Category Archives: Publications

New Journal on sale now (No 29 Spring 2015)

SWHJ No 29 – cover 

NEW ISSUE: No 29 Spring 2015

 An unusual view of Saffron Walden High Street, designed by Nick Crawley, cleverly blends a view from the top of the High Street in 1820 with the same view today, to introduce the latest issue of the Saffron Walden Historical Journal, published in spring 2015, and recently reprinted due to demand. The issue is packed with many new works of original research on Saffron Walden and the local villages.

A scoop for the Journal is the announcement by archaeologist Maria Medlycott of the discovery of human remains when the Tudor Works site was being cleared for development in February. The bones are thought to relate to a Iron Age/ late Roman site found many years ago when the nearby water tower was being constructed.

Also published for the first time is Martyn Everett’s description of the treatment meted out to a member of the Friends’ Meeting House, High Street, Cornelius Barritt who was victimised as a conscientious objector during WWI.

The High Street is the focus of several articles in this issue, centred on a nostalgic wander by Bruce Munro down the street as it appeared in the early 1950s, illustrated by the iconic photographs of David Campbell.

The life of one of its residents, Dr Hedley Bartlett, whose medical practice was in the High Street, is described by Zofia Everett.

There is also the history of the oldest retail business in the street, Gray Palmer who have kindly sponsored this issue of the journal.

Articles on local villages include a pioneering study, never published before, by Stuart Moore of how pastoral landscape evolved in Anglo Saxon times; and a study of the undertakers’ records in Sampford by Adrian Gray. A curios building in the grounds of Elm Grove is explored by local geologist Gerald Lucy.

The major new publication by the Society, a history of Walden in the 15th century, is reviewed along with other new local history books.

The Journal, which is published by the Saffron Walden Historical Society, is on sale at the Tourist Information Centre and other outlets, priced £3.

Journal contents No 29

Human remains identified at the Tudor Works Site, Saffron Walden by Maria Medlycott                                                                                                    

Cornelius Barritt: a WWI conscientious objector from Saffron Walden by Martyn Everett       

The Remarkable Dr Hedley Bartlett by Zofia Everett  

Obituary: Dr Kenneth Dixon (1920-2015)


Gray Palmer, High Street by Robert Palmer


A Stroll down Saffron Walden High Street in the Early 1950s by Bruce Munro

The High Street Then and Now  


The Location of Anglo-Saxon Common Pasture: a study of Clavering and Langley, Essex by Stuart Moore                                                                                                                   

A 16th Century Dagger and Distal Portion of a Scabbard found at Wicken Bonhunt, Essex by

Bari Hooper                           


Magna Carta 800th Anniversary


William Gray Senior and Junior: Undertakers of Great Sampford by Adrian G. Gray

The Elm Grove Summerhouse: a geological curiosity by Gerald Lucy               

Three major new local historical books: Chepyng Walden; A History of Newport: Lest We Forget

History News








Sir Thomas Smith: scholar, statesman and son of Saffron Walden

Sir Thomas Smith of Saffron Walden

Vol 3: Sir Thomas Smith: scholar, statesman and son of Saffron Walden

by Jeremy Collingwood £7.50 + pp

Edited by Jacqueline Cooper

Published by SWHS Publications

ISBN 978-1-873669-08-2

Books can be ordered from Saffron Walden Tourist Information

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Editorial enquiries:


  • The Lonely Boy
  • The Cambridge Scholar
  • The Edwardian Secretary of State
  • The Wilderness Years
  • The Elizabethan Envoy
  • The Elizabethan Secretary of State
  • The Merchant Venturer
  • The Lasting Legacy
  • Appendix: Sir Thomas Smith’s Will


sir thomas smith of saffron walden

The author signing books at the launch.
Photograph © Gordon Ridgewell.

