BACK TO THE PAST: Town’s decade in the doldrums

Buckingham, early in the 19th Century
Buckingham, early in the 19th Century

Buckingham as it would have looked in the 19th century (left and right)

He was 22, with black hair, white face, very thin, walked very slowly and wore a smock frock.

Up at Stowe House, the Marquess of Buckingham’s guests were applauding the “Infantile (sic!) Musical Phenomena” a.k.a. the Misses Smith: prodigies on various instruments; the eldest could play 3 violins simultaneously!

Buckingham’s Bailiff was John Fellowes, a tenant of the Marquess of Buckingham. The corporation was full of the Marquess’ men and no bailiff was selected without his approval.

The corporation had scarcely any money and little power; it was no better than a dining club, its members more active over protesting loyalty and subservience than bringing an old-fashioned town into the 19th century.

Buckingham had been deeply affected by the costs, deprivations and losses caused by the Napoleonic Wars.

At times, the price of bread in North Bucks, 2d for a 2lb loaf for centuries, had doubled. Wellington’s victory at the battle of Waterloo in June, 1815 brought peace.

In London, our Marquess threw a victory party and invited royalty.

The entertainment included a chance to meet two dwarves. A little confidence seeped into Buckingham: John Treacher at the Swan and Castle Inn built an Assembly Room.

It opened with Buckingham’s 1st Commercial Ball & Supper on the 23rd November (Gents 10s.6d, Ladies 7s).

It was great rave with dancing from 8pm through to dawn.

In reality, Buckingham was in the doldrums in 1815, and it drifted for another decade. People who had lost their homes in the Great Fire of Buckingham in 1725 were camped on Page Hill.

The Marquess of Buckingham’s tenants in Bucks sent him a petition in November urging that he reduce their rents as peace had lowered prices for their products.

The Morning Post wasn’t impressed: “this petition we regard as the most 
insolent […] for Bucks is a Dairy County, & whatever else may happily have been reduced in price, BUTTER, 
AT LEAST, HAS NOT FALLEN!”