Contributed by: Jerry Green
The 20th Annual gathering of the Bunting Society will be at Long Buckby, Northamptonshire, England, on October 10 2009. We are hoping to have the village Historical Society co-operating with us to give us a talk on old Long Buckby and to give us access to their museum.
Further planning to make this a memorable day is progressing. At least three of our family trees have links with the Long Buckby area: KEN New Romney, NTH Long Buckby and NTH Kislingbury and with more work doubtless more Bunting connections back to Long Buckby will be found.
We know that as early as 1630 William Wadsworth, born in Long Buckby in 1595, sailed to Boston, Massachusetts aboard The Lion accompanied by his wife and four children. His name was perpetuated by one of his more illustrious descendants, the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. In 1721 Richard Bunting married Dorothy Wadsworth and in 1735 an Elizabeth Bunting married Thomas Wadsworth; they were all Long Buckby residents.
In the 1830s the elders of the village ran a scheme of assisted passage, mostly to America, of which a number of families took advantage. These are only two examples of the Long Buckby diaspora,
which also involved people emigrating to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and other parts of the world.
For much of the Middle Ages the manor was held by important noblemen including the Earls of Winchester and Lincoln. They owned a lot of property in other places and were not resident in Long Buckby, so it became an 'open' village, and over time families were able to move in. Initially they may have come as squatters but eventually set up permanent homes.
The presence of large numbers of people in the village eking out a living with little or no land made it an ideal place for industry to take hold. In the late 17th Century the East Anglian woollen industry spread into Northamptonshire and Long Buckby became a centre of weaving and, particularly, of woolcombing. For nearly a century the industry flourished although with occasional periods of depression. But by 1800 it had begun a decline from which it was never to recover.
Industrialisation was bringing changes and the woollen trade graduated towards Yorkshire and parts of the West Country. After a period of real poverty, the boot and shoe trade, strong in Northampton and growing in Daventry, came to the village. A number of entrepreneurs tried their luck here and for 150 years Long Buckby was to be an important centre for footwear manufacture.
It also became a busy canal wharf after the Grand Junction Canal and the Leicester arm were opened during the first 15 years of the 19th century. The tradition of absorbing incomers, the periods of serious poverty and the presence of many people working in industry rather than agriculture, made the village very radical in its politics which went hand in hand with support for non-conformist churches.
The Chartist movement was strong in the area in the 1830s and 1840s. A few years later (1858) die first co-operative society in Northamptonshire was set up and was to become a major influence in the village. In the mid 19th century there were three chapels which, between them, attracted more than four times as many in their congregations as attended the Church of England.
The opening of the nearby London & Birmingham Railway in 1838 (later the LNWR and subsequently the LMS) made Long Buckby less remote. And in more modern times, about fifty years ago, a really big change in the village was brought about by the building of the nearby Ml motorway (Watford Gap service area is less than two miles away as the crow flies), and the accompanying enormous growth in car ownership. Between 1971 and 2001 the population grew from about 2500 to over 4000. At the same time the village changed from being a largely self-contained industrial community into a residential area with large numbers of people commuting to their work.
Luckily for the Bunting Society in planning the next garnering, Long Buckby is equally accessible to those two Bunting 'hotspot' areas of East Anglia and Derbyshire.
Put October 10 in your diary now. We look forward to seeing many of our members at what will be our 20th AGM and gathering of the Bunting clans.
Society member Tony Bunting
points out that Internet link:
shows Long Buckby from the air,
enabling local landmarks
including the Village Hall to be
pin-pointed. More pictures of Long
Buckby (from ground level) can be
seen at another website:
The Bunting Society