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Coordinates: 51°59′42″N 0°59′10″W / 51.995°N 0.986°W / 51.995; -0.986
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Buckingham High Street
Buckingham is located in Buckinghamshire
Location within Buckinghamshire
Population12,890 {2011 Census}[1]
OS grid referenceSP695335
• London55 miles (89 km) SE
Civil parish
  • Buckingham
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtMK18
Dialling code01280
PoliceThames Valley
AmbulanceSouth Central
UK Parliament
WebsiteBuckingham Town Council
List of places
51°59′42″N 0°59′10″W / 51.995°N 0.986°W / 51.995; -0.986

Buckingham (/ˈbʌkɪŋ(h)əm/ BUK-ing-(h)əm) is a market town in north Buckinghamshire, England, close to the borders of Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire, which had a population of 12,890 at the 2011 Census. The town lies approximately 12 miles (19 km) west of Central Milton Keynes, 19 miles (31 km) south-east of Banbury, and 24 miles (39 km) north-east of Oxford.

Buckingham was the county town of Buckinghamshire from the 10th century, when it was made the capital of the newly formed shire of Buckingham,[2] until Aylesbury took over this role in the 18th century.[3]

Buckingham has a variety of restaurants and pubs, typical of a market town. It has a number of local shops, both national and independent. Market days are Tuesday and Saturday which take over Market Hill and the High Street cattle pens. Buckingham is twinned with Neukirchen-Vluyn, Germany and Mouvaux, France.


Buckingham and the surrounding area has been settled for some time with evidence of Roman settlement found in several sites close the River Great Ouse, including a temple south of the A421 at Bourton Grounds which was excavated in the 1960s and dated to the 3rd century AD. A possible Roman building was identified at Castle Fields in the 19th century. Pottery, kiln furniture and areas of burning found at Buckingham industrial estate suggest the site of some early Roman pottery kilns here.[4]

Old County Gaol in Buckingham, built 1748. It is now the Buckingham Old Gaol Museum.

In the 7th century, Buckingham (literally "hemmed in land of Bucca's people"[5]) is said to have been founded by Bucca, the leader of the first Anglo Saxon settlers.[6] The first settlement was located around the top of a loop in the River Great Ouse, presently the Hunter Street campus of the University of Buckingham. Between the 7th century and the 11th century, the town of Buckingham regularly changed hands between the Saxons and the Danes, in particular, in 914 King Edward the Elder and a Saxon army encamped in Buckingham for four weeks forcing local Danish Viking leaders to surrender.[6] Subsequently, a fort was constructed at the location of the present Buckingham parish church.[6] Buckingham is mentioned in the Burghal Hidage, a document commonly ascribed to the early tenth century, but more probably of the period 878–9, which describes a system of forts set up by King Alfred (d.899) over the whole of the West Saxon kingdom. When King Edward encamped at Buckingham with his army in 914, he was therefore restoring a fort which had already existed for more than a generation. This tactical move was part of a putsch against the Danish Vikings who controlled what had been southern Mercia, and which involved the taking of control of Viking centres at Bedford, Northampton, Cambridge and eventually the whole of East Anglia by the end of 917.

Buckingham is the first settlement referred to in the Buckinghamshire section of the Domesday Book of 1086.[7] Buckingham was referred to as Buckingham with Bourton, and the survey makes reference to 26 burgesses, 11 smallholders and 1 mill.

The town received its charter in 1554 when Queen Mary created the free Borough of Buckingham with boundaries extending from Thornborowe Bridge (now Thornborough) to Dudley Bridge and from Chackmore Bridge to Padbury Mill Bridge. The designated borough included a bailiff, twelve principal burgesses and a steward.[8] Yeomanry House, the offices and home of the commanding officer of the Buckinghamshire Yeomanry, was built in the early 19th century.[9]

The town suffered from a significant fire that raged through the town centre on 15 March 1725,[10] with the result that many of the main streets of the town were destroyed including Castle Street, Castle Hill and the north side of Market Hill. The result was 138 dwellings (out of a total of 387 in the town at that time) being consumed in the fire. The current fine range of Georgian architecture in these streets today is as a direct result of that fire, but the immediate aftermath was difficult for the town. Collections were made in surrounding towns such as Aylesbury and Wendover to help those made homeless and by 1730, only a third of the homes had been rebuilt. Due to many buildings being considered to be of historic interest, a number of them have been granted 'listed building' status. These include the Grade I listed Castle House on West Street, which dates back to the 15th century.[11] Buckingham Town Hall, which is Grade II* listed, dates back to the late 18th century.[12]

The town was connected to the London and North Western Railway by the Buckinghamshire Railway in 1850.[13]

The municipal borough had a population of 1,816 in 1841.[14]

