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 2017 – 2018 programme

Fri 6 Oct 2017CALL THE MIDWIFEPhilip Worth and Suzannah Hart are husband and daughter of the late Jennifer Worth a midwife whose book about her life is the inspiration for the BBC Drama.
Fri 3 NovANGLO SAXON TREASURE - UNRAVELLING THE LENBOROUGH HOARDSDr Susan Fern worked as an archaeologist, lecturer and museum conservator. Currently she is the Honorary Curator of the Old Gaol Museum in Buckingham.
Fri 1 DecBUCKINGHAMSHIRE IN THE CIVIL WARStephen Barker is an independent Heritage Advisor who works with a number of museums, universities and heritage organisations curating and lecturing about wars.
Fri 5 Jan 2018INVASION 1940 - WHAT IF?Tony Eaton has a special interest in unravelling the unresolved mysteries of WW2 particularly where the authorities are still refusing to open up their files.
Fri 2 FebTHE RUSSELLS AND CHENIES PALACENicola Allen is archivist for the Bedford Estates, which includes Woburn and Chenies Palace. Prior to this she was archivist at Waddesdon Manor.
Fri 2 MarTHE HISTORY OF JOHN LEWISJudy Faraday joined John Lewis in 1977 and now runs the purpose built Heritage Centre in Cookham which contains the Partnership's business and textile archve.
Fri 6 AprBUCKINGHAMSHIRE SPIES AND SUBSERVIVESDenise Beddows is a Bucks-based researcher with an interest in history and as DJ Kelly writes biographies and non-fiction. Her latest book is the title of this talk.
Fri 11 May at CVH 7:30 pmAGM plus BRITAIN ON FILM: COAST AND SEA Lets's go to the seaside! Sit back and enjoy a nostalgic trip to our gorgeous coast seeing Britain at work, rest and play. Followed by our social and member's buffet.

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

02 Feb8 pm St LPHLocal history group
The Russells and Chenies Palace
04 Feb9:30 am to 12:30 near Shepherds CottageCommons Preservation Society
Working party
18 Feb9:30 am to 12:30 near Rose and CrownCommons Preservation Society
Working party
18 Feb11 am to 1 pm Hawridge PlaceHorticultural Society
Snowdrops on Sunday
All welcome
19 Feb8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
King Zog I of Albania
26 Feb8 pm CVHParish Council
Parish council meeting
28 Feb3 pm St Leonards church roomChurch
Tea party
02 Mar8 pm St LPHLocal history group
The history of John Lewis
04 Mar9:30 am to 12:30 bottom of Horseblock LaneCommons Preservation Society
Working party
10 Mar7 pm St LPHQuiz night and supper
In aid of Cholesbury church
11 Mar10 am The Lee churchChurch
Mothers' Day service - joint four parish service
12 Marpm Hawridge churchChurch
Hawridge church PCC AGM
18 Mar9:30 am to 12:30 by Hawridge schoolCommons Preservation Society
Working party
19 Mar8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
The craft of millinery
23 Mar7:30 pm CVHHorticultural Society
Some like it hot
26 Mar8 pm St LPHParish Council
Parish council meeting
28 Mar3 pm St Leonards church roomChurch
Tea party
30 Mar10:30 am from St LeonardsChurch
Good Friday walk of witness
06 Apr8 pm St LPHLocal history group
Buckingham spies and subversives
16 Apr8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
The Ridgeway
11 May7:30 pm CVHLocal history group
AGM plus Britain on film: coast and sea
21 May8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
14 Jun6:30 to 8:30 pm Highcroft HouseHorticultural Society
Members only: Open garden
18 Jun8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
Blood, babies and bikers
27 Jun8:30 am to 6:30 pmHorticultural Society
Coach trip to Kelmarsh Hall and Cottesbrooke Hall
12 Jul6 to 7:30 pm SpringwoodHorticultural Society
Members only: Open garden
16 Jul8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
39th Birthday Meeting
20 Aug8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
Social event
1 Sep8:30 am setup,
2:30 pm show Hawridge school
Horticultural Society
Annual horticultural, cookery, craft and flower show
17 Sep8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
Everything a woman ought to know (in 1911)
15 Oct8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
Annual Meeting
19 Nov8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
It shouldn't happen to a registrar
23 Nov7:30 pm CVHHorticultural Society
AGM, supper and quiz
17 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.