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.
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.
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.
The Autumn 2016 issue of the Society’s journal (no 32) featured articles 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.
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.
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
The Autumn 2015 edition of the Journal included articles featuring: a fascinating study of the paintings of William Tomkins of Audley End; a look at the six Essex barons who were among the 25 involved in Magna Carta; some insights into a remarkable set of solicitors’ deeds; a local connection to the slave trade; a link between the town and Napoleon Bonaparte; memories of Sewards End – and more.