In 1971, Buckinghamshire County Council set up the Buckingham Development Company with other local councils, and undertook a significant project to grow the town and provide a bypass, mainly to the south and east of the historic town centre. The population rose from just over 5,000 to 9,309 in 1991.[15]

Saint Rumbold[edit]

SS Peter and Paul, Buckingham viewed from the south west

The town is said to be the final resting place of St Rumbold (also known as Saint Rumwold), a little-known Saxon saint and the grandson of Penda King of Mercia; the parish church at Strixton (Northamptonshire) is dedicated to him and the small northern town of Romaldkirk is also thought to be named after him. He was apparently born at King's Sutton, Northants, where he died just three days later. During his short life, he repeatedly professed his Christian faith and asked for baptism. He is now most often referred to as St Rumbold,[16] the latter being the most common, as it can be found being used on a local road name and recent booklets about the subject.


The town is centred on the historic market place and contains many 18th century buildings. There are three main roads crossing Buckingham, namely the A413, the A421 (the southern bypass) and the A422. Capability Brown's historic formal garden design at Stowe (on the A422 westbound) is an important attraction in the care of the National Trust.

There is a medieval well known as St Rumbold's Well on the south side of the dismantled railway which borders the town. The well, which is now dry for much of the year, was positioned to exploit the spring line below the crest of a north facing slope overlooking the town.

Suburbs of Buckingham include Mount Pleasant, Page Hill, Bourton, Badgers, Linden Village, Castle Fields, Tingewick Road Estate and Lace Hill. Maids Moreton, a village on the north eastern borders of the town has become contiguous with the Buckingham urban area. Nearby (10 miles radius) settlements include Winslow, Bicester, Brackley, Milton Keynes and Silverstone. Local villages in the immediate vicinity include Padbury and Gawcott to the south, Chackmore to the north and Shalstone to the north west. It is also very near Stowe, the location of Stowe House, Stowe Gardens and Stowe School.

There is a degree confluence point on the edge of the town, at exactly 52°00′00″N 01°00′00″W / 52.00000°N 1.00000°W / 52.00000; -1.00000.


Bourton was a hamlet in the parish of Buckingham. The hamlet name is Old English in origin, and means 'fortified enclosure'. It is now an integral part of the town of Buckingham, with a road and old mill named Bourton still visible to visitors.

Bourton was once the location of a great house that belonged to the Minshull family. In the English Civil War the house was plundered by Parliamentarian forces.[2] The house has long since disappeared.


At the 2011 Census, the population of the Buckingham built-up area, which includes Maids Moreton but excludes Lace Hill, was 12,890.[1] The population of the Buckingham civil parish (which excludes Maids Moreton but includes Lace Hill) was 12,043.[17] The town has continued to grow since 2011 and thus the figures at the prospective 2021 Census are expected to be significantly greater. As of October 2019, the Town Council estimates the population of its civil parish at 15,700.[18]


The town is home to the University of Buckingham, the oldest of the UK's six private universities. Like other UK universities, a large proportion of its students are from overseas.

The Buckinghamshire Council operates the Tripartite System of state secondary education. The local state secondary schools are the Royal Latin School (a Grammar School) and the Buckingham School (a secondary modern). Stowe School and Akeley Wood School, just outside the town, are private schools.

There are four primary schools, one a community school and the other three academies, serving different areas of the town: Buckingham Primary School is the community primary, and the three academies (Bourton Meadow Academy, George Grenville Academy and Lace Hill Academy) are all operated by Campfire Education Trust.[19]

Industry and business[edit]

The town is home to a number of industrial estates and technology parks housing high tech companies in the pharmaceutical, electronic, foods and composite materials fields, including Racelogic and Wipac.

Buckingham was home to the Thomas Rickett steam car, an innovative vehicle from 1860, though considered ahead of its time and only two are thought to have been made.

Most retail is located in the town centre with a variety of independent stores, cafes and restaurants as well as national chains. The Hidden Quarter, located mainly in Well Street and Bridge Street, hosts a number of independent retailers selling everything from handmade home wares to retro wooden toys. Currently, there are two banks in the town centre - Barclays and Lloyds.

Town markets[edit]

Buckingham's historic street market has been in the town for over 600 years and dates from the Charters granted by Queen Mary in 1554 and Charles II in 1664, giving the markets a unique heritage.

Street markets are held every Tuesday and Saturday. Regular and casual market traders offer a wide variety of products, including fish, fruit and veg, award-winning bread, household goods, tools, flowers and clothes. There is a flea market held every Saturday on the site of the town's former cattle pens, offering a wide selection of antiques, collectables and jewellery.


Buckingham Centre, Verney Close: Offices of Buckingham Town Council, area office of Buckinghamshire Council, and town's library.

