Author Archives: saffronwaldenhistoricalsociety

Audley End: Landscape Histories

The new book published by the Saffron Walden Historical Society was launched to great acclaim in December 2019 with well over 100 guests enjoying the hospitality of The Gibson Library Society and author Lizzie Sanders signing copies of her book. Entitled ‘Audley End: Landscape Histories’ it is lavishly illustrated with old maps and artworks in full colour, and offers a fascinating insight into the countryside around Audley End, the iconic mansion in NW Essex. The book is available at Harts Bookshop and Tourist Information price £12.00. Enquiries for postal copies to

Saffron Walden Historical Journal No 38 (Autumn 2019) CONTENTS

Issue No 38 (Autumn 2019) on sale at Tourist Information, Harts Bookshop, Waitrose and Saffron Walden Museum, price £3, or by post – see contact on website.


WW2 Evacuation in Saffron Walden: Recollections of Mary Whiteman, Voluntary Billeting Officer by Malcolm White

A Cement Works for Saffron Walden by Geoffrey Ball

Henry Winstanley’s Women by Martin Rose

Travelling rough Time… Routeways in Uttlesford Hundred from the Roman Period to the Tudors by Simon Coxall

Finding the Lost Church of Little Wenden by Robert Wilson

12th Century Live! Local History Societies in Uttlesford

Gold and Silver Treasures Acquired by Museum by Carolyn Wingfield

Christopher Payn and the Fight for Press Freedom 1792-1793 by Martyn Everett

Saffron Walden Horticultural Society Celebrates 200 Years by Jacqueline Cooper

 The Invasion of Saffron Walden: a wartime scenario

BALH Local History Award for Journal author

New Publications

History News

SWHS Lectures 2019-20

Future lectures this season, at Friends’ Meeting House 7.45 pm:


Wed 25 September: Life in 18th Century Saffron walden (pt 2) – Hilary Walker

Wed 23 October: Saffron Walden trades and professions in the 18th century – MIke Furlong

Wed 27 November: The 100 Parishes – Ken McDonald


Wed 22 January: The Kindertransport – Mike Levy

Wed 26 February: Henry Winstanley the last Renaissance engineer – Martin Rose

Wed 25 March: House histories – discover how to research the history of your house – Melanie Backe-Hansen

Wed 22 April: The Young Charles Darwin in Cambridge – Murray Jacobs

Wed 27 May: AGM & short talk (tba)

SWHS Programme 2018-2019


Wednesday 26th September: Andrew Everett to speak on  An Early Railway Station Architect – the life, times and works of Sancton Wood (architect of Audley End Station)

Wednesday 24th October:  MARY WHITEMAN MEMORIAL LECTURE Malcolm White to speak on Saffron Walden 1945 – 2000

Wednesday 28th November: Clare Mulley to speak on ‘The Women Who Flew for Hitler’           


Wednesday 23rd January: Robin O’Neil to speak on   The Long Road to Brexit                        

Wednesday 27th February: Jacqui Hutton to speak on The Archaeological Landscape of Great Chesterford

Wednesday 27th March: Dr Peter Moore to speak on The Italian Artist Biagio Rebecca and his work at Audley End                                

Wednesday 24th April: Richard Till to speak on The Cutlers of Thaxted, 1350 to 1450           

Wednesday 22nd May : AGM.  A short talk will be arranged.

All meetings are held at 7.45 pm. in the Quaker Meeting House, High Street, Saffron Walden

Annual Subscriptions: £7.00 per member; Visitors £2.00 per visit – ALL WELCOME!



More articles added to website

More than 30 articles have been added to the Saffron Walden History website, bringing the total available online to almost a hundred.  They are taken from out-of-print issues of the Saffron Walden Historical Journal, and the number will be added to as time goes on. Among the new additions are articles on the Rose & Crown Fire, the Moat Farm Murder, the WW2 Demolition Line of Defences,  the Medieval Park at Little Walden, the history of 1 Myddelton Place (the former youth hostel), the life of the former Saffron Walden MP, Rab Butler, the Turf Maze on the Common and many other subjects that have proved popular articles with readers. To find the new material, simply click on Articles in the top of the welcome page and the list is displayed alphabetically. All articles are in PDF and can be downloaded and printed off without charge, however they remain the copyright of the authors and publishers and permission must be sought to reproduce them in other media.

