Families enjoy a swashbuckling outdoor performance of Peter Pan by J.M Barrie

Last Wednesday audiences were flown to Neverland to watch two outdoor performances of Peter Pan by J.M Barrie in the leafy and historic surroundings of St Peter and St Paul’s Church. Families joined Illyria theatre on the Green and brought blankets, chairs, and picnics to watch the open-air shows in style and comfort.

There was something for everyone, with singing, real-flying, and colourful characters. The five cast members had plenty of energy, changing costumes at record speed to play the various characters. When Captain Hook was swallowed up by a giant crocodile the crowd erupted with bellyfuls of laughter and cheer!

Buckingham Town Council were delighted to be able to organise the opportunity for residents to enjoy family outdoor theatre in town and provide complimentary tickets to YC2 - Buckingham and Winslow Young carers group and Ukrainian families currently residing in town and nearby villages.

Councillor Robin Stuchbury, chair of Town Centre and Events committee said “It is always rewarding to see families coming together and enjoying themselves. None of this would be possible without the support of members and staff and the council agreeing our budget to facilitate these kinds of events on behalf of the community we are so fortunate to represent.”

Fun Fact Friday: Buckingham Castle

St. Peter and St. Paul’s Parish Church stands at the centre of the oldest part of Buckingham and has a long detailed history. But why is it positioned just off Castle Street?

The name Castle Street is a hint to the original use of the hill the Church stands on. In around 914, King Edward built a wooden medieval castle. King Edward was very successful in his conquests which meant the castle wasn’t used much. William the Conqueror then gave the castle to Walter Gifford in 1086 and it was rebuilt, but by 1305, it had been abandoned once again. and the Castle continued to be poorly maintained and by the end of the 16th century only ruins remained. John Speed’s 1610 map of Buckingham shows clear evidence of a church at the old churchyard site but nothing notable on Castle Hill. Even the ruins have now been dispersed. Look carefully at the oldest houses in the neighbouring streets and you might notice suspiciously large stones in their construction – likely to have been taken from the ruins and used to build the houses. Local records tell us that the site was being used as a bowling green for many years in the 18th century, and was a popular leisure spot

The old church was precarious and falling down, after an act of parliament in 1777, it was agreed that a new church should to be built within the town and parish of Buckingham. Castle Hill was chosen as a suitable site.

The Earl Temple of Stowe helped to fund the construction of the new church which costed thousands of pounds but in return for his financial efforts, he was given materials from the previous medieval church to help with the build of the new one. The new church was designed in a Georgian style and had many gothic elements to it but was still very simple by having just two elements, the tower and the nave.

In 1860, cracks started to form in the walls of the nave which caused huge concern over the stability of the Georgian church so, local architect Sir George Gilbert Scott was enlisted to assist in the examination of the structure and potential rebuild of the church. Fortunately, Sir Gilbert Scott was able to make relevant repairs to the church and also added some nicer features such as buttresses and a porch.

Fast forward to the 20th century and the church is much the same with only small changes and minor repairs since.