St Matthew's Church, Buckley
|Alyn and Deeside|
Buckley is a town in Flintshire. It stands two miles from Mold and is contiguous with the nearby villages of Ewloe, Alltami and Mynydd Isa. The town is on the A549 road; the larger A55 road passes nearby.
Buckley is the largest town in Flintshire in terms of population after Connah's Quay. According to the 2001, the community had a total population of 14,568.
Notable nearby landmarks include Ewloe Castle.
Buckley is about six miles from the border with Cheshire to the east, in the lee of the Snowdonian mountain range to the west. Areas in the parish of Buckley outside the town centre include Bistre, Lane End, Padeswood, Buckley Mountain, Drury, Pentrobin, Bannel, Alltami, and Ewloe.
Although very few locals speak with a 'Buckley' accent nowadays, due to the comings and goings opf population and with the proliferation of television and radio, a few of the town's older citizens still speak in a form of the strongly accented dialect, full of colloquialisms, and often unintelligible to outsiders. The last remaining pure 'Buckley' speaker was noted linguist Dennis Griffiths, a Buckley resident, who died in 1972, and whose books are the main repository and record of the dialect. A few examples (mainly phonetic) are noted below:
- Wunst every blue moon - rarely occurring
- Thou fries me to death - the limit of boredom
- A lick and a promise - a quick wash
- Fasen the fost un fost - fasten the first one first
- The daddy on um aw - the best of the lot
- Husht thee naise - be quiet
- I conna meke thee out - I can't understand you
- Chunner - Complain
- Church in Wales:
- St Matthew's Church: the oldest parish church in the town, consecrated in 1822.
- Bistre Emannuel Parish Church: built in 1842, though it may look much older due to its early Gothic-style architecture.
- Bistre Methodist
- Bryn Methodist
- Buckley Cross Methodist
- Drury Lane Methodist
- Pentrobin Methodist
- United Reformed Church:
- Roman Catholic: Our Lady of the Rosary
The first Primitive Methodist church in Wales is on the outskirts of Buckley, in Alltami. St John's United Reformed Church was originally a chapel known as "Chapel in the Meadow", set up by a noncomformist pottery owner, Jonathan Catherall. In 1737. Catherall received special dispensation from Lord Hawkesbury, after whom he named his house, to hold services at his house. As the Church forbade chapels from having bells, he built a bell tower in the grounds of his home. The site of this unique non-conformist bell tower is marked by a mound and plaque near the skate park at the Elfed Sports Complex.
Buckley was an Anglo-Saxon town, with some of its houses later recorded amongst the Cheshire entries in the Domesday Book of 1086. However, the first documented evidence of Buckley as such is from 1294 when it was described as the pasturage of the Manor of Ewloe, and spelled as "Bokkeley".
The name Buckley may derive from the Old English boc leag, meaning "beech meadow". The name could likewise have come from bucc leag, "buck meadow", though a Welsh for bwlch y clai ("clay hole") has been suggested.
In 1420, King Henry V presented Ewloe and the pastorage of Buckley to his wife, Catherine of Valois, as a wedding present. It was worth £26 a year.
The town became an industrial town for pottery and coal mining between the 17th and 19th centuries. The first was opened in 1737. However, it only grew into any kind of prominence during the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century, when coal and clay were extensively mined there, and the name Buckley's name became known for the production of various fire-clay and pottery products. By the early 19th century, there were 14 potteries in the town.
Buckley was a popular location for mining, as there were many faults in local rock formations that allowed seams of coal to be mined directly from the surface. Its heavy, clay soil also allowed for excellent pottery and bricks to be manufactured. Bricks from Buckley were transported all across the United Kingdom and as far as the United States, as Buckley became a brickworking centre. Many people moved into the area, particularly from Ireland and Liverpool to find work in the mining and brick industries, giving the town a distinctive accent. Much pottery and earthenware made here was taken on the backs of donkeys to either Chester market or exported by way of the River Dee, as early as the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The last pottery kiln was fired in 1946. The site of the brickworks is now being redeveloped as a housing estate. However, a local cement works is still in operation.
In 1932, a tradition started in Buckley of running an annual pantomime. Dennis Griffiths produced a version of Dick Whittington in 1933, and ran the pantomime for 27 years, famously using the programme to invite any and all complaints to arrive written "on the back of a 10 shilling note (non-returnable)".
In the Second World War, a German aeroplane, most likely on its way to bomb Liverpool was shot down and crash landed in a nearby district, the plane's engine crashing into a small lake known locally as 'The Trap'. The pilot survived, captured by a Special Constable, Peter Griffiths and taken to Hawarden Prisoner of War camp.
The Hanson Cement works at Padeswood is the only large scale industry remaining in the town. Its 200-foot kiln is now the major landmark on the skyline, visible from many miles away, though considered by many an eyesore.
Buckley has a large area of common land, known simply as 'The Common'. It has a large playground for children, as well as a duck pond. A funfair visits during the Buckley Jubilee in the summer, usually on the second Tuesday of July, which is the town jubilee.
There is also a small lake, known as 'The Trap', which is stocked with coarse fish. A Luftwaffe Messerschmitt bomber crashed into the Trap during Second World War, shot down by anti-aircraft fire after going off course after a bombing run over Liverpool. The land is primarily heavy clay soil. Etna Park, which is just a short walk from the town centre, is part of the Heritage Trail walk in the area.
The Buckley Jubilee is a regional celebration and march, which is celebrated on the second Tuesday of July. Though over 200 years old, its 150th was celebrated 11 July 2006. The difference in dates stems from the 'official' date being set when the Buckley Temperance Society first sanctioned the march. The Jubilee is a ceremonial march that begins on "The Common", a large area of common ground owned by the people of the town used for leisure and recreational purposes. The term 'jubilee' was first used in 1871.
On the Common starting at around 3 pm is a non-denominational Service led by the Minister of the Church or Chapel leading the Jubilee that year. The leading church is presented with the Centenary Shield, which they hold for the year. A 15 minutes service takes place, with two hymns accompanied by the Royal Buckley Town Band. The march then leaves the common, and marches through the town, with representatives from the local Sunday Schools, Scout and Guide troops, and many of the local schools. Banners from each of the local churches are carried.
Royal Buckley Town Band
Buckley has a famous brass band, the Royal Buckley Town Band. The band is one of only two in the entire United Kingdom to have received sanction from a British monarch to use "Royal" in their name. They lead the Jubilee every year.
- "History of Buckley". Buckley Town Council. 14 August 2009. http://www.buckleytc.org.uk/index.php?Home:History. Retrieved 2 September 2009.
- About Buckley. Buckley History Society. http://www.buckleysociety.org.uk/about_buckley.htm. Retrieved 2 September 2009
- Buckley Jubilee Procession. Gathering the Jewels. http://www.gtj.org.uk/en/item1/20428. Retrieved 5 August 2005
- Dialect extracts are taken from Dennis Griffiths' book Talk of My Town, Buckley Young People's Cultural Association, 1969. It can be borrowed from Buckley Library.
- Out of This Clay Dennis Griffiths 1960 Published by Gee and Son, Ltd., Denbigh
- The Making of Buckley and District by T.W. Pritchard, Bridge Books, 2006. ISBN 1-84494-031-4