This week’s Back to the Past with Ed Grimsdale features tiny tales and facts from the town of Buckingham.
> Winslow Petty Sessions, 1902
Small boy, aged 10, called as witness to his father who was charged with setting snares: “Father went down the hedge side to fetch out his hoe, as he was going hoeing. I was with father and saw the keeper, but I did not see any snares: I know what snares are.”
Magistrate’s clerk (Mr Willis), confidentially: “And did your father tell you to say all this.”
Small Boy: “Yes, sir!”
The bench was quickly satisfied of father’s guilt. Fine 25 shillings, or 14 days. Father opted for the latter and was taken down shouting oaths.
I leave you to imagine Dad’s parting words to his innocent lad.
> From Hillier’s Buckingham Almanack (1940)
A Close Shave from a Barber as Hard as Old Boots.
When visiting Buckingham, be sure and make a call at Boots’ Hairdressing Saloon (West Street). When a travelling circus visited this town JH Boots shaved the keeper in a den of forest-bred lions, amid intense excitement. He is an ex-service man, having served four years in HM Forces.
> British Almanac and Companion (1835)
Occupations of the Inhabitants of the County of Buckingham(shire)
Employed in Manufacture: 369;
Including in the town of Buckingham: 131 tanners.
No industry in Bucks employed more people than Buckingham’s smelly tanneries that were based on Hunter Street. The large number of chair-makers in High Wycombe and district were counted amongst those engaged in handicrafts (8,604) as that business remained a cottage industry.
> From the Buckingham Advertiser (1874)
Much Tingling in Tingewick.
The Advertiser noted that the prospective MP, Egerton Hubbard of Addington Manor, had visited Tingewick ‘when the females of the village completely overcame all expectations in their zeal for the success of the candidate.’
> From the Bucks Herald (1847)
A monster cake of enormous bulk, measuring ten feet in circumference, and weighing 2cwt (about 100kg) was exhibited in the shop of Mr Town, confectioner.
Mr Town’s shop was next door to the Chantry Chapel on Market Hill in Buckingham, where a hairdresser operates, today. Town built his huge oven into the stone wall of the Chantry Chapel that was used by the Royal Latin School. None of the windows of the chapel opened so for many years its pupils were the Toast of Town.
Phew, something had to be done – look at the crude wooden ventilator on the Chapel’s roof in the engraving from around 1850.
> After RLS moved to Chandos Road in 1907, its staff-room was pokey. One headmaster, George Embleton, was wont to lecture his staff at length during morning break. One diatribe found the vicar, the Rev Elkerton who taught RS, wedged against a radiator. Suddenly, he interrupted the head, squealing: “My botty’s on fire!”
> From the Bucks Herald (1902)
Is Illing the oldest family of north Bucks?
I much regret to record the death of Mrs Hannah Illing of Little Horwood at the advanced age of 80 years. She was the oldest surviving member of a very ancient family in this district – in fact, the oldest of any – its name being found in the Winslow Court Roll as far back as 1509, while several members of the family were bailiffs (or mayors) of the Borough of Buckingham, the earliest being William Illing in 1561.
What a long innings from the Illings of North Bucks. However, I’m confident there are readers of the Buckingham Advertiser who can trace their family’s name and presence further back in our district’s history. So, over to you!