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


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

1 Decam Hawridge and Cholesbury schoolSchool
Christmas Bazaar
2 Dec9:30 am to 12:30
Stoney Lane
Commons Preservation Society
Working party
7 Dec8 pm St LPHLocal history group
Royal mistresses
11 Dec3 pm St LPH
Good Neighbours Group
Annual General Meeting
16 Dec9:30 am to 12:30
By Post Office Cottages
Commons Preservation Society
Working party
16 Dec6 pm St Leonard'sChurch
Carol Service
17 Dec8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
A Christmas Entertainment
19 Dec3 pm St Leonard's Church RoomChurch
Tea party
23 Dec6 pm St LaurenceChurch
Candlelit Carol Service
24 Dec5:30 pm St Mary'sChurch
Christmas Praise
24 Dec11:30 pm St Leonard'sChurch
Midnight Parish Communion
25 Dec10 am St Mary'sChurch
Christmas Communion
25 Dec11 am St Leonard'sChurch
Christmas Family Service
26 Dec11:30 am Cholesbury CommonHunt
Kimblewick Hunt Boxing Day meet


11 Jan 20198 pm St LPHLocal history group
The Great Stink
21 Jan8 pm St LPH Women's Institute
What's in your attic?
27 Jan9 am St Leonard'sChurch
Breakfast service
01 Feb8 pm St LPHLocal history group
Duke of Windsor
18 Feb8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
Making crime pay!
01 Mar8 pm St LPHLocal history group
The great British poster artists
18 Mar8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
Sitting down yoga
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
20 May8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
17 Jun8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
Colour and style
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
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.