Buckinghamshire

 

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Buckinghamshire: 51.822198, -1.054688

Buckinghamshire, commonly abbreviated to ’Bucks’, covers nearly 500,000 acres. Historically, this consisted of woodland and fertile arable land in the ‘Vale of Aylesbury’. Still a largely rural county, the main centres of occupation are in Buckingham, Aylesbury and the ‘new town’ of Milton Keynes.

Buckinghamshire was at the hub of Roman transport links. Routes from London to other parts of the country, in the form of Watling Street and Akeman Street, cross the county. In Medieval times, when the wool trade was at its height, these became part of the network of drovers’ roads. A thousand years ago, Buckinghamshire formed the eastern boundary of the Saxon Kingdom of Wessex. A fortress was set up in Buckingham, to repel the Danes. After the Norman conquest, most of Buckinghamshire’s manors were held by the crown. The ancient woodlands in the area were used as royal hunting forests.

Buckinghamshire suffered greatly during the English Civil War (1642-1649). It was predominantly Parliamentarian and home to John Hampden. The rural villages came off worst in the conflict between the nearby Royalist stronghold of Oxford and Aylesbury, which was by then the county town of Buckinghamshire.

Chair-making and the paper industry made use of the woodland resources of the south of the county. Both lace making and straw hat making were significant home industries, providing work for large numbers of women, men and children.

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