Sir Thomas Smith can justly claim to be one of Saffron Walden’s most distinguished sons. Smith’s curriculum vitae speaks for itself. He was the first Regius Professor of Civil Law at Cambridge, Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University, Provost of Eton, Principal Secretary of State to Edward VI and Elizabeth I, a Member of Parliament under the last three Tudor monarchs, several times ambassador to France and the Low Countries, a Privy Councillor, Chancellor of the Order of the Garter, and not least the builder of Hill Hall, one of England’s first great classical or Paladian mansions. He was also the author of two of the most eminent writings of Tudor times, The Discourse of the Commonweal, 1549; and De Republica Anglorum, 1562-1565, an authoritative account of the English constitution and legal system. Smith was one of the great letter writers of his age, and nearly 700 of his letters survive. This book examines the character and background of Smith, and the achievements and failures of a self-made man who in a time of unprecedented religious and political ferment rose from obscurity to achieve riches and power. Despite leaving Saffron Walden for Cambridge as a young boy, Smith did not forget his native town, playing a part in obtaining the new charter of the town in 1549, re-founding the Almshouses and obtaining a new charter for the grammar school. This book marks the 500th anniversary of his birth.

The Place Names of Saffron Walden


Vol 2: The Place Names of Saffron Walden

 by Malcolm White £8.50 + pp

Edited by Jacqueline Cooper

Published by SWHS Publications

ISBN 978-1-873669-04-4

Books can be ordered from Saffron Walden Tourist Information:

Editorial enquiries:


  • Alphabetical List of Place Names
  • Old Roads and Courtyards
  • Old Field Names


malcolm white author of saffron walden place names

The author signing books at the launch.
Photograph © Gordon Ridgewell.

The author, when Saffron Walden Town Clerk, often advised on the naming of new streets, as had another former Town Clerk, Cliff Stacey in his time. The Town Council liked to use old field names as this helped to perpetuate the town’s history. A primary source for the book is the 1758 map of Saffron Walden, as well as the 1843 Tithe Award map and other sources in Saffron Walden Town Library. Gathering all these sources together has resulted in a fascinating guide to the origins of the street names and place names of Saffron Walden, offering an unusual insight into the history of a unique and special place. The book is illustrated by local photographers, Gordon Ridgewell and the late David Campbell.

Land, Agriculture and Industry in North-west Essex


SWHS Publications Vol 1

Land, Agriculture and Industry in North-West Essex: spotlights on a land remembered

 by Geoffrey Ball  £7.50 + pp

Edited by Jacqueline Cooper

Published by SWHS Publications

ISBN 978-1-873669-02-0

Books can be ordered from Saffron Walden Tourist Information:

Sales Enquiries –

Editorial Enquiries:


  • Local Farming in a Bygone Age – what was it like?
  • The Victorian Home Farm at Audley End
  • Horham Hall, Thaxted 1808
  • Mitchells Farm at Little Walden: its life and times
  • The Floor Malting industry of North-west Essex and East Hertfordshire up to c.1914
  • A Canal for Saffron Walden?
  • The Wool Industry of North-west Essex


The author, Geoffrey Ball, signing books at the launch.

The author, Geoffrey Ball, signing books at the launch.

Agriculture and its associated industries have been at the centre of life and work in north-west Essex over many centuries. The first chapter looks at  a local example of common field (or open field) farming close to Saffron Walden. The three chapters which follow examine three very different local farms, two from the 19th century and the third a long and detailed history of a typical north Essex holding located on the difficult heavy clay soil at Little Walden. In the remaining chapters the focus changes somewhat to industries directly connected with the products of farming which at different periods in local history have been important to the success of Saffron Walden and its environs – Malting and the Wool Industry. There is also a chapter on the 19th century outline plan to construct a canal into and past Saffron Walden. Over the past 40 years North-west Essex and Saffron Walden town especially have witnessed many changes resulting in a lower profile for local farming. These changes are reviewed in the Postscript, together with some thoughts and concerns about the importance of agriculture in our national life.