Contents of Journal Spring 2017 (No 33)

Journal No 33 centred on various aspects of religious history locally, prompted by the 500th anniversary since the Reformation began in 1517, and its aftermath. Subjects included: Ritual in the Pre-Reformation Church at Walden by Elizabeth Allan;  a new archaeological investigation at Tilty Abbey, one of many monastic institutions abolished at the Reformation – this was by Rachel Clarke & Maggie Stevens; the role of Sir Thomas Smith (born in Walden) in the Reformation, by Jeremy Collingwood; an extract from William Harrison’s Description of England, describing in contemporary terms how the Protestant Reformation had changed the ritual of the Church; a pioneering and important new study by Kevin Davey of the activities of Quaker radicals around the Saffron Walden area during the Protectorate; a transcript by Martyn Everett of a remarkable journal kept by a man employed in 1851 to sell Bibles to the poor in Saffron Walden district; building projects at Abbey Lane Congregational Chapel by Stephen Rapkin; memories by Michael Yarrow of his childhood experiences of attending the Plymouth Brethren meetings in Saffron Walden in the 1940s-50s; the biography of an unusual country vicar, Revd John Handson Sperling at Wicken Bonhunt, by Deborah Lowe; and a summary of how the Catholics returned to worship in Saffron Walden in the early 20th century. This very full and fascinating issue is no longer available in retail outlets, but can still be purchased from the Society at the usual price of £3 plus postage.

Programme Jan-April 2018

Saffron Walden Historical Society

 Programme for 2018

All meetings are held at 7.45 pm in the Friends’ Meeting House, High Street, Saffron Walden. £7.00 per member subscription. Visitors £2.00 per visit. All welcome!

Wednesday 24th January 2018 – Historic Houses in Essex – Ben Cowell

Wednesday 28th February – ‘Living in Saffron Walden in the 18th Century’ (Pt 2) – Hilary Walker

Wednesday 28th March – ‘Reconstructing Essex Medieval Deer Parks’ – Graham Joliffe

Wednesday 25th April – The Great Plague in Essex – Katharine Schofield

Wednesday 23rd May – A.G.M. A short talk will be arranged

The Autumn 2018 programme will be posted here later in the year.

Contents of Journal Autumn 2016 (No 32)

The Autumn 2016 issue of the Society’s journal (no 32) featured swhj-no-32-cover-finalarticles on the 1920-30s Hunger Marchers who came through the town; the Gold Street fire of 1941; the history of Cleales; the story of Saffron Walden Town Hall; a summary of Stansted Mountfitchet history; new documents relating to the 1862 murder case in Clavering;  and an update on history news in the locality and new publications. There are also obituaries on two fine local historians: Ken Neale and Jean Gumbrell.

Contents of Journal Spring 2016 (No 31)

The Spring 2016 issue of the Journal included articles on the subjects of: a stroll round 1950s Walden with Bruce Munro remembering scenes and characters of the time; a look at the varying styles of fanlights on front doors in some of the town streets and how they relate to historical fashions; memories of when the programme ‘Lovejoy’ was filmed in Walden, Clavering, Hatfield Broad Oak, Berden and other parts of NW Essex in the 1990s; new archaeological and historical discoveries in the area; the centenary of the Battle of the Somme; and much else. The front cover is an original drawing by noted professional artist and designer, Brian Sanders. SWH Journal No 31 - front cover

SWHS programme 2017-2018

The programme below is the current season, ending with the AGM on 23 May:

27 September 2017 – A wander round Pompeii – Richard Priestley

25 October 2017 –  Saffron Walden – Mike Hibbs

22 November 2017 – Abbey Lane Chapel – Stephen Rapkin

24 January 2018 – Historic Houses in Essex – Ben Cowell

28 February 2018 –  Saffron Walden in 18th Century – Hilary Walker

28 March 2018 – Essex Deer Parks – Graham Joliffe

25 April 2018 – Great Plague in Essex – Katharine Schofield