Fun Fact Friday: Brackley Road Cemetery

Buckingham has two historic cemeteries. The later was designed by noted architect Samuel Fripp and opened in 1856. The cemetery is sited on Brackley Road, and has provided a burial place for the residents of Buckingham for over 150 years. In 2005 Buckingham Town Council took over responsibility for the management and maintenance of the Cemetery and since have been committed to improving the Cemetery and ensuring that it is a well-maintained and suitable resting place for loved ones.

There are strong associations between the cemetery and the history of the town. There are also connections with members of the community. The cemetery provides an important link with the past and a place for contemplation by the local community.

The Cemetery is located at Brackley Road, Buckingham MK18 1JA, near the edge of the town and opposite Pateman Close. The Cemetery is open to the public daily from dawn to dusk, with access through the main gates. However, the Council reserves the right to close the grounds and limit entry at any time.

There are two gothic chapels at the cemetery, which are the focal points of the original 1850s layout. They are sited towards the centre of their respective parts of the burial ground: the non-conformist side being in the smaller west half and the Anglican chapel in the east half.

A site dossier with information about the history of the site was prepared as part of The Buckinghamshire Gardens Trust (BGT) Research and Recording Project which began in 2014. Brackley Road Cemetery was identified as an important designed landscape by Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC) in 1998 to retain evidence of historic interest, as part of the Historic Parks and Gardens Register Review project carried out for Historic England. The list is not definitive and further parks and gardens may be identified as research continues or further information comes to light.

Whilst visiting Brackley Road Cemetery please do:

  • Be aware that funerals may be taking place within the Cemetery
  • Treat other people in the Cemetery with the utmost respect
  • Treat the Cemetery, graves and memorials with respect

For more information on Brackley Road Cemetery, including the fees and burial forms, visit our Cemetery page.

Fun Fact Friday: Roles and Responsibilities of Buckingham Town Council

Buckinghamshire is made up of two tiers of local government, each with differing areas of responsibilities. For Buckingham, these are Buckingham Town Council and Buckinghamshire Council.

The Town Council is the most local tier of government. We are responsible for numerous areas including maintaining certain parks and green spaces, running the Tourist Information Centre and Lace Hill Sports and Community Centre, allotments and cemeteries. We also organise a range of events over the year such as music festivals, comedy nights, bonfire and fireworks.

Buckinghamshire Council is responsible for other services within Buckingham including some green spaces, parking, housing, planning, street cleaning, education, highways, libraries, rights of way and health and social care.

Regardless of whose responsibility it is to resolve an issue. The Town Council can help by directing you to the relevant place or advising you on how to fix the problem, if you aren’t able to report an issue yourself we can help you to do this. You can contact us on 01280 816 426 or view our Council Staff page to direct your request to the right person.

Our Town Councillors are also very willing to support you, all Town Councillors are available to contact by email.

Sometimes it might be helpful to contact your Buckinghamshire Councillor, you can check which Buckinghamshire Council ward you live in via an interactive map on Buckinghamshire’s Council website.

Fun Fact Friday: Day in the Life of a Greenspaces Team Member  

Our greenspaces team work hard to maintain our parks, keeping them clean and beautiful all year round. Craig, who is one of our longest standing Greenspaces Team Members has given an insight into what the team do.

What is a greenspaces team?

I believe that a greenspaces team is a group of people who are committed to keeping the greenspaces in their local area (Buckingham) maintained to a high standard to ensure that the public can enjoy them and are kept safe whilst doing so. It’s almost being like a green fingered Superhero; no job is ever to big or to hard when you take pride in keeping Buckingham a nice place to be like we do!

What does a typical week look like?

We always start the week off by doing park checks to ensure that the play areas and play equipment isn’t damaged from the weekend. From there, it really depends what jobs need doing for example, we could be at the cemetery preparing a grave, cutting the grass around the town and on the bypass, council facility refurbishments and or helping out at our events.

What is your favourite thing to do and why?

