Geese to Market
In the 18th Century, a most unusual facility was the shoeing of geese. These were driven through warm tar and onto sand which formed a protective layer to pad their feet on the long walk to market.(2) The barn opposite the present entrance to the George Hotel was known to natives of the village as the ‘goose barn’.
The Buckden Speed Trap
At the beginning of the 20th Century the Great North Road ran through the village of Buckden. To deter motorists from speeding, the Huntingdonshire Constabulary stationed policemen in the main street to time motorists over a measured stretch of road. Anyone travelling faster than 20 miles per hour was charged with ‘driving to the common danger’. In 1906, 168 drivers were convicted of this offence and fined more than £1200 between them. The area became known as the ‘Buckden Speed Trap’! (5)
The Shortest Peerage
In July 1551 Henry Brandon, the fifteen-year-old Duke of Suffolk, was at St John’s College Cambridge with his thirteen-year-old brother Charles, when an outbreak of the ‘sweating sickness’ caused them to flee to Buckden. Unfortunately, the brothers left their escape too late and both were taken ill the evening they arrived in the village. The Duke died that night and his brother about half an hour later.
The death of Henry meant that Charles succeeded him to the title and was himself the Duke of Suffolk for the few minutes before he died – the shortest tenure of any peerage that has been recorded. The brothers’ tomb can still be found in the village churchyard. (5)
Laurence Sterne, author of ‘Tristram Shandy’ and ‘A Sentimental Journey’, was ordained a clergyman at Buckden in 1736. (5)
Samuel Pepys, who had property at nearby Brampton and Stirtloe, was very friendly with Bishop Fuller (appointed 1667) and is believed to have frequented Buckden Towers, or Buckden Palace as it was then.
In his diary, Pepys refers to the Bishop as ‘a very extraordinary good-natured man, and one that is mightily pleased, as I am, that I live so near to Bugden, the seat of his Bishopric, where he is likely to reside.’ (4)