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 (2017/18) 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 2018 – 2019 programme

Fri 5 Oct 2018ARTISTS OF THE GREAT WARAnn Danks is an art historian and archivist of the Stanley Spencer Gallery. Ann returns to talk on Spencer’s contemporaries, all influenced by experiences of WWI.
Fri 2 NovARMISTICE 1918 AND AFTERStephen Barker works with a number of museums and lectures about military history. He returns to add a concluding chapter to the story of The Great War.
Fri 7 DecROYAL MISTRESSESRoger Powell is an author and professional genealogist. He’s a former editor of Burke’s Peerage, Director Debretts and researcher for the Royal College of Heralds.
Fri 11 Jan 2019THE GREAT STINKDr Tom Crook lectures on Modern History at Oxford
Brookes Univ. He will tell us about the Victorian engineers, their sewerage systems and their battle against dirt.
Tony Eaton returns with another unresolved story; one that’s split the opinions of historians. Recently opened archives have revealed hitherto unknown information.
Fri 1 MarTHE GREAT BRITISH POSTER ARTISTSGraham Twemlow writes and lectures on design history and decorative arts. His particular interest is illustrated posters from the mid 19th to the mid 20th Centuries.
Fri 12 AprTHE DRAKE FAMILY OF AMERSHAM: 400 YEARS OF HISTORYBarney Tyrwhitt-Drake is a LHG member. He will share research of the family’s influence on Amersham’s economy & architecture that has left a legacy to this day.
Fri 10 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


01 Mar8 pm St LPHLocal history group
The great British poster artists
02 Mar7:30 pm St LPHQuiz and supper
In aid of Cholesbury church
03 MarFrom dusk until dusk tomorrowClosure of permissive rides
Annual closure of rides on the Common
10 Mar9:30 am to 12:30 by Shepherd's CottageCommons Preservation Society
Working party
15 Mar7:30 pm CVHHorticultural Society
Butterflies of the Chilterns and how to encourage them into your garden. Plus supper.
18 Mar8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
Sitting down yoga
24 Mar9:30 am to 12:30 by Shepherd's CottageCommons Preservation Society
Working party
27 Mar3 pm St Leonards churchChurch
Tea party
31 Mar10 am St Leonards churchMothering Sunday service
Joint four-parish service with breakfast at 9 am
12 Apr8 pm St LPHLocal history group
The Drake family of Amersham
15 Apr8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
An actor and film extra's life
10 May7:30 pm CVHLocal history group
AGM plus Hilltop Villages through a lens
17 May1 to 3 pm Sunnyside Nursery NorthchurchHorticultural Society
Members visit to Sunnyside Nursery
20 May8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
1 Jun2 pm St LPH St Leonards village fete
Horse Show from 9:30 am
Dog Show from 1 pm
17 Jun8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
Colour and style
19 Jun8:30 am to 6:30 pm Coach tripHorticultural Society
Day visit to Rooksnest, Lambourne, private NGS garden, and Malverleys.
21 Jun5:30 to 7:30 pm White Gate Cottage, Hastoe Horticultural Society
Members only open garden.
23 Jun pm Cholesbury Common by the PavilionVillage picnic
Commons Preservation Society and Cricket Club annual picnic
15 Jul8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
40th birthday anniversary
19 Aug8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
Social event
7 Sep8:30 am setup,
2:30 pm show Hawridge school
Horticultural Society
Annual horticultural, cookery, craft and flower show
16 Sep8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
Members evening
21 Oct8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
Annual Meeting
15 Nov7:30 pm CVHHorticultural Society
AGM, supper and quiz
18 Nov8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
All that glisters...
16 Dec8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
A Christmas Entertainment

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

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