I am such a people person. I love interacting with the public whilst working, whether that be by helping a concerned member of the public or just talking to someone and making them smile. I enjoy my job and am proud to be a greenspaces team member.

If you would like to find out more about the parks and greenspaces that we manage, visit our Parks and Greenspaces Page – This page has also been extended with two new spaces to learn more about green spaces maintenance and volunteering.

 

Fun Fact Friday: Lacehill Sports & Community Centre

Lace Hill Sports & Community Centre is located on the Lace Hill estate in Buckingham and is owned and operated by the Town Council. Lace Hill Sports & Community Centre aims to provide a well maintained, accessible community resource for the benefit of Buckingham residents, contributing to community growth, development, and the economic well-being of the local area.

Why is it called Lacehill?

Buckinghamshire Lace is a very fine pillow lace, and the making of it provided an income for local women until the First World War, especially here in Buckingham meaning that lace making is a big part of the Town’s industrial heritage.

As for the name for the estate: Lace Hill is just for ease of reference. However, Buckingham Town Councillors chose a mixture of names for the streets on Lace Hill – some tools, like Pillow, Bobbin, Linen, Silk, and some stitches, like Mayflower, Butterfly, Constance and Rosemary.

The Town Council is grateful for the expert help of Kay Bradley, Kay Meadows and Helene Hill in compiling the list of possible street names.

Within this facility, there is a Sports Hall and a Committee Room, that offer a range of activities from sports to exercise and private functions. There are also toilets, changing rooms and kitchens on site if ever a booking requires them. The Sports Hall and Committee Room is available to book for activities and classes such as Gymnastics, Badminton, Dance, Karate, Yoga, Judo, Football and more which are suitable for all ages and abilities. Outside, there are also two Sports England Pitches that are managed by great local team, Buckingham United Football Club.

For more information about the Lace Hill Sports & Community Centre or for bookings, please contact the coordinator and don’t forget to follow the centre on social media @LaceHillCentre to stay up to date with what’s on and event news.

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.

The Elephant Story

The following information is based on a local newspaper article written by local historian Ed Grimsdale, the original article is no longer available online.

Buckingham has a rich history and while much of its past is familiar to residents, one story you might not know is that of an elephant and some big leather boots!

This story starts with Bostock and Wombwell’s Circus arriving in Buckingham in the early 1900s. They were a regular attraction to Buckingham bringing along performing animals. Jerome Tronson, an employee of the circus, would arrive in town weeks before the circus accompanied by his ticket man, Arthur to ensure that everything was ready for when it arrived.

Shortly after they came to Buckingham in 1915, they set up in Buckingham’s Whale Pub (now Binns Smokehouse) and Arthur set up signs outside the town hall, and was selling lots of tickets.

The Whale was a great location for the men to set up their pitches because they were opposite Marshall and Herring, some extraordinary saddlers! The reason the saddlers were so important to the circus was that they made leather boots for the elephant’s feet to ensure they didn’t get hurt or infected whilst hauling the circus equipment on long journeys between towns. Fast forward to today and this site is now Buckingham Tea Rooms.

Unfortunately, even after a good start securing residents to come to the circus, the men’s luck began to run out. Jerome sadly fell ill with tuberculosis (TB) resulting in him passing away in his sleep.  Arthur had noticed him having a very bad and persistent cough before he died, a sign of the disease.

With little time left before the circus was due to arrive, one of the four elephants that were coming needed new shoes. However, because Jerome was so unwell before he died, he forgot to order new ones. The elephant had to continue its journey without new shoes, and eventually had to be put down.

What happened after? Well, Jerome Tronson’s boss Mr Bostock had him buried on the eastern side of Brackley Road cemetery in Buckingham. You might have spotted the elaborate headstone which names Bostock and Wombwell circus. As for the elephant, Mr Grimsdale tell us that legend has it that the elephant’s ghost still wanders around Buckingham’s bull-ring.

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.

 

 

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!

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.