Category Archives: Publications

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

Sales Enquiries: tourism@saffronwalden.gov.uk

Editorial enquiries: saffronwaldenhistory@gmail.com

Contents

  • 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

Summary

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.

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The Place Names of Saffron Walden

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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:

tourism@saffronwalden.gov.uk

Editorial enquiries: saffronwaldenhistory@gmail.com

Contents

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

Summary

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

LAI-book-cove

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 – tourism@saffronwalden.gov.uk

Editorial Enquiries: saffronwaldenhistory@gmail.com

Contents

  • 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

Summary

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.