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Cholesbury & St Leonard's Local History Group

Cholesbury-&-St Leonard's Local History Group is an amateur society founded in the early Sixties to stimulate interest in the Hilltop Villages. A regular feature has been the talks by guest speakers, be they acknowledged experts or enthusiastic amateurs, and the emphasis is naturally on subjects local to the Chilterns.

No one who delves into history comes away without regretting a lack of documentation on some aspect or other. The Group has built up a fairly substantial archive of local documents, maps and photographs but this can never be complete and additions from any source are welcome, however trivial they may seem. Help us to record today what may not exist tomorrow, whether it be a building or a bus service!

You can read the programme for this year's (2015/16) talks here.

Contacting the Local History Group

The Local History Group welcomes enquiries from those interested in the history of the area; the people who once lived here, the buildings, the places and events. We are interested in hearing about any information relating to your family members you are researching and can help with any photographs you might need interpreting. Although we are not a Genealogy Society we will endevour to answer your questions, though we recommend you contact the Buckinghamshire Family History Society who are best placed to deal with family history.

If you would like to contact the Local History Group our email address is localhistorygroup@cholesbury.com


An excellent newsletter is published on a regular basis for members.

Local history newsletter

No. 16: 2012/13 No. 17: 2013/14 No. 18: 2014/15
No. 13: 2009/10 No. 14: 2010/11 No. 15: 2011/12
No. 10: 2006/07 No. 11: 2007/08 No. 12: 2008/09
No. 7: 2003/04 No. 8: 2004/05 No. 9: 2005/06
No. 4: 2000/01 No. 5: 2001/02 No. 6: 2002/03
No. 1: 1997/98 No. 2: 1998/99 No. 3: 1999/2k

(These files are in PDF format. For free reader software download Acrobat from Adobe if you don't already have it.)


Local History Site Index

This year's Programme of Events

From Danish tax collectors to Chiltern District Council - a history of the parish

An Iron Age Hill fort in our midst - Prehistoric Settlements

Bankruptcy strikes in the Chilterns - Cholesbury and the Poor Laws

Our connection to the New Colonies - The Putnam Family

History of the Pubs in the Parish - it appears that the hilltop villages were very thirsty places in years gone by.

What story can these hedgerows tell about the history of our locality?

"Beating the Bounds" - when walking round in circles makes good sense.

Neither grim nor really a ditch - Grim's Ditch

"Men's Club", as was - Cholesbury Village Hall

The latest information about the Field Names Survey

How a family fled persecution to find a New Haven across the "Pond" - The Baldwins of Connecticut-cum-St Leonards

The extraordinary case of Reverend William Day

Mr Gilbert, I presume!

A Cholesbury hero at the Battle of Trafalgar


2015 - 2016 programme

Fri 2 October 2015

St Leonards
Parish Hall

Edward Jenner, Napoleon and Blossom the Cow

Paul Chamberlain is a scientist and historian of the Napoleonic era. He will be telling us how an English scientist was able to impress Bonaparte with his discoveries.

Fri 6 November

St Leonards
Parish Hall

The failure of Magna Carta

Harvey Watson is an historian and co-author of several books. Far from the oft given impression, its signing led not to new rights and protections but to further squabbles.

Fri 4 December

St Leonards
Parish Hall

Shackleton's Endurance Expedition

Roger Slade is a photographer, expert on Shackleton, and a frequent visitor to the Antarctic. 2015 marks one hundred years since the expedition team became marooned.

Fri 8 January 2016

St Leonards
Parish Hall

The Rudolf Hess Cover-up

Tony Eaton has a special interest in unravelling the unresolved air mysteries of WW2, particularly where the authorities are still refusing to fully open up their files.

Fri 5 February

St Leonards
Parish Hall

Chiltern Commons - their contribution to our heritage

Gary Marshall is a Regional Archaeologist for the National Trust and has recently completed a research project into the importance of the Chiltern Commons.

Fri 4 March

Village Hall

The Inns of Court Officer Training Corps at Berkhamsted

Norman Groves led the archaeological investigation of the Berkhamsted area, locating the trenches used for training by the 'Devil's Own' between 1914-18.

Fri 1 April

Village Hall

Rothschild money moving a mountain - Waddesdon's Gardens between 1874 and 1922

Catherine Taylor, Head Archivist, will reveal this story with an illustrated talk on the creation of these gardens.

Fri 13 May


Village Hall
7:30 pm sharp

AGM plus
Hilltop Hamlet - A short history of Hastoe

David Ridgwell Local historian, and past Chairman of the LHG, will talk on his discoveries about the people and everyday events of our close neighbour in Herts.

All meetings at 8:00 pm for 8:15pm
(except AGM 7:30 pm sharp)

Adult Membership: £10.00 per year
Junior Membership (below school minimum leaving age): Free
Visitors always welcome: £4.00 per meeting

Coffee, tea and biscuits are served after the talks

Please contact Chris Brown 01494 758890 for further information

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