Buckinghamshire was frontier territory a thousand or so years ago, the eastern edge of the Saxon Kingdom of Wessex. The counties boundaries were set by 10th Century war lords and tax collectors, whose task it was to find the men and money to equip a new fortress at Buckingham, to fight off the invading Danes. The campaign proved very successful and the castle at Buckingham soon became redundant. Today there is little sign that it ever existed.
The Roman influence on Buckinghamshire is most widely felt in the Roman roads that cross the county. Watling Street and Akeman Street both cross the county from east to west, linking London with other parts of Roman Britain. The Icknield Way follows the line of the Chiltern Hills and was most likely used as a line of defence.
William the Conquerer took over most of the manors in Bucks for his and his family"s personal use and many of the ancient woodland areas became the king"s property for hunting purposes.
Almost a third of the county became the personal property of Henry VIII in 1536 during the Dissolution of the Monastries. Henry VIII was also responsible for making Aylesbury the county town over Buckingham, which he did to please Thomas Boleyn with the view to marrying his daughter Anne.
During the English Civil War (1642-1649) Buckinghamshire was mostly Parliamentarian. Parliamentarian people"s hero John Hampden was from the county. Constant conflict was in occurrance between Aylesbury and Royalist Oxford, and some villages to the west of the county (Brill and Boarstall for example) suffered hugely and were largely destroyed during this period.
The arrival of the Industrial Revolution and hence the railway gave rise to a new era in Bucks. Furniture and paper industries took hold in the south of the county. In the centre , the lace industry was introduced and grew rapidly, because of its nature as a cottage industry, giving employment to women and children.
The Buckinghamshire Coat of Arms shows a badge which depicts a swan with a Duke"s coronet around its neck. This was the badge of the ancient family of De Bohn, and of the Giffards who were Earls of Buckingham, and then of the Staffords who were the first Dukes of Buckingham. The shield has supporters on each side: a buck on the left to represent the north of the county and a swan on the right to represent the south of the county. The shield is topped with a beech tree (a most distinguising feature of the Chilterns) with a Saxon Crown round its base to indicate the county"s Saxon beginnings. The county"s moto is adopted from Buckinghamshire patriot John Hampden and translates as "No retreat" or "We never go backward".
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