A BRIEF HISTORY OF ALL SAINTS CHURCH. BUCKLAND
Saxon Times: We do not know when Buckland’s chapel, as opposed to the present-day church, was established, although recently a Saxon burial ground was found a few hundred metres from the church. We do know that the Parish featured in the Domesday Book and that in 1067, one year after the Battle of Hastings, it was transferred from the Diocese of Dorchester (on Thames) to Lincoln. The baptism in the Thames of the West Saxon King Cynegils sometime after St Birinus’ mission to the Saxons in 643 had led to the establishment of the See of Dorchester.
The Saxon Chapel: The Chapel at Buckland was then dependent on the Prebendal church of Aylesbury, we are told in the “Victorian History of the Counties of England”, published in 1908. It was linked, under St Mary’s Aylesbury, with chapels in Bierton, Stoke Mandeville and Quarrendon. A “Prebend” was a way of providing a Living for members of a cathedral Chapter.
The construction of the Present Church: In 1266 the four chapels were given to the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln Cathedral. In 1272 it was decided to build our present church. Building of the nave and chancel, a tower and north chapel started the following year; all of these exist today. Flints were taken from the hillside and stones quarried in Totternhoe. The church was dedicated in 1284 and its priest was Adam de Berrington. The piscina and rood loft were added in 1471 and the three bells were hung between 1675-1708. In 1545 Benedict Lee of Hulcot bequeathed a legacy to Buckland of five tenement “Church Houses”, to be appropriated for the use of poor families without payment of rent. These were built at the end of Green Lane, some 50 yards to the east of the church, but were pulled down in 1890.
Victorian renovation: Victorian times saw the arrival of the Rev Edward Bonus, a brilliant scholar educated at Cambridge University who personally funded the addition of the vestry and porch, the rebuilding of the tower and the addition of gargoyles and castellations between 1867-9. His architect George Devey also worked for the Rothschilds and designed their house at Green Park in Aston Clinton. There is no doubt that when he came to Buckland, the church had been pretty run down. Without his wealth, energy and influential friends we could well not have this beautiful church and churchyard today.
In 1888 Buckland Parish was separated from Stoke Mandeville, so Bonus became Rector and started to build the Rectory. He only lived there for a short spell before his health started to fail and he died in Bitton, near Bath, on 31st May 1908.
The 21st century: Water and gas supplies were brought to All Saints for the first time in 2006 in order that a kitchen could be put in the clock tower and gas central heating installed. The opportunity was also taken to build an outside toilet and shed, and to put in an innovative trench arch drainage system.