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 (2021/22) 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 2021 – 2022 programme

Fri 1 Oct 2021

7:15 pm on Zoom
A study of Tudor underwear
Dr Nic Fulcher advises Shakespearean actors. He will offer a light-hearted journey into the hidden world of Tudor underwear, under all of that silk, satin and velvet.
Fri 5 Nov

7:15 pm on Zoom
WEST WYCOMBE PARK AND THE DASHWOODSPeter Hague is a volunteer guide at West Wycombe Park. He will look at this NT
property, the life-histories of three Baronets, including the infamous Hell-Fire Club.
Fri 3 Dec

7:15 pm on Zoom
MEDIEVAL STONEMASONSJames Wright is a freelance archaeological excavation project leader and academic
historian at Nottingham University focusing on medieval castles and royal palaces.
Fri 7 Jan 2022

8 pm St LPH
THINKING ABOUT LANDSCAPEAdam Smith is a lecturer specialising in architectural history and histories of the
English country house and estate. He gave an excellent talk on Tring Park last time.
Fri 4 Feb

8 pm St LPH
TREASURES FROM THE SOCIAL HISTORY COLLECTIONWill Phillips became a curator at the Buckinghamshire County Museum in 2008.
He returns following an enthralling talk last season on the life of Arthur Liberty.
Fri 4 Mar

8 pm St LPH
ARTS & CRAFTS ARCHITECTURE IN CHESHAM BOIS & AMERSHAM - The role of the Matthews family Builders and BrickmakersAlison Bailey is a resident of Chesham Bois, volunteer researcher at Amersham
Museum and frequently writes local history articles for the Bucks Free Press.
Fri 1 Apr

8 pm St LPH
BEACONS OF THE PAST - Investigating a prehistoric Chilterns landscape including Cholesbury CampWendy Morrison is manager of this Hillforts project at the Conservation Board. A
chance to hear about the project’s discoveries and conservation work at the Camp.
Fri 13 May

CVH 7:30 pm
AGM followed by MARSWORTH POLISH HOSTEL, 1948-1961Sandra Costello is Archivist for the Parish of Marsworth. She lives close to the
Hostel site and was involved in the erection of an information board in 2019.

All meetings for 2021/22 are via Zoom video conference at 7:15 for 7:45 pm

Members will be sent full access instructions before each meeting.

(Except perhaps the AGM at Cholesbury Village Hall at 7:30 pm sharp)

Adult Membership: £10 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


2 Aug6 pm St LPHParish council
21 Aug9 am St Leonards Church RoomChurch
Breakfast service
24 Aug3 pm St Leonards Church RoomChurch
Tea@Three - tea party
29 Aug 1:30 to 4:30 pm Cholesbury commonSummer fete
Hawridge and Cholesbury churches' fete
3 Sep2 pm Hawridge school
Horticultural Society
Annual horticultural show and craft fair
18 Sep9 am St Leonards Church RoomChurch
Breakfast service
19 Sep7:30 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
New England in the Fall
27 Sep6 pm St LPHParish council
Parish council meeting
17 Oct7:30 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
Annual Meeting
25 Oct6 pm St LPHParish council
Parish council meeting
21 Nov7:30 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
Locations of Downton Abbey
19 Dec7:30 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
The Jolly Jazzers

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

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