Woodborough’s Heritage

Woodborough, a Sherwood Forest Village, recorded in Domesday

The Rev’d W E Buckland by Peter Saunders

The Rev’d. Walter E. Buckland MA

His personal details:

Born circa 1854. aged circa 32 when married to Ada Murray Parkyns.

Ordained 1876-Vicar of Beedon, West Berkshire 1877

Vicar of Woodborough, Nottinghamshire 1891 (aged circa 37-42) – 1896

Vicar of East Malling, Kent 1896-1922 – (circa aged 66)

Rector of St Anne’s, Sutton Bonington, Nottinghamshire – 1920-1930 –

Retired aged (circa 76)

Died 14th May 1938 aged (circa 84)

Where would Woodborough Local History be without the Rev’d. Buckland’s research for his book?

‘The History of Woodborough and of the Prebendal Church of Woodborough’, published by him in 1896 was probably the inspiration for many of us researching or interested in the history of our village. What do you think inspired him to write it? Was it that Joseph Marriott, a non-conformist, had already published a pamphlet in 1892, a history of the village and the church – anything Joseph, a non-conformist could do, Buckland could do better, or was it that as a scholar and an authority on ancient history and archaeology, according to his obituary, living in a village such as Woodborough where the majority of villagers at that time were either framework knitters or worked on the land, and who in the majority attended the three chapels, he needed an outlet for his scholarship by writing the book. He also wrote a book on the Parish records in the Rochester Diocese, and jottings on Sutton Bonington so writing was something he obviously enjoyed and gave him satisfaction.

He had married Ada Murray Parkyns, the third daughter of Mansfield Parkyns, in 1886 but didn’t become vicar of the Parish until 1891 his appointment said to be by popular demand – mainly I gather because his wife was highly thought of in the village. Taking on such a mammoth task as writing a history of the village – in addition to his parochial duties must have been daunting with the multiple handicaps of no telephone, no bus service and a priest of only five years to amass so much material. It would appear that a certain amount of his research was done by correspondence, as in his Preface to his book he refers to manuscripts at York and Southwell, thanks to the Nottingham Record Office, the keeper of manuscripts at Southwell Minster.

There is no certainty whether he researched the York manuscripts himself. His own research appears mainly to have been done at the Nottingham Library where his research involved Thoroton’s notes on Notts [Nottinghamshire], the Woodborough and Calverton parish registers, brasses and slabs [Woodborough Church], visitations of Notts, Woodborough Court Rolls at Southwell, Dickinson’s Southwell, York MSS, Leach’s Southwell, Fellows History of Hosiery, Charity Commissions reports, Wood’s School, minutes and papers and the 1798 Enclosure Award.

With five chapters on the history of the village and its major owners, the next eight chapters on the history of the church, and single chapter on William Lee and the school, so much of the lives of the ordinary village labourer, husbandman, yeoman and tradesmen have been ignored with no mention of the wonderful collection of early Wills and Inventories at the Record Office giving in intimate detail what they possessed and their occupations. So much more could have been deduced from his examination of the Parish Registers if he had analysed them carefully.

It would seem that he was so busy with work connected with the repairs to the church, his correspondence and research that he failed to engage with the ordinary village people of his era. Perhaps as it was the framework knitters and agricultural labourers who were so involved in the support and help given to the unfortunate unemployed or sick through the Male Friendly Society it left him on the margin of what life was really like for the village population of the 1890’s.

This is in no way to belittle the enormous contributions he made to the improvement to the church in researching the history of the church and the dominant families occupying the Manors. By publishing the research himself has no doubt been for the benefit of all of us with an interest in our village’s history.



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