NNWFHS Meetings & Events

Josiah Buckler - Butcher, Methodist and Poet
By Peter Lawes (Deceased)

Webmaster's note: Sadly, having forwarded this article to me for publication on this website, Mr Lawes died in May 2012. The article has been published with the kind permission of his family but with the request that they are not contacted for further information regarding Mr Lawes family history research. Thank you.


Click here to view a pdf file of Mr Lawes' Buckler descendancy chart.

Josiah Buckler was born in September 1851, the oldest son of Robert Buckler and Maria Whitecroft. 

Robert, a farmer and a butcher, lived in the Stockingford area of Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Josiah was raised as a Methodist at Chapel End, Hartshill. This influenced  his whole life and, although he was a successful business man, he was, in reality, a born student. His mother worked hard to keep him at the local Grammar School, which was run by a Quaker, but on leaving school he was  apprenticed to a butcher in a nearby town, before moving to County Durham, and then to South Wales where he met and married Mary Allender.

Josiah Buckler Advertisement from 1881 for Josiah Buckler, Butcher
Josiah Buckler Advertisement from Cawthorne's Family Almanack 1881 Josiah & Mary Buckler and family 

Josiah acquired premises at 10 Abbey Street, Nuneaton a few months before his marriage, acting on his mother’s advice that it was better to buy than rent, and commenced the butcher’s business that was to be his sole occupation for the next 26 years. During the next 10 years they had 9 children. 

He and Sidwell (a Draper from Nuneaton), were dissatisfied with the Methodist Church despite being officers.  In particular they were unhappy about the influence of  Modernism.  Both of them were men who took their Christian faith very seriously indeed.    Through a commercial traveller they had learned about the Brethren movement and after attending an annual assembly in Leominster they founded the meeting in Nuneaton.  

Each week he set aside money from the sale of skins, fat and bones until he had sufficient savings to stock a small farm, which he christened Tom Thumb Farm.  He wanted to sell smaller joints than those produced by the Lincoln bullocks which came to Leicester Market, so he bought Hereford cows and slaughtered their calves at an early age.   After his wife Mary had given birth to two children he contracted typhoid fever, which drove most of his business away.  Days of great hardship followed, and matters were made worse when in 1888 his house, shop, pig-stys, yard and other buildings were infected with swine flu and a court order meant that most had to be destroyed, although one brood sow and her piglets was isolated in a country field, which he rented. (see note 1 below for a transcription of the order).  

It is also recorded that he was blind in one eye, but it is not clear how this came about.

He was a prolific poet and in 1894 produced  'Poems from the Countryside' published by Wilson.   In addition to this he wrote a number of hymns.   He had a great interest in all that went on around him, especially in his own family and his wisdom was apparent to all.  He used to say that two heads were better than one, even if they were only sheep’s heads!

It must have been a huge shock to the family when on 17th May 1904 he passed away at the young age of 52 especially as he had not been ill and appeared to be in good health when he went to bed the previous evening.   

The family had 3 maidservants (one at a time!) - Hannah, Mary and Kate and an older widow who came in each day but lived in her own cottage.   He, left £4855 12s 9p in his will.                                                                                                      

Hymn written by Josiah Buckler   
 Mary Buckler with her daughter Ada Lawes and grandchild Frank Lawes 

Note 1.
THE LONDON GAZETTE, JUNE 1, 1888.  (SWINE-FEVER.)                                                                      
The Council Chamber, Whitehall, the 1st day of June, 1888.                                                                              
By Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council.                                                                                    
Lords and others of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, by virtue and exercise of the powers in them vested under the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Acts, 1878 to 1886, and of every other power enabling them in this behalf, do order, and it is hereby ordered, as 'follows :
1. The limits of the following Place which is declared by order of the Local Authority acting in and for the county of Warwick, dated the twenty- fifth day of May, one thousand eight hundred and eighty-eight, to be a Place infected with swine-fever (namely), - the pig-stys at the rear of the Weavers Arms Public House in the occupation of Andrew Bull, and the house, butcher's shop, pig-stys, and other buildings, and yard adjoining, in the occupation of Josiah Buckler, both. situate in Abbey-street, in the parish of Nuneaton, in the Atherstone Division of the county of Warwick, - are hereby contracted or altered so as to include the Place as described in the Schedule to this Order, and the Place so described in the Schedule to this Order shall from and after the commencement of this Order be deemed to be the Place declared by the said owner of the Local Authority to be a Place infected with swine-fever.
2. This Order shall take effect from and immediately after the second day of June, one thousand eight hundred and eighty-eight.
C. L. Peel.
SCHEDULE.   A Place comprising the pig-stys at the rear of the Weavers Arms Public House in the occupation of Andrew Bull, and the house, pig-stys, and other buildings (except the butcher's-shop and slaughter-house), and yard adjoining, in the occupation of Josiah Buckler, both situate in Abbey-street, in the parish of Nuneaton, in the Atherstone Division of the county of Warwick.

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