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 (2022/23) 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 2022 – 2023 programme

Fri 14 Oct 2022

Fri 4 Nov

7:30 pm St LPH
In Bucks and Herts
Cathy Soughton is a local expert in Rothschild buildings, estate cottages, lodges and public buildings built in the 19th century and, as she is Wendover-based, she knows our area very well
Fri 2 Dec

7:30 pm St LPH
In the Amersham area
Briony Hudson is the newly appointed Director of Amersham Museum, and has a particular expertise in medical histories. She will cast a new perspective on health and disease in this part of Buckinghamshire
Fri 6 Jan 2023

7:30 pm on Zoom
SECRET PASSAGES AND HIDDEN TUNNELSWe are pleased to welcome back James Wright, who gave an excellent presentation last year. James is an archaeologist and historian of medieval buildings and everyday life of that period. This talk lifts the lid on the truth and myths surrounding buildings and their connections to other buildings in their local community
Fri 3 Feb

7:30 pm St LPH
THE HISTORY OF BERKHAMSTEDJulian Hunt is our most regular returning speaker. This talk was given only a few months ago to commemorate the 800th anniversary of St Peter’s Church, Berkhamsted, and we now have the opportunity to hear about Julian’s recent research
Fri 3 Mar

7:30 pm St LPH
Amerham photographer
Pete Healy is a volunteer, a trustee and energetic researcher for Amersham Museum. His talk tells the story of the life of George Ward, the well known Amersham photographer for around 50 years, and which spanned the reigns of Victoria, Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII and George VI.
Fri 14 Apr

7:30 pm St LPH
Rural workwear of the 19th century
Discover Bucks Museum has an extensive collection of fabrics and garments from Buckinghamshire history. Will Phillips is curator of this archive and, as those who attended his talk last year know, he is best-placed to display and explain the history of these artefacts from our recent past
Fri 12 May

7:30 pm Cholesbury village hall
AGM followed by a talk - Home fires and havens
Alison Bailey's talk last year on arts and crafts buildings went down a storm with our members, so we have quickly welcomed her back. This talk will cover the mid-20th century history of the wider Amersham area

All meetings for 2022/23 are at 7:30 for 7:45 pm

Members will be sent full access instructions before each meeting.

Adult Membership: £8 per year
School students: Free
Visitors always welcome: £4 per meeting

Please contact Chris Brown 01494 758890 for further information, and Richard Leat (leatrj@yahoo.co.uk) for Zoom invites




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


1 Jun6 to 7:30 pm Beechwood Farm LodgeHorticultural society
Members only open garden
3 Jun1 to 4:30 pm St LPHSummer fete
St Leonards village fete
18 Jun9 am St Leonards churchChurch
Breakfast service
19 Jun7:30 pm St LPHWomen's institute
20 Jun6:30 pm St LPHParish council meeting
5 Jul1 to 4:30 pm St LPHHorticultural society
Coach trip to RHS Hyde Hall
16 Jul9 am St Leonards churchChurch
Breakfast service
11 Aug6 pm MontanaHorticultural society
New members party
28 Aug2 pm CVHSummer fete
Hawridge & Cholesbury churches fete
2 Sep2 pm Hawridge schoolHorticultural society
Annual horticultural show and craft fair


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

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