Buckland was born on August 14, 1734, in Oxford, England, the son of Francis Buckland, a farmer, and Mary Dunsdown Buckland. At age thirteen on April 5, 1748, with his fee paid as a charitable act by the University School of Oxford, he was apprenticed to an uncle in London, James Buckland, a member of the Worshipful Company of Joiners. Less than a year later this uncle died, and Buckland continued his training under a new master, John Whiteaves, a carpenter and fellow native of Oxford.
In 1755 Buckland completed his training, which included exposure to the latest English architecture and pattern books. Skilled craftsmen with such a background were much in demand in the American colonies, where potential clients were anxious to import the best English goods and services. On August 4, 1755, Buckland signed an indenture in London with Thomson Mason, brother of George Mason, who was building a new house in Fairfax County. Buckland spent the next four years finishing Gunston Hall, George Mason's plantation house, and creating its interior details. Buckland's work at Gunston Hall has long been known, but much of his original work decorating the interior was lost, making the extent of his design influence on the house uncertain. Twentieth-century investigations uncovered many of the details created under his direction and executed by the craftsmen whom he supervised. By the time Buckland's contract ended, Gunston Hall was a tastefully finished residence exhibiting elegant classical details. On November 8, 1759, George Mason marked the conclusion of Buckland's service by praising him as "a complete Master of the Carpenter's & Joiner's Business, both in Theory & in Practice."
In 1771 Buckland moved to Annapolis, probably at the urging of Tayloe's son-in-law Edward Lloyd. Buckland quickly proved his ability as a designer and architect. A wealthy merchant and planter, Lloyd had purchased a half-finished brick house in Maryland's capital. Buckland agreed to complete its construction and designed the striking decorative details that distinguish the interior. In 1774 he began a new house for Mathias Hammond, his only known opportunity to design and build a house from the beginning. The Hammond-Harwood House, as it is now known, attests to Buckland's knowledge of English Palladianism and the current fashion in decoration. It also demonstrates his talent for design. The house is visually pleasing in scale and proportion and also rich in high-style decoration.
Buckland evidently designed a courthouse for Maryland's new county of Caroline. He probably attended a meeting convened at Melvills Warehouse in that county on November 16 and 17, 1774, for contractors bidding to erect the new structure. Buckland died, probably on Maryland's Eastern Shore, sometime before December 15, 1774, when the sale of his estate was advertised. His burial place is unknown.
August 14, 1734 - William Buckland is born in Oxford, England.
April 5, 1748 - William Buckland is apprenticed to an uncle in London who is a member of the Worshipful Company of Joiners.
August 4, 1755 - English craftsman William Buckland signs an indenture agreement with Thomson Mason, brother of George Mason, to oversee ongoing work at Gunston Hall.
1758 or 1759 - William Buckland and Mary Moore marry. They will have two sons and two daughters.
1759 - George Mason completes an elegant mansion, Gunston Hall, on Dogue's Neck. Noted architect William Buckland has designed the interior, and Gunston Hall will remain Mason's home for the rest of his life.
November 8, 1759 - George Mason praises William Buckland as "a complete Master of the Carpenter's & Joiner's Business, both in Theory & in Practice."
1761 - William Buckland moves to Richmond County and later purchases a small farm there.
1771 - William Buckland moves to Annapolis, Maryland, working there as a designer and architect.
1774 - William Buckland begins design and construction of a house for Mathias Hammond, in Maryland.
November 16–17, 1774 - Contractors meet at Melvills Warehouse in Caroline County, Maryland, to bid on a contract to erect a new courthouse. The building's designer is William Buckland.
Before December 15, 1774 - William Buckland dies, probably on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
Cite This Entry
- APA Citation:
Brand, B. A., & the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. William Buckland (1734–by December 15, 1774). (2016, January 6). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Buckland_William_1734-by_December_15_1774.
- MLA Citation:
Brand, Barbara Allston and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. "William Buckland (1734–by December 15, 1774)." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 6 Jan. 2016. Web. READ_DATE.
First published: December 8, 2015 | Last modified: January 6, 2016
Contributed by Barbara Allston Brand and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography.