Buckingham and the surrounding area has been settled for some time with evidence of Roman settlement found in several sites close the River Great Ouse, including a temple south of the A421 at Bourton Grounds which was excavated in the 1960s and dated to the 3rd century AD. A possible Roman building was identified at Castle Fields in the 19th century. Pottery, kiln furniture and areas of burning found at Buckingham industrial estate suggest the site of some early Roman pottery kilns here.
In the 7th century, Buckingham, literally "meadow of Bucca's people" is said to have been founded by Bucca, the leader of the first Anglo Saxon settlers. The first settlement was located around the top of a loop in the River Great Ouse, presently the Hunter Street campus of the University of Buckingham. Between the 7th century and the 11th century, the town of Buckingham regularly changed hands between the Saxons and the Danes, in particular, in 914 King Edward the Elder and a Saxon army encamped in Buckingham for four weeks forcing local Danish Viking leaders to surrender. Subsequently a fort was constructed at the location of the present Buckingham parish church. Buckingham is mentioned in the Burghal Hidage, a document commonly ascribed to the early tenth century, but more probably of the period 878-9, which describes a system of forts set up by King Alfred (d.899) over the whole of the West Saxon kingdom. When King Edward encamped at Buckingham with his army in 914, he was therefore restoring a fort which had already existed for more than a generation. This tactical move was part of a putsch against the Danish vikings who controlled what had been southern Mercia, and which involved the taking of control of viking centres at Bedford, Northampton, Cambridge and eventually the whole of East Anglia by the end of 917.
Buckingham is the first settlement referred to in the Buckinghamshire section of the Domesday Book of 1086. Buckingham was referred to as Buckingham with Bourton, and the survey makes reference to 26 burgesses, 11 smallholders and 1 mill.
The town received its charter in 1554 when Queen Mary created the free borough of Buckingham with boundaries extending from Thornborowe Bridge (now Thornborough) to Dudley Bridge and from Chackmore Bridge to Padbury Mill Bridge. The designated borough included a bailiff, twelve principal burgesses and a steward.
The town suffered from a significant fire that raged through the town centre on 15 March 1725, with the result that many of the main streets of the town were destroyed including Castle Street, Castle Hill and the north side of Market Hill. The result was 138 dwellings (out of a total of 387 in the town at that time) being consumed in the fire. The current fine range of Georgian architecture in these streets today is as a direct result of that fire, but the immediate aftermath was difficult for the town. Collections were made in surrounding towns such as Aylesbury and Wendover to help those made homeless and by 1730, only a third of the homes had been rebuilt. Due to many buildings being considered to be of historic interest, a number of them have been granted 'listed building' status. In the 19th century, it was connected to the London and North Western Railway.
In 1971, Buckinghamshire County Council set up the Buckingham Development Company with other local councils, and undertook a signifiant project to grow the town and provide a bypass, mainly to the south and east of the historic town centre. The population rose from just over 5,000 to 9,309 in 1991.
The town is said to be the final resting place of St Rumbold (also known as Saint Rumwold), a little-known Saxon saint and the grandson of Penda King of Mercia; the parish church at Strixton (Northamptonshire) is dedicated to him and the small northern town of Romaldkirk is also thought to be named after him. He was apparently born at King's Sutton, Northants, where he died just three days later. During his short life, he repeatedly professed his Christian faith and asked for baptism. He is now most often referred to as St Rumbold, the latter being the most common, as it can be found being used on a local road name and recent booklets about the subject.
The town is centred on the historic market place and contains many 18th century buildings. There are three main roads crossing Buckingham, namely the A413, the A421 (the southern bypass) and the A422. Capability Brown's historic formal garden design at Stowe (on the A422 westbound) is an important attraction in the care of the National Trust.
There is a medieval well known as St Rumbold's Well on the south side of the dismantled railway which borders the town. The well, which is now dry for much of the year, was positioned to exploit the spring line below the crest of a north facing slope overlooking the town.
Suburbs of Buckingham include Mount Pleasant, Page Hill, Bourton, Badgers, Linden Village, Castle Fields and Lace Hill. Maids Moreton, a village on the north eastern borders of the town has become contiguous with the Buckingham urban area. Nearby towns include Aylesbury, Winslow, Bicester, Brackley, Milton Keynes and Towcester. Local villages in the immediate vicinity include Padbury and Gawcott to the south, Chackmore to the north and Shalstone to the north west. It is also very near Stowe, the location of Stowe House, Stowe Landscape Gardens and Stowe School.
There is a Confluence point on the edge of the town (here), at exactly 52°00′00″N 01°00′00″W
Bourton was a hamlet in the parish of Buckingham. The hamlet name is Old English in origin, and means 'fortified enclosure'. It is now an integral part of the town of Buckingham, with a road and old mill named Bourton still visible to visitors.
Bourton was once the location of a great house that belonged to the Minshull family. In the English Civil War the house was plundered by Parliamentarian forces and goods to the value of £2,000 (a massive fortune in the day) were stolen. The house has long since disappeared.
The town is home to one of the UK's two private universities, the University of Buckingham. Like other UK universities, a large proportion of its students are from overseas.
Buckinghamshire operates the Tripartite System of state secondary education. The local state secondary schools are the Royal Latin School (a Grammar School) and the Buckingham School (a secondary modern). Stowe School and Akeley Wood School, just outside the town, are independent schools.
There are four primary schools, one community and three academies, serving different areas of the town: Buckingham Primary School is the community primary, and the three academies (Bourton Meadow Academy, George Grenville Academy and Lace Hill Academy) are all operated by the Bourton Meadow Education Trust.
