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 (2023/24) 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 2023 – 2024 programme

Fri 6 Oct 2023

7:30 pm St LPH
Julian Hunt is one of our most longstanding and highly regarded speakers. He is an expert lecturer and prolific writer on all things historic in Buckinghamshire
Fri 3 Nov

7:30 pm St LPH
FROM MARKET TOWN TO METROLAND - A HISTORY OF SHOPPING IN AMERSHAMAlison 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 Dec

7:30 pm St LPH
GEORGIAN FOOD AND DININGAdam Smith is a lecturer on architectural history and English country houses and estates. The talk looks at the food that Georgians enjoyed and how it was served.
Fri 5 Jan 2024

7:30 pm on Zoom
HISTORIC GRAFFITI - SCRATCHES ON THE WALLSJames Wright is a freelance archaeological excavation project leader and academic historian at Nottingham University, focusing on medieval castles and royal palaces.
Fri 2 Feb

7:30 pm St LPH
THE BRITISH CIVIL WARS, 1642-51, IN ARTStephen Barker designs exhibitions for museums and lectures on military history. We welcome him back again with a brand new talk researched for 2024.
Fri 1 Mar

7:30 pm St LPH
THE LOLLARDS OF AMERSHAMDr Peter Burrows is a scientist and resident of Old Amersham. He is a participant in the Amersham Martyrs Community Plays and volunteer at Amersham Museum.
Fri 5 Apr

7:30 pm St LPH
THE AYLESBURY DUCK & AYLESBURY PRUNEMike Palmer is Keeper of Natural History and Geology at Discover Bucks Museum with particular interest in overlaps between natural and cultural heritage.
Fri 10 May

7:30 pm sharp. Cholesbury village hall
Eleanor Phillips and Keith Fletcher are Chesham local historians, volunteers at Chesham Museum and Local History Group Members

All meetings for 2023/24 are at 7:30 for 7:45 pm
except the May meeting which is 7:30 pm sharp.

Members will be sent full access instructions before each meeting.

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 Sep2 pm Hawridge schoolHorticultural society
Annual horticultural show and craft fair
5 Sep6:30 pm St LPHParish council
Council meeting
17 Sep9 am St LeonardsChurch
Breakfast service
18 Sep7:30 pm St LPHWomen's institute
23 SepSt Mary'sChurch
Congratulations Charlie & Sammy!
24 Sep10 am St LaurenceChurch
Harvest festival service
28 Sep7:30 pm CVHCommons preservation society
Talk on moths and butterflies
1 Oct6:30 pm St LPHChurch
Harvest supper
6 Oct7:30 pm St LPHLocal history group
Sir John Kederminster of Langley Park
3 Nov7:30 pm St LPHLocal history group
A history of shopping in Amersham
17 Nov7 pm CVHHorticultural society
1 Dec7:30 pm St LPHLocal history group
Georgian food and dining



05 Jan 20247:30 pm on ZoomLocal history group
Historic graffiti
02 Feb7:30 pm St LPH
Local history group
British civil wars in art
01 Mar7:30 pm St LPH
Local history group
The Lollards of Amersham
05 April7:30 pm St LPH
Local history group
The Aylesbury duck and Aylesbury prune
10 May7:30 pm CVHLocal history group
AGM and Cricket ramblings


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

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