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Image:  Reconstruction of an Anglo-Saxon warrior c.AD 575-625 in Dover Museum. Based on remains found in a grave at Buckland Anglo-Saxon cemetery.
Reconstruction of an Anglo-Saxon warrior c.AD 575-625 in Dover Museum. Based on remains found in a grave at Buckland Anglo-Saxon cemetery.

 
Anglo-Saxon Buckland

There was certainly a settlement in the vicinity of Buckland in Anglo-Saxon times as a large cemetery has been discovered in the area. The first burials came to light during the building of the Dover to Deal railway line about 1880. Between 1951 and 1953 a large cemetery was excavated on the site of what is now Napier Road and Hobart Crescent, and 170 graves dating from c. AD 475 - 750 were recorded. In 1994 a further cemetery was discovered below Hobart Crescent, on the other side of the railway line. This cemetery, presumably part of the same one excavated in the 1950s, yielded over 200 more graves. The overall cemetery, in use for perhaps nearly three centuries, probably contained around 500 individual graves.

No traces of the settlement which the cemetery served have been found in the area. The most likely spot is in the valley below, near the river Dour and beside the old Roman road to Canterbury, perhaps near the site of the present St Andrew's church. The church itself was founded at a much later date and the people buried in the cemetery essentially belong to the pre-Christian era. Based on other Anglo-Saxon sites which have been excavated, it is likely that the village would have consisted of simple timber-framed houses and out buildings, with thatched roofs. There were probably also workshops which produced the tools, weapons and ornaments found in the graves.

In AD 762 the first written record of a Dover corn mill was made. This mill, probably at Buckland, was also the first recorded mill in Britain.

Buckland in 1086

The settlement is mentioned in the Domesday Book, the survey ordered by William the Conqueror and carried out in 1086. The survey lists the then owners of the properties and the pre-conquest Saxon owners (in the time of King Edward - i.e. King Edward the Confessor, reigned 1042-1066). The entry for Buckland (Bochelande) reads:
"In Bochelande Alwin holds one sulung. He has six villagers and ten smallholders with one and a half ploughs. In total, value 4; in the time of King Edward, 100 shillings. He held it himself in prebend."

"In Bocheland Godric holds one sulung. He has 2 ploughs in lordship and three villagers and four smallholders with one plough. A church. Value 6; in the time of King Edward, 8."

(Note: prebend - a stipend granted to a priest of a cathedral or collegiate church, usually consisting of the revenues of one of the manors in the estates belonging to that cathedral or church; sulung a word only used in entries for Kent and believed to mean the area of land which could be worked by one plough team in a year).
 
So in 1086 there were at least 23 people living in Buckland, probably a scattering of dwellings around the ford across the river Dour. As the Domesday Book only listed the working men it must be assumed that at least some of them had families.


Buckland Bridge

The bridge over the Dour was not built until the late 18th century, until this time the river had been crossed by a ford at the same point. Before the bridge was built the main road from Dover to Canterbury and London ran the other side of the river, along what are now Buckland Avenue, Barton Road, Frith Road, Charlton Green and Maison Dieu Road. After the construction of the bridge it became possible to use the more direct route into the town the road becoming known as London Road.

 

Image:  Buckland Bridge, c.1900.
Buckland Bridge, c.1900.

 

 

Image:  An early 19th century view of the Bull Inn.
An early 19th century view of the Bull Inn.

 

Buckland Pubs

The ancient inn, the 'Bull', by Buckland Bridge, is right in the centre of old Buckland. It had been known as the 'Rose' and the 'Three Horse Shoes' prior to 1839. Further up the London Road is the pub called the 'Old Endeavour'. The prefix "Old" was originally intended to distinguish it from the 'New Endeavour' which used to stand a little higher up the road. The name of this old inn was suggested by a privateer, called the 'Endeavour' fitted out at Dover in 1746. The 'Gate Inn' on Crabble Hill used to stand by the old Toll Gate at the start of the Turnpike to Canterbury. The Tollgate was removed in 1871 but the pub remains.

