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 (2016/17) 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 2016 – 2017 programme

Fri 7 Oct 2016BUCKINGHAMSHIRE BREWERIESJulian Hunt established the Centre for Bucks Studies and was in charge of the County Museum. An author and expert on all things historic in Bucks.
Fri 4 NovOXON & BUCKS LIGHT INFANTRY ON THE SOMME 1916Barker is a Heritage Advisor currently working for Oxfordshire Museum designing exhibitions including several on the First World War.
Fri 2 DecBUCKINGHAMSHIRE ASTRONOMERSDr Mike Leggett is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and his lectures range from astronomical history to the future of space exploration.
Fri 6 Jan 2017THE IMPACT OF THE GRAND JUNCTION CANAL IN WEST HERTSDamian Hiscock has been boating on canals since the 1980s, developing an interest in their history leading to the research he will present in his talk.
Fri 3 FebGARDEN CITIES AND OTHER UTOPIASKate Harwood taught garden history at London and Cambridge University and is research co-ordinator of the Capability Brown Tercentenary Festival.
Fri 3 MarSTANLEY SPENCER AND COOKHAMAnn Danks archivist of the Stanley Spencer Gallery and an authority on the life and works of one of the 20th century’s most important British painters.
Fri 7 AprWEATHER LORE - FACT OR FICTIONIan Currie is a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society who lectures and writes books about the weather, and regularly appears on television.
Fri 12 May at CVH 7:30 pmAGM plus THE STORY OF ASHRIDGE HOUSEWendy Austin, LHG member, and local historian has published extensively on the history of Tring and its surrounding area.

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
Junior Membership (below school minimum leaving age): 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

07 Apr8 pm St LPHLocal history group
"Weather lore - fact or fiction"
11 Apr10 to 11 am CVHGood Neighbours
Gentle exercise for older adults
12 Apr12:30 pm The Black HorseGood Neighbours Group
Pub Lunch Club
14 Apr10:30 am from St LeonardsChurch
Easter Walk of Witness
23 Apr9 am St Leonard'sChurch
Breakfast means breakfast service
24 Apr8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
Seasons of colour in the garden
25 Apr7:30 pm St Leonard'sChurch
Annual Parochial Church Meeting
29 Apr7 pm Hawridge schoolChurch
The Launton Handbell Ringers
7 May1:30 to 4 pm CVHCream Tea
In aid of St Mary's church
10 May12:30 pm The Black HorseGood Neighbours Group
Pub Lunch Club
12 May7:30 pm CVHLocal history group
"AGM followed by The Story of Ashridge House"
15 May8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
20 May11 am to 2 pm Hawridge SchoolSpring Fayre
All welcome
21 May1 to 4 pm CVHCream Tea
Yummy cream teas in aid of Cholesbury church
3 Jun2 pm St LPHSt Leonards Village fete
Horse Show from 9:30 am
Dog Show from 1 pm
06 Jun7:15 pm Cricket pavillionBucks Duathlon
14 Jun12:30 pm The Black HorseGood Neighbours Group
Pub Lunch Club
19 Jun8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
William Morris
21 Jun8:30 am to 6:30 pmHorticultural Society
Coach trip to Meadow Farm Garden and nursery, Feckenham and NT Coughton Court, Alcester
25 Jun11 am to 5 pm Cricket pavillionVillage picnic
7 Jul6 to 7 pm Buckland CommonHorticultural Society
Open Garden at the Horn's
16 Jul12 midday Cricket pavillionCricket club
Presidents Day: Memorial Match
19 Jul1:30 pm Cricket pavillionCricket club
Bucks Over 60’s vs Essex
28 Jul6 to 8 pm CVHHorticultural Society
Pop-in workshop: Take the fear out of showing
21 Aug8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
Social event - BBQ
28 Aug2 to 5 pm Cholesbury CommonChurch fete
Hawridge and Cholesbury summer fete
02 Sep2:30 pm Hawridge schoolHorticultural Society
Annual horticultural, cookery, handicraft and flower Show - 8:30 am for exhibitors
09 Sep2 pm Cricket pavillionCricket club
Colts Awards and Family Fun Day
18 Sep8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
Pizza - history and demonstration
16 Oct8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
Annual meeting
17 Nov7:30 to 9:30 pm CVHHorticultural Society
Supper and quiz plus AGM
20 Nov8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
Wildlife photography
18 Dec8 pm St LPHWomen's Institute
Christmas songs and carols

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

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