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Buckingham 4


Buckingham may have had ten fairs in the 18th century, but they were probably local in nature: the town’s communications with the outside world was lousy.  ‘Lousy’ is not the word The University of Buckingham uses in its excellent history of the town, but the message is clear: the Ouse was unnavigable and good roads out of town barely existed, so it was hard for industry to expand.

 

Then came the turnpike – what we now call the A413 – in 1722, driving majestically (#1) north west from Wendover through a gap in the Chilterns to Aylesbury, and all was changed.  It has been written that the Cobham family, owners of Stowe Park, gave the initial impetus for the road because they wanted an easier journey to London.  I think this unlikely because (a) the road started from the London end and (b), as Ed Grimsdale points out, the bridge over Padbury Brook (SP 713 315) was not built till 1741.  So Buckingham and Lord Cobham were stuck in the sticks till then.

NB After Aylesbury, energy seemed to run out.  Thereafter, the road borrowed the route of the old road - see Padbury-East Claydon page.  The present Winslow-Buckingham stretch wasn't built till (perhaps?) the 1770's.

 

Nevertheless, the road gave a huge impetus to trade in general, and in particular to droving.  It avoided villages without useful markets and, even better, was accompanied on its way through the Chilterns by the river Misbourne.  This clear, shallow chalk stream provided water for man and beast for over 20 miles, from Great Missenden to Uxbridge. 

 

(Perhaps I need to stress this: each beast needed between eight to ten gallons a day, and the drovers’ biggest headache was providing it.  The headache grew more painful still when the route was through permeable chalk.)

 

The route out of Buckingham deserves a separate page; meanwhile, I shall interest you with pictures of the Misbourne between Great Missenden and Amersham.  I took the pictures in March 2012 in a drought, since when there has been almost continuous rain, so I imagine the little stream looks healthier, even dangerously so, ten months later.

 

#2 - looking across the Misbourne up to the line of houses on the A413. Only a field’s width between the two.

#3 – the Misbourne valley from the north

#4 – the Mis(erable)bourne in March 2012

Buckingham 4 image 1
Outside Addington
Buckingham 4 image 2
#2
Buckingham 4 image 3
#3
Buckingham 4 image 4
#4