Local History Group

Cholesbury-cum-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 (2019/20) 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

Programme of events

Local History Group 2019 – 2020 programme

Fri 4 Oct 2019BUCKINGHAMSHIRE MURDERSDr Jonathan Oates is Ealing Borough’s Archivist and Local History Librarian. He writes books on London and Home Counties history, including their criminal past.
Fri 1 NovTHE OXFORD OF INSPECTOR MORSEAlistair Lack is a freelance journalist and tour guide of Oxford and the University.
Fri 6 DecTHE DUKE OF WINDSOR - ROYAL TRAITOR OR NAZI DUPE?Tony Eaton returns with another unresolved story; one that’s split the opinions of historians. Recently opened archives have revealed hitherto unknown information.
Fri 10 Jan 2020GRAHAM GREENE’S BERKHAMSTEDBrian Shepherd, his son Richard and Judy Mead who all take part in the Graham Greene Berkhamsted annual festival provide a commentary on Greene’s early life.
Fri 7 FebSEX, DRUGS AND TAPEWORMS Kevin Varty will use contemporary magazine and newspaper adverts to illustrate cures for all kinds of illnesses, most of which have to be seen to be believed! A light-hearted look at Victorian consumerism.
Fri 6 MarTHE ROTHSCHILDS OF TRINGTim Amsden, has recently published a book on the wealthy Rothschild family who purchased Tring Park Estate and built the remarkable Zoological Museum.
Fri 3 AprBEER, SAUSAGES & MARMALADELiz Woolley, an Oxford historian and tour guide will talk about food, brewing, tourism and politics plus the powerful families who held sway in 19th-century Oxford
Fri 15 May at CVH 7:30 pmAGM and HILLTOP VILLAGES THROUGH A LENSA chance to view examples from the LHG archive on how the camera has captured images illustrating the history of our villages. Followed by the Members’ social.

All meetings are at St Leonards Parish hall at 8:00 pm for 8:15pm
(except AGM at Cholesbury Village Hall at 7:30 pm sharp)

Adult Membership: £10 per year
School students: Free
Visitors always welcome: £4 per meeting

Coffee, tea and biscuits are served after the talks
Please contact Chris Brown 01494 758890 for further information


The Local History Group has published several articles here as well as in their Newsletter.


A history of Cholesbury & St Leonards parish – From Danish tax collectors to Chiltern District Council

Iron Age hill fort – An Iron Age Hill fort in our midst

Cholesbury and the Poor Laws – Bankruptcy strikes in the Chilterns

The Putnams of Hawridge and Cholesbury – Our connection to the New Colonies

Pubs in the Hilltop Villages – The hilltop villages were  thirsty places in years gone by

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

Beating the Bounds – When walking round in circles makes good sense.

Grim’s Ditch – Neither grim nor really a ditch

Cholesbury village hall – “Men’s Club”, as was

The Millennium Map project

Field names survey

The Baldwins of Connecticut – How a family fled persecution to find a New Haven across the Pond

The Reverend William Day – an extraordinary case!

Mr Gilbert, I presume

The Battle of Trafalgar – a local hero

What’s On


Horticultural Society
Annual horticultural show and craft fair
11 Sep6 to 8 pm The Allen'sHorticultural Society
Members' evening open garden visit. In aid of CVH.
21 Sep8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
Britain through the seasons
19 Oct8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
Annual Meeting. Competition: A dessert to share
16 Nov8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
Flowers for Christmas
20 Nov7:30 pm CVHHorticultural Society
AGM, supper and quiz
21 Dec8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
Magic, fun and laughter

St LPH = St Leonards Parish Hall
CVH = Cholesbury Village Hall

To submit events for inclusion here please use the contact form.