Recorder's Report 2007 - 2008


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In September the history group hosted a walk around Littlebury village for the East Herts Archaeological Society, showing interesting houses and explaining their history and serving a tea afterwards, the proceeds of the occasion, about £100, going to the Friends of Holy Trinity Church towards works in the churchyard.

Our book ‘Littlebury, a Parish History’ is publicly on sale at Audley End House and the Saffron Walden Tourist Information Centre and can be ordered in bookshops via the Nielson ISBN system. Various talks on our history project and the history of Littlebury have been given since the last report; to the staff of Audley End in October, the Castle Street History Group in November, and to the Saffron Walden Initiative this February. Two talks were given to us in the parish. John Drury on Essex Workhouses in September proved popular - the more gruesome the information the more enjoyable! Carol Law brought her Magic Lantern in December and showed old Magic Lantern slides, from her own and the Saffron Walden Museum’s collection, those of the locality taken over a hundred years ago being of particular interest.

In December Sarah Casbolt’s book, ‘The Life and Times of a Country Gardener at Howe Hall’ was published, a memoir of Sarah’s father Stan Casbolt. A launch was held at St. Peter’s Church in Littlebury Green attended by Sir Alan Haselhurst, the local community, and members of a family who had farmed at Howe Hall, and many who had lived at Littlebury Green in the past. Illustrated copiously with Stan’s photographs, the book was publicized in the local press, on Radio Essex and was a best seller for a few weeks at the tourist Information Centre in Saffron Walden.

There remain only a very few spaces in the existing churchyard so it was a great relief to finally realize an extension. This spring many attended while the Bishop of Colchester consecrated the land allocated, hopefully ensuring burial ground for the people of Littlebury parish for several decades. The friends of Holy Trinity Church have raised funds in order to repair the flint walls of the churchyards, a project which is now under way and there are plans for a new gate.

We beat the bounds of the parish, for the third time. Our thanks are extended to Lord Braybrooke, staff at Audley End House, all the landowners, farmers and others who kindly gave permissions allowing access to their land, and to David and Paddy Melford of Strethall who have become such an integral part of our day. Thanks are due too to Denis Wright, who accompanied us to ‘Jerusalem’, Rev Michael Lovegrove (who surely put in a good word for us weatherwise in the appropriate quarter - we almost didn’t get wet at all) and the churchwardens. As usual we were between 40 and 45 walkers.

Walkers were shown the newly replaced boundary post (probably the only one left in Essex) for Strethall and Littlebury, which had been knocked over in the winter. It had been painstakingly put back together and treated with wood preservative by Dr David Melford, Recorder for Strethall and Bill Leeming of Catmere End, and replaced in the ground with other helpers in April.  Dr Melford reminded us that 2008 is the 1000th anniversary of the charter whereby King Æthelred, in order to help fund his battles with the Danes, sold the land that became Littlebury Green and Strethall, together with land at Linton and Hadstock, to Abbot Ælsinus of Ely in return for “nine pounds of the purest gold according to the great weight used by the Normans”.

Exactly one thousand years later Littlebury Parish Council is battling, organising a petition against NATS’ proposed flight path proposals that threaten to ruin the peace and quiet of our much loved part of rural Essex.

A Parish Plan is being prepared by 28 volunteers whereby every household will fill out a questionnaire dealing with all aspects of parish life in an attempt to find out how people see the parish now and how they would like to see it in future; if adopted by the District Council when finally published it will mean that Littlebury Parish Council will probably be accredited with quality status. The Parish Plan and its organization becomes itself a vehicle for socialization and one of the discoveries made in formulating the questionnaire was that Littlebury currently has 30 different groups or annual activities in which one can take part. Also there are hopes and tentative plans for a choir. There is no patently no need to be dull here.

Annual August Bank Holiday Art Fair in Strethall Church


Beating the Bounds

Bowls Club

British Legion


Children’s Christmas party

Cricket Club

Epiphany supper


Friends of Holy Trinity Church

Friends of Littlebury Playground

Fun day

Fundraising events in the Village Hall

History Group

Jane Bradbury Foundation


Littlebury Book group

Littlebury Green Annual Barn Dance

Littlebury Green Book Group

Littlebury Green History Group

Littlebury Ladies/Laddies

Littlebury United Charities

Parish Church Council

Parish of Littlebury Millennium Society

Pram Service

Prayer for Littlebury

Summer Church Fete

Trinity Kids

Wine Club

Womens Institute/Wendens Ambo with Littlebury Green

Three Summer Junior History days are being planned for the holidays, ‘Romans in Littlebury’, ‘A re-enactment of the collapse of Winstanley’s Eddystone Lighthouse in 1703’ and, ‘Littlebury with a Fresh Eye’ a  hunt in the conservation area to spot where items that have been photographed and printed on a sheet of paper can be found, followed by a ‘Show and Tell’.

Littlebury is a beautiful parish in which to live, there is plenty to do and there are excellent walks out of the hamlets of Littlebury Green and Catmere End, although it is often remarked on that regrettably it is impossible to walk out of Littlebury Village without taking the main road.

Lizzie Sanders, Littlebury Local History Recorder

21st May 2008