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Local History

A Brief History of Buckland & Chipping

After the Norman Conquest, Buckland on its tree-clothed hilltop was awarded to the brother of William I, the Bishop of Bayeux. In the Doomsday Book it is Bochelande, “land granted by charter”. It formed one manor with a priest, 8 villagers, 6 smallholders, 8 cottages and 4 slaves. There was extensive woodland to feed pigs and meadow and pasture for livestock. But only Capon Wood (no public access) survives to this day. Later part of Buckland to the south became the manor of Pope’s Hall. 

Buckland’s location on the former Roman road, Ermine Street, the main road between London and York, meant that passing trade was important and in 1252 a market and fair were granted to the lord of the manor of Pope’s Hall. The name Chipping means market and it was sometimes called New Chipping. In 1258 the lord of the manor of Buckland was granted a market and a fair in Buckland itself. Neither prospered, and in 1360, Elizabeth de Burgh, lord of the manor of Pope’s Hall, transferred the market from Chipping to Buntingford. 

The fabric of the church of St Andrew standing on the highest point of the parish at 140 meters above sea level, dates from the 14th century and a Congregational Chapel was built in Chipping about 1844 (now The Mission Hall a private house). 

In subsequent years neither Buckland nor Chipping grew much in size. Farming was the main occupation for centuries, but jobs have gone as the industry has changed. Open farmland with large fields growing winter wheat, oil-seed rape and beans now dominate the area. Farmland birds like grey partridge, lapwing, skylarks, yellowhammer and corn bunting are declining nationally but ay still be seen here. Wild flowers survive along paths, ditches and field boundaries. 

In 1851 some 215 men, women and children lived in Chipping and 170 in Buckland. The advent of the railways diminished the traffic on the roads and adversely affected the prosperity of the villages on Ermine Street. Even so in 1890 Buckland and Chipping supported 5 public houses, the Buckland Co-Operative Society, a shop, post office, a workman’s club and a library.

Today in 2010 the parish consists of approximately 250 residents and 1 public house.