Bucknell History

At the time of the Domesday Book it was known as ‘Buckehale’ or ‘Buckenhill’. The boundaries of Shropshire and Herefordshire divided the village at this time.

From the Domesday Book:

 Land of Ralph Mortimer…….in Leintwardine Hundred [a district within a shireBuckehale
Helgot holds from him. 2 hides [unit of land measurement reckoned to be 120 acres]…land for 6 ploughs
It was and is largely waste Woodland, 1 league Alwyn held it 

 

The Norman knight Roger de Montgomery II, better known as Earl Roger in the Domesday, but officially the seigneur of Montgomery, was the major recipient of Shropshire holdings. An old man of considerable wealth and power, he contributed 60 ships to the invasion fleet and was in command of a wing at the Battle of Hastings. Earl Roger was responsible to Duke William of Normandy as his chief architect in the defence of the middle marches of the border in his defence against the Welsh. He built many castles including Montgomery, Shrewsbury, Ludlow, Clun, Hopton and Oswestry. Over 90% of the lordships and manors of Shropshire were held in Chief at the Domesday by the powerful Earl Roger.

 


THE SITWELL ARMS, Pre 1914: Arthur Whittle (with pony and cart) combined his job as a postman with ‘lugging’ and selling coal around the village.

 

Earl Roger’s under-tenants in this area were Ralph de Mortimer, who held Bucknell (amongst his 123 manors with his chief domain in England being at Wigmore Castle), and William de Picot, (also known as Picot de Say), with his chief domain at Clun Castle, part of a cluster of castles including Richards Castle and Bishops Castle, a line of defence against the Welsh intruders to the west and included Bedstone.

This earth mound at The Olde Farm in Bucknell is the remains of a Norman (1066-1154) motte castle situated on the banks of the River Redlake, close to a river crossing point and to the Parish Church. The small mound or motte is oval in plan and measures just 22 metres in diameter at its base. Traces of a surrounding ditch have been identified in places though the later farmhouse and farm buildings have largely destroyed this.

In 1554-55 an Act was passed transferring the whole of Bucknell into the county of Shropshire. The Lords of the Manor at that time were the Sitwell family who resided at ‘The Cottage’ when in Bucknell.

The population of the village in 1811 was 226. At the latter end of the century this had risen to 546. Most of the male population were connected with agriculture and timber. The earliest of the existing buildings date back to the 17th century. The houses were built in a haphazard fashion near the river, and so had easy access to water. The village depended on water from the river and wells until the 1920’s when water was piped into the village from a spring above Chapel Lawn.

Bucknell had four pubs: The Sitwell Arms, The Plough (just opposite), The Railway Tavern and The Bridge End. The latter three are all now private houses.

 

The Old School House was built in the 16th century to provide education for those who could pay for it. The school remained until the present one was built in 1865. The Old School House then became a shop and bakers before becoming a private dwelling. The front part of the building pre-dates the rear by around 200 years making it 13th/14th century and whilst being restored was found to have once existed as a ground floor only property and evidence of an open fire pit and an opening in the roof to allow the smoke to escape, this pre dates the inglenook fireplace to the rear and was believed to have been a medieval great hall, restoration completion date 1999.

THE OLD SCHOOL HOUSE, c.1900: Bucknell’s original school, until the mid 19 th Century. Later a general stores and bakery. Birthday cakes were made and displayed in the window before being taken home. Now private housing

 

The land upon which the present school was built was given in 1865. The first schoolmaster appointed in 1867 to the new St Mary’s National School was Mr Henry Evans, 24 years old. The school was extensively re-modelled in 1966 when additional teaching space and a kitchen was added enabling meals to be cooked on the premises. An extension added in 2013 provides additional facilities for Key Stage 1 pupils and was opened by our local Member of Parliament Philip Dunne. St Mary’s Primary School is a maintained Church of England school.

 

Bucknell Post office opened in the mid 19th century. The original post office was just round the corner and still goes by the name of The Old Post Office.

After World War I a Memorial Hall was built in the village and still stands. One of those behind its construction was William Burgoyne.

The butcher shop is still on its original site.

The roads through the village were dirt roads, muddy in winter, and dusty in summer. Every autumn the roads were repaired with gravel from the river.

Despite more houses, the number of people living in Bucknell has dropped. In the 1981 census the population of the village was 494; in 1991 the population of the parish (probably including Bedstone) was 601 consisting of some 250 dwellings and in 2001 it was 642 in 294 dwellings. The latest figure in 2011 from the Office of National Statistics put the population at 717.

 

Bucknell in View

Bucknell in View was printed many years ago and is a unique collection of photographs and postcards of life in Bucknell from the end of the nineteenth century to the 1950’s. Copies of it are as rare as hen’s teeth, but they do still occasionally appear on the internet.

Download a pdf version here

 

 

Bucknell Talking

Bucknell Talking was produced in the mid 1980s. The aim was to recapture and record how Bucknell folk lived from the turn of the century. Copies of it are still obtainable from Beryl Sharpe or from Green’s Garage.

PDF Version coming soon

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