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

This meeting is cancelled. The AGM will now be held later in the year.

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


1 June1 to 4:30 pm St LPHVillage fete
St Leonards village fete
14 June10:30 am to 12:30 pm St LPHHilltops coffee morning
All welcome
17 June7:30 pm St LPHWomen's institute
Talk: 'Fag ends and frustration'
24 June3 to 5 pm CVHTea and cake
Cholesbury village hall. All welcome
25 JuneDetails soonHorticultural society
Coach trip to Coton Manor
25 June6:30 pm St LPHParish council
Council meeting
14 JulyDetails soonCricket club
President's Day
15 July7:30 pm St LPHWomen's institute
45th birthday concert
19 July6 to 7:30 pm Laburnum Cottage St LeonardsHorticultural society
Visit to a member's garden
23 July1 pm Cricket clubCricket club
Australia versus RoW
27 JulyCricket club music & picnic afternoonCricket club
Shake your booty
29 July3 to 5 pm CVHTea and cake
Cholesbury village hall. All welcome
7 Sept2 pm Hawridge schoolHorticultural society
Annual horticultural show and craft fair


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

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