There are two tiers of local government in Buckingham, at parish (town) and unitary authority level: Buckingham Town Council and Buckinghamshire Council. The town council is based at the Buckingham Centre on Verney Close in the town.[20]

Buckingham Town Hall

Historically, Buckingham was an ancient borough, and it became a municipal borough in 1836. Buckingham Borough Council was based at Buckingham Town Hall until 1965, when it moved to Castle House on West Street. The borough was abolished in 1974 to become part of Aylesbury Vale district, with Buckingham Town Council being established as a successor parish covering the former borough. Aylesbury Vale District Council in turn was abolished in 2020, merging with Buckinghamshire County Council and the county's other districts to become Buckinghamshire Council.



Buckingham stands at the crossroads of the A413 (north-south), A421 and A422 (east-west) roads. The town was by-passed in the early 1980s by creating a new section of the A421 to the south.


Buckingham is linked to Milton Keynes, Winslow and Aylesbury by the regular X60 bus. An inter-city coach service, the X5, links the town to both Bedford (via Milton Keynes) and Oxford (via Bicester). Some surrounding villages are connected to Buckingham by a market day bus and there is a community bus scheme called Bart.[21]


Buckingham was served by the Buckingham Arm of the Grand Junction Canal from 1801 until the end of the 19th century. In 1928, the Grand Junction Canal Company offered to re-open the canal if a minimum income of tolls could be guaranteed,[22] but this was not forthcoming, with only occasional use reported up to 1932, and the canal was finally abandoned in 1964. The canal ran from Cosgrove, Northamptonshire to the centre of Buckingham to a wharf. A short section of the canal to the east of the town has now been restored.[23]


Buckingham had a railway station on the Banbury to Verney Junction Branch Line, which opened in 1850 and closed to passengers in 1964 and freight in 1966. Finmere railway station on the Great Central Main Line was originally called "Finmere for Buckingham" when it opened in 1899, despite being 5 miles (8.0 km) from Buckingham. Finmere station dropped the "for Buckingham" from its name in the early 1920s, and closed in 1963. The closest stations to Buckingham are now Wolverton and Milton Keynes Central to the east and Bicester North and Bicester Village to the south west. The new East West rail link will have a stop at nearby Winslow, scheduled to start running by the end of 2023.[24]

Leisure and wellbeing[edit]

Buckingham Town Cricket Club's ground


There are two local football teams, and a rugby union club including teams for women and young women. These are Buckingham Athletic F.C. based at Stratford Fields, Buckingham United F.C based at Lace Hill and Buckingham RUFC based at Floyd Field, Maids Moreton. Moretonville Junior Football Club also has boys and girls teams from u7s – u16s. The town used to be home to Buckingham Town F.C. founded in 1883 until their relocation to Fenny Stratford in 2019; they played at Ford Meadow from 1883 until being evicted in 2011.

The town also has the Buckingham Town Cricket Club, based at Bourton Road and the Buckingham Hockey Club which plays at Stowe School. Since 2014, Buckingham has been host to a weekly 5 km (3 mi) Parkrun.[25]

The town has several public sports facilities including the Swan Leisure Centre with an indoor swimming pool, climbing wall, an all weather sports pitch, squash courts.[26] There are two bowls pitch and tennis courts managed by clubs and several private golf clubs in the vicinity of the town.


Buckingham Old Gaol is the town's museum which was established in 1993 in the historic town centre Old Gaol building. It also houses temporary exhibitions and the Tourist Information Centre.

The Chandos Cinema was in operation from 1934 and closed in 1987,[27] but in 2005 an independent community cinema opened in the university called the Film Place.[28] Live music events are regularly held in the Radcliffe Centre.[29]

A library is located in the town centre, operated by Buckinghamshire County Council.

The town is home to numerous clubs and associations including the Buckingham Society, a civic amenity society linked with Civic Voice, a large U3A with over 900 members,[30] and many music, photography and arts clubs.

The town holds an annual Charter Fair. It is held in October over two successive Saturdays starting on the first Saturday after the 11th of the month. During the 19th century it was called the Statute Fair.[31] The public roasting of an ox, sheep and pig often took place at the same time.[32]


Chantry Chapel, owned by the National Trust, previously owned by the Royal Latin School

The town's tourist attractions include the Chantry Chapel, the Buckingham Old Gaol museum, the Sir George Gilbert Scott designed St.Peter & St Paul Church and a number of picturesque Georgian streetscapes. Nearby to Buckingham include Stowe School, Stowe Landscape Gardens and Silverstone Circuit.

Buckingham has a number of hotels including the Villiers Hotel and White Hart in the town centre, and Best Western Buckingham Hotel and Travelodge on the outskirts.


Buckingham is served by one GP surgery (The Swan Practice) and a community hospital. A minor injuries unit at the hospital was closed in 2009 and the nearest major hospital with an accident & emergency department is in Milton Keynes.


The town is served by the Buckingham & Winslow Advertiser weekly newspaper.