The town is home to a number of industrial estates and technology parks housing high tech companies in the pharmaceutical, electronic, foods and composite materials fields, including Racelogic, Superchips and Wipac.
Buckingham was home to the Thomas Rickett steam car, an innovative vehicle from 1860, though considered ahead of its time and only two are thought to have been made.
Most retail is located in the town centre with a variety of independent stores, cafes and restaurants as well as national chains. A number of banks have a presence in the town centre.
Buckingham's historic street market has been in the town for over 600 years and dates from the Charters granted by Queen Mary in 1554 and Charles II in 1664, giving the markets a unique heritage.
Street markets are held every Tuesday and Saturday. Regular and casual market traders offer a wide variety of products, including fish, fruit and veg, award winning bread, household goods, tools, flowers and clothes.
There is a flea market held every Saturday in the town's cattle pens area, offering a wide selection of antiques, collectables and jewellery.
Local traders also hold an Artisan Food Fair on the third Sunday of every month.
Buckingham stands at the crossroads of the A413 (north-south), A421 and A422 (east-west) roads. The town was by-passed in the early 1980s by creating a new section of the A421 to the south.
Buckingham is linked to Aylesbury by the 60 bus. There is also an hourly through service, the X60, linking Aylesbury, Buckingham and Milton Keynes. An inter-city coach service known as the X5 links the town to Oxford and Cambridge. Some surrounding villages are connected to Buckingham by a market day bus.
Buckingham was served by the Buckingham Arm of the Grand Junction Canal from 1801 until the end of the 19th century. In 1928, the Grand Junction Canal Company offered to re-open the canal if a minimum income of tolls could be guaranteed, but this was not forthcoming, with only occasional use reported up to 1932, and the canal was finally abandoned in 1964. The canal ran from Cosgrove, Northamptonshire to the centre of Buckingham to a wharf. A short section of the canal to the east of the town has now been restored.
Buckingham had a railway station on the Banbury to Verney Junction Branch Line and ran from 1850 to 1964. The closest stations are currently Wolverton and Milton Keynes Central to the east and Bicester North and Bicester Town to the south west. The new East West rail link will have a stop at nearby Winslow, scheduled for 2017.
There are three local football teams, and a rugby union club including teams for women and young women. These are Buckingham Athletic F.C. based at Stratford Fields, Buckingham Town F.C. based at Manor Fields in Bletchley, Buckingham United F.C based at Lace Hill, Buckingham RUFC based at Floyd Field, Maids Moreton. Moretonville Junior Football Club also has boys and girls teams from u7s – u16s.
The town also has the Buckingham Town Cricket Club, based at Bourton Road and the Buckingham Hockey Club which plays at Stowe School.
The town has several public sports facilities including an indoor swimming pool, an all weather sports pitch, squash courts, tennis courts and two bowls pitch. There are several private golf clubs in the vicinity of the town. Since 2014, Buckingham has been host to a free 5 km Parkrun starting at the Bridge Street Skate Park.
Buckingham Old Gaol is the town's museum which was established in 1993 in the historic town centre Old Gaol building. It also houses temporary exhibitions and the Tourist Information Centre.
The Chandos Cinema was in operation from 1934 and closed in 1987, but in 2005 an independent community cinema opened in the university called the Film Place. Live music events are regularly held in the Radcliffe Centre.
A library is located in the town centre, operated by Buckinghamshire County Council.
The town is home to numerous clubs and associations including the Buckingham Society, a civic amenity society linked with Civic Voice, a large U3A with over 700 members, and many music, photography and arts clubs.
The town holds an annual Charter Fair. It is held in October over two successive Saturdays. During the 19th century it was called the Statute Fair. The public roasting of an ox, sheep and pig often took place at the same time.
The town's tourist attractions include the Chantry Chapel, the Buckingham Old Gaol museum, the Sir George Gilbert Scott St Peter & St Paul Church and a number of picturesque Georgian streetscapes. Nearby to Buckingham include Stowe School, Stowe Landscape Gardens and Silverstone Circuit.
Buckingham has a number of hotels including the Villiers Hotel and White Hart in the town centre, and Best Western Buckingham Hotel and Travelodge on the outskirts.
Buckingham is home to three GP surgeries and a community hospital. A minor injuries unit at the hospital was closed in 2009 and the nearest major hospital with an accident & emergency department is in Milton Keynes.St Bernardine's Catholic Church, Buckingham
Buckingham Evangelical Church
St Peter and St Paul, Buckingham (Church of England)
The Salvation Army
Well Street United Church, Buckingham (Methodist, Baptist and United Reformed Church)
John Bercow was elected Member of Parliament for Buckingham in 1997, and since 2009, Speaker of the House of Commons
Gillian Blake (actress)
Sir George Gilbert Scott (architect)
Robert Maxwell Member of Parliament for Buckingham 1964–70
Craig Pickering (Athlete) attended the Royal Latin School
David Pickering (writer)
Browne Willis Member of Parliament for Buckingham 1705–08
Sam Baldock (footballer) attended the Royal Latin School
George Baldock (footballer) attended the Royal Latin School
Bernie Marsden (musician) lives in Buckingham.
Wyndham Hazelton (cricketer)
David Eckhoff (writer) (resident 1978 -1980)
Buckingham has been twinned with Mouvaux, France since 2002 though previously with Joinville, France in the '60s.
Buckingham has a friendship treaty with the German town of Neukirchen-Vluyn, Mouvaux's twin town in Germany.