 

Nineteenth Century Growth

Until 1801 Buckland was separated from Dover by open country. Yet within 20 years they were connected by a continuous string of properties along the main road to London, stretching from the Maison Dieu to Buckland Bridge. In 1836 Buckland was incorporated into the Borough of Dover. The growth can be seen from the population figures in the Census:

1801
346
1811
584
1821
693
1831
834
1841
1,472
1851
1,895
1861
2,162
1871
2,612
1881
3,281
1891
4,344
1901
8,211
1911
10,256

 

As the population grew the village started to expand out from its old centre around the bridge and the houses on London Road. In the 1860s the area around Union Road (now Coombe Valley Road) started to develop with housing to accommodate workers at the new gas works. Magdala Road was built in 1868 by a Mr Edward Fry. Oswald Road and Eric Road were laid out in 1871. In the early 1890s Buckland Avenue and the roads leading off it were constructed.

There was also industrial development in Buckland during the 19th century with Buckland Paper Mill, Buckland Brewery, Wellington Brewery, Mannering's Corn Mill (at the corner of London Road and Lorne Road) and the new gas works.

 

 

Image:  Buckland Avenue, c.1900.
Buckland Avenue, c.1900.

 

The Union Workhouse and Buckland Hospital

Early in the 18th century the poor of Dover were cared for in several Poorhouses, administered by Parish Overseers by order of the Mayor. These eventually came together under the Dover Poor Law Union which was formed in 1835, and, in 1836 a Union Workhouse was built in Buckland Bottom, the old name for the area now known as Coombe Valley. The workhouse was enlarged almost immediately it was opened in 1836, and again in 1849, 1871, 1897 and 1903. The road leading to the workhouse was called Union Road (now Coombe Valley Road). In 1930 the care of the poor in Dover passed to the Kent County Council, and the growing powers of the Public Assistance Committee of KCC gradually relieved the workhouse of its former cares.

When the Second World War broke out in 1939 the buildings became a Casualty Hospital, dealing with hundreds of patients of various nationalities from local air-raid victims to German prisoners whose planes had been shot down or whose ships had been sunk. There were frequently men in the wards unable to speak a word of English who were nursed back to health by Dover nurses. Dr Gertrude Toland was one of the heroines of that time, working long hours without rest, often continuing with operations during air-raids. In February 1943 the hospital was taken over by the Public Health department of KCC and was then called the County Hospital.

In 1946 the National Health Services Act brought the hospital under the control of the newly formed National Health Service. Gradually more and more services were transferred to Buckland Hospital from the old Royal Victoria Hospital in the town centre. In recent years services have been transferred away from Buckland to the new William Harvey Hospital at Ashford in spite of opposition from the people of Dover. The disgrace of this is that the world's busiest passenger port is now without a major casualty unit, Buckland's having been downgraded to a minor injuries unit.

 

 

Image:  The Upper London Road Children's Peace Treat. Held in the playground of Buckland School on 26 July 1919.
The Upper London Road Children's Peace Treat. Held in the playground of Buckland School on 26 July 1919..

 

Buckland School

The first National Parochial School opened in 1839 in a room in the Master's House in Church Close , which was situated on what is now the western end of the churchyard. In 1842 it moved to new, larger premises, and again in 1856. In 1858 it was decided to build a new school and a site on London Road was obtained, and the foundation stone was laid on 24 February 1859. During the excavation for the foundations of the new school a quantity of Roman pottery was found. The bell for the new school came from the sailing ship 'Earl of Eglinton', which was wrecked off St Margaret's Bay in 1860. When she was salvaged the bell was purchased for a few shillings by the Church Managers and was hung outside the school soon after it opened. The school closed in 1968.

 

The Gas Works

In 1864 the Dover Gas Company, finding that their works in Trevanion Street were too cramped to meet the demands of the town, obtained an Act of Parliament, enabling them to raise further capital, and to build new gas works in Buckland Bottom. The permission was granted on the condition that gas production in Trevanion Street was abandoned within seven years. In less time than that, the manufacture of gas was altogether transferred to the new works in Union Road. The works were enlarged a number of times to cope with increasing demand for gas from the growing town. The gas works closed in the early 1970s with the conversion to natural gas, when coal gas production ceased. All that now remains is one gasometer used for the storage of natural gas.



Buckland Today

Today Buckland is largely residential. After the Second World War the population of Buckland was greatly increased by the building of the large Buckland Estate housing development. While the old industries have gone, there is some commercial development in the Poulton Close Industrial Estate.

 


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