Local radio stations are BBC Three Counties Radio, Heart Four Counties (now Heart East), independent radio Mix 96 and 3Bs Radio, a community based station that broadcast to the town as well as to Bicester and Brackley.

The town sits between two television transmitters, with residents able to choose between Oxford (ITV Meridian/BBC South) and Sandy Heath (ITV Anglia/BBC East).

Places of worship[edit]

Notable people[edit]

Twin towns[edit]

Buckingham has been twinned with Joinville, in France, since 1963.[33]

In 2002, Buckingham became twinned with the French town of Mouvaux.[34]

In 2020, Buckingham formalised its links with the German town of Neukirchen-Vluyn, Mouvaux's twin town in Germany, and the three towns (Buckingham, Mouvaux and Neukirch-Vluyn)[35] became officially twinned.[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Buckingham (built up area) (E34000850)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  2. ^ a b "The borough of Buckingham". A History of the County of Buckingham. Victoria History of the Counties of England. Vol. 3. Constable & Co. Ltd. 1925. pp. 471–489.
  3. ^ "The borough of Aylesbury: Introduction and borough". A History of the County of Buckingham. Victoria History of the Counties of England. Vol. 3. Constable & Co. Ltd. 1925. pp. 1–11. A new County Hall, a red brick building with stone dressings, said to have been designed by Sir John Vanbrugh, at the south-east end of the Market Square [Aylesbury], was built about 1727
  4. ^ "Buckingham". Unlocking Buckinghamshire's Past. Buckinghamshire County Council. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  5. ^ "Key to English place names: Buckingham". Institute for Name-Studies, University of Nottingham. Retrieved 30 July 2023.
  6. ^ a b c "Buckingham then: The beginning to the Norman Conquest". University of Buckingham. Archived from the original on 21 August 2001. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  7. ^ Morris, John (editor). Domesday Book 13: Buckinghamshire (translation). Phillimore, 1978
  8. ^ 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica Buckingham
  9. ^ "Yeomanry Hall and Attached Building Bordering Yard to South yeomanry House". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  10. ^ M Vernon & D Bonner Buckingham A History of a Country Market Town (1984). Grillford Ltd
  11. ^ Historic England. "Castle House, West Street, Buckingham, Buckinghamshire (1282698)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  12. ^ Historic England. "Old Town Hall (1282685)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  13. ^ EB (1878).
  14. ^ The National Cyclopaedia of Useful Knowledge, Vol.III, London, (1847), Charles Knight, p.895
  15. ^ Buckinghamshire. Yale University Press. 1994. p. 194. ISBN 0300095848. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  16. ^ Shirley, Rodney. "St Rumbold of Buckingham". The University of Buckingham. Archived from the original on 18 February 2010. Retrieved 21 September 2006.
  17. ^ UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Buckingham Civil Parish (E04001465)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  18. ^ "About us". buckingham-tc.gov.uk. Buckingham Town Council. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  19. ^ "Councillors' anger at new school views being 'brushed aside'". Buckingham Advertiser. 16 July 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  20. ^ "Buckingham Town Council". Retrieved 28 May 2022.
  21. ^ "Buckingham rural transport scheme looking for volunteer drivers". Buckingham & Winslow Advertiser. 31 August 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  22. ^ "Move to re-open closed arm of junction". Northampton Mercury. 6 April 1928. p. 8. Retrieved 1 February 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  23. ^ "Raise a glass at Buckingham canal section re-opening". Buckingham Advertiser. 22 October 2013. Archived from the original on 25 March 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  24. ^ "Home". eastwestrail.co.uk.
  25. ^ http://www.parkrun.org.uk/buckingham Buckingham Parkrun
  26. ^ "Buckingham Leisure Centre Shows Off £2.6m Makeover". Mix 96. 6 February 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  27. ^ "Chandos Cinema". Cinema Treasures. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  28. ^ "Film director to appear at local cinema". Buckingham Today. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  29. ^ "Professional orchestra in Buckingham concert". Buckingham & Winslow Advertiser. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  30. ^ "Buckingham & District U3A". University of the Third Age. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  31. ^ "Buckingham Statute Fair". The Morning Post. 22 October 1827. Retrieved 23 November 2014 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  32. ^ "Buckinghamshire". Luton Times and Advertiser. 20 September 1907. Retrieved 23 November 2014 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  33. ^ "British towns twinned with French towns". Archant Community Media Ltd. Archived from the original on 5 July 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  34. ^ "Jumelage de Mouvaux et Buckingham : la consécration de dix ans d'amitié". La Voix du Nord (in French). Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  35. ^ "Making friends with German town". Buckingham Advertiser. 20 July 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  36. ^ "Buckingham formalises twinning arrangement with Neukirchen-Vluyn in Germany". Buckingham Advertiser. 9 January 2020. Retrieved 28 March 2020.

General references[edit]

External links[edit]