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Buckinghamshire

Buckinghamshire (bŭkˈĭng-əmshĭr) [key], Buckingham, or Bucks, county (1991 pop. 619,500), 727 sq mi (1,883 sq km), central England. The county seat is Aylesbury; the county is divided into four administrative districts: Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, South Bucks, and Wycombe. The Thames River forms part of the southern boundary of the county. In S Buckinghamshire are the chalky Chiltern Hills with their beech forests; furniture made from beechwood is one of the county's most notable manufactures. The area is largely agricultural; barley, wheat, oats, and beans are the chief crops of the fertile Vale of Aylesbury in N Buckinghamshire. Cattle, pigs, sheep, and poultry are raised farther south. Industries have developed in Aylesbury, High Wycombe, and Wolverton.

In ancient times Icknield Street and Watling Street crossed the county, which has extensive Roman and pre-Roman remains. Thomas Gray is buried at Stoke Poges, in the country churchyard that inspired his "Elegy." John Milton had a cottage for a time at Chalfont St. Giles, and the poet William Cowper spent many years at Olney. Also in Buckinghamshire are Hughenden Manor, home of the statesman Benjamin Disraeli; Checquers, a historic Tudor mansion and residence of British prime ministers since 1921; and Eton College, England's most famous public school.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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