Buckmaster family

The Buckmasters arrived in Chalfont St Giles in about 1700 but had strong links to the Watford area. They were frequently butchers and became a long term family in the parish.

The Buckmasters do not appear in the Chalfont St Giles registers before 1699 when a Mary Buckmaster is baptised. She is the child of John Buck master and Susan His wife. He was the son of Joseph Buckmaster of Watford (from his will at Herts RO and she was the daughter of Roger Ewer wheelwright of Chalfont St Giles.( From St Anns Soho Middx marriage register 1698.)
John and Susan had a number of other children including a John, a Joseph and a Roger. This Roger Buckmaster son of John and Susan and who died 1752, is probably the Roger Buckmaster who on 15 May 1738 acquired a cottage in the town of Chalfont St Giles from Francis Hare of the Vache for £60. He left a will leaving his property to his wife Jane and then to his only child also Jane. (CBS We/84/188.)

From a 19th century document which contains a transcript from the Buckmaster family Bible (BAS 779/38) we have some information on the family of John (bap. 5 Sept 1705 son of John and Susan), his wife Mary Gardiner of Weston Turville, and their children.

They appear to have strong links to Watford and its environs where there are many other Buckmaster families. Many are butchers and this trade remains a traditional one for them including their eldest son John (b.13/2/1736 d.13/2/1786) who went back to Watford as a butcher, their third son Roger (b.24/1/1741 d.11/6/1806 bur. Chalfont St Giles) who went to Kensington as a butcher, the fourth son Joseph (b.12/1/1742 d.1/4/1794), who remained in Chalfont St Giles and married Jane Clark, and a fifth son James (b.4/3/1744 d.1780), who went to Rickmansworth, all as butchers. The second son Benjamin (b.18/9/1737 d.11/1/1819), remained in Chalfont St Giles as a farmer according to the above source but on the deed of 29 May 1777 relating to Stonewells he is also said to be a butcher of Watford.

Mary, or her husband John, leased Stonewells q.v. prior to 1750. John died in 1747 and so Mary is occupying Stonewells as a widow in 1750. ( Ref. 25 June Indenture of Lease of Stonwells, in possession of current owner of Stonewells.)

The following events then occurred.

29 May 1777. Mary buys Stonewells from Robert Hare at auction for £1,029 of which £700 was through a mortgage.

1779 June. Mary Buckmaster died leaving John Buckmaster the eldest son as her heir. (CBS We/103/41.)

1781 March. John Buckmaster who had inherited the property, sold it to his brother Roger Buckmaster for £300 plus the outstanding mortgage of £735. From the land tax returns it appears Benjamin returned from Watford to farm the property.(One can speculate that Roger had the funds to buy out John whereas Benjamin did not.)

1783 March. Roger Buckmaster redeems the mortgage.

1797 June. Roger Buckmaster sells the property to John Bagwill through a nominee, William Mittou. Benjamin remained farming the property until his death 17/1/1819 when it was taken over by his nephew Joseph, son of his brother James. (Benjamin's Will CBS AR70/97.). This was at the time of the post Napoleonic war depression and with the Will is a Legacy Duty statement which shows Benjamin's estate only realised £569 but its debts were £693.

Joseph, who was a butcher in Chalfont St Giles, married Jane Clark and had at least one son, William who also became a local butcher. He in turn died in 1837 leaving all to his wife Ann for her life and then his son Thomas and five daughters.

John and Mary had three daughters; Hannah (b.21/6/1730) the eldest, Mary (b.10/8/1734), and Frances (b.8/4/1746).

Hannah married John Hearn wheelwright and had a son and grandson both named John Hearn. She also had a daughter Mary who married James Coleman.

The descendants of the Buckmaster family traded locally until about 1860, a Joseph as a beer seller at Three Households and Ann as a butcher in the centre of the village. After this time any descendants in the village were private residents, although other descendants continued as butchers up to the 1960s.

A William Buckmaster from Chalfont St Giles volunteered as a seaman in the Royal Navy on 18 April 1854. (Nat. Archives ADM 130/110.)

Updated August 2019.

REFERENCES. Unless otherwise specified, all references given above refer to catalogue references at the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies at Aylesbury. (County Record Office)

This print is a section of the Chalfont History website.   www.chalfonthistory.co.uk

John Dodd ©2013