, or concerned about your finances, your health or those close to you but it’s important to remember that it’s okay to feel this way. The tips and advice here come from the Department of Public Health and Mind, and are things you can do to help you keep on top of your mental wellbeing.

Stay connected with others

Maintaining healthy relationships with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing. Think about how you can stay in touch with friends and family. This could be through a simple phone call, video call or even a text message. Try to set aside some time in your day or week to check in with others because they might need just as much support as you do.

Talk about your worries

Remember that it is okay to share your concerns with others you trust. If you cannot speak to someone you know or if doing so has not helped, there are plenty of helplines you can try instead.

  • Call CALM on 0800 58 58 58
  • Call Samaritans on 0330 094 5717 or text 116 123.
  • Call Mind Infoline on 0300 123 3393
  • Text SHOUT on 85258 to reach crisis volunteers 24/7. Texts are free.

Look after your body

Our physical health can also impact how we feel. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, stay hydrated and exercise regularly. Going for a walk, run or bike ride is a great way to lift your mood and clear your head. Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. But it doesn’t need to be particularly intense for you to feel good, slower-paced activities such as walking can be just as beneficial. Need some inspiration? Take a look at some of our blog posts outlining activities that can help you to stay active during this time.

Keep your mind active

Make an effort to focus on your favourite hobby. However, if you don’t have one, picking something new to learn at home might also help to stop feeling anxious or worried. This is because continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and higher levels of wellbeing. So, why not learn something new today? You could read, write, play games, do crosswords, complete Sudoku puzzles or even start to draw or paint. Whatever it is, find something that works for you.

Get as much sunlight, fresh air and nature as you can

Bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. It can improve your mood, reduce feelings of stress, and make you feel more relaxed. There are plenty of lovely open parks and greenspaces within Buckingham that you can utilise on your daily outings; don’t miss out on beautiful free experiences in your local area!