Contributed by: Alan Bunting
This year the Bunting Society's annual gathering is being held at Buckden in Cambridgeshire. It is a new location for the event, further evidence of the conscious effort made in recent years to spread our wings geographically in the choice of venue. During the society's early years, the location for the gathering remained unchanged, at Alpheton in Suffolk. That is until the special 10th anniversary gathering, which was held at Writtle College near Chelmsford in Essex.
It could be said that Alpheton was where the society was effectively 'born', as the brainchild of a few Buntings from the immediate area, notably Mary Rix and Christine Grayson-Toms, now Christine Paine. As founder members, Mary and Christine remain society stalwarts. The village hall at Alpheton, in its delightful rural setting, was arguably an attraction in its own right, at least for society members travelling from urban areas.
But it soon became apparent that there were many people with the name Bunting or its variants who were interested in their family histories and who were keen to join the society, but who were unable to get to Alpheton for quite understandable logistical reasons. From a travelling point of view it is rather remote for those living for example in 'Bunting hot-spots', most obviously Derbyshire, although it was admittedly more accessible for the many Buntings in Norfolk.
An effort was made in 2005 to placate those Derbyshire Buntings when, for the first time, the venue for the gathering was moved from East Anglia to the beautiful Peak District village of Tissington, near Ashbourne, located within the private estate of Tissington Hall, home of eight generations of the FitzHerbert family. The gathering on that occasion drew a record attendance of around 90 society members, along with a number of non-members who welcomed the opportunity to join the society.
We have become even more ambitious in our choice of venue for subsequent annual gatherings. As well as a return visit to Tissington, the Buntings have assembled at East Barsham in Norfolk, Long Buckby in Northamptonshire and, last year, at Saighton near Chester. So Buckden represents the seventh point on the 'Bunting map of the UK'. Any members who still feel unfairly isolated and unable to get to society gatherings are welcome to come forward with suggestions as to where else we might come together in future years. You can contact us here..
The Bunting Society