Local History

Herts police 1841

The Law Makers and Breakers of Berkhamsted

Rectory Lane Cemetery provides a rich insight into the lives of those who lived in the town before us, a cross-section of society that includes both those who upheld the law and those who broke it. The Hertfordshire Constabulary was founded in 1841 and Henry Coulter, born in 1804, was one of the first members […]

View over the lake towards the west front at Claydon, Buckinghamshire ©National Trust Images / Arnhel de Serra

The Pirate of Pendley

A nobleman born at Pendley Manor, Sir Francis Verney became a pirate following a legal dispute over his inheritance… and was even the inspiration for an iconic Disneyland ride! Francis Verney was born in 1584 at Pendley Manor in Tring. His parents were Audrey Gardner and Sir Edmund Verney. Thanks to his father’s first and […]

George Washington - AdobeStock_695967202

A Presidential Connection

Among the many distinguished residents in its history, Tring numbers ancestors of the first president of the United States. Who would have thought that a small market town in Hertfordshire could have played such an important part in the foundation of the United States? Yet it was, because the great great grandparents of the United […]

Living Magazines Berkhamsted Courthouse

Building on the Town’s History

Taking a closer look at some of Berkhamsted’s historic buildings. When you live or work in the town, it’s easy to not notice some of the fabulous buildings you pass as you hurry to the office or head out to do the shopping. But next time you’re on the High Street, take a moment to […]

Living Magazines Aldbury village stocks

The Aldbury Poachers

The chocolate box village of Aldbury has a dark Victorian tale in its history, beyond its thatched cottage and picture postcard village pond. Today, Aldbury is the destination for tourists from near and far, who come armed with cameras to capture this pretty English village, complete with thatched cottages and ancient buildings. It’s favoured by […]

Image taken from page 460 of Around the World on a Bicycle

Around the World on a Bicycle

Berkhamsted-born Thomas Stevens had great ambitions – which led to a pioneering trip on a Penny Farthing, and a search for an African explorer. How much did you pack for your last holiday or weekend away? We bet it was more than Berkhamsted-born Thomas Stevens, who took only a clean pair of socks, a spare […]

Living Magazines inns-of-court-war-memorial-1627484150

Trained by The Devil’s Own

Thousands of young men took part in wartime training on Berkhamsted and Northchurch Commons  before they were shipped to the Front. The beautiful Chilterns countryside around us provides a wonderful place to walk, especially in the  autumn months, but there is one part of the land near Berkhamsted that still bears the scars of the […]

Tring’s Poet

From humble beginnings, working in the town’s Silk Mill as a boy, Gerald Massey became a respected poet and author. Massey House in Brook Street remembers one of the town’s sons who became a respected Victorian poet and author despite a poor start in life. The apartment building is named after Gerald Massey – known […]

Living Magazines Ruth Osborne The Witch that Never Was

The Witch that Never Was

Tring’s John Bly has recently published the story of Ruth Osborne (‘the Witch of Tring’), the last woman to be condemned to death for witchcraft in the UK.  John was inspired to find out more after reading her tale on the Tring Rural History website. Ruth’s fate is described in story form in the book […]

Living Magazines Relaxing at Ashridge House in the 1950s

From Pilgrims to Party-goers

If the walls at Ashridge could talk, they’d have many tales to tell – having witnessed visitors and residents including Elizabeth I, Winston Churchill and even Oscar Wilde. Today, Ashridge House is home to a restaurant, the Bakehouse cafe, and is well known for its Christmas  lights display. But 800 years ago, it was a […]

Portrait of Nell Gwynn

The Dames of Tring Park

Tring park is a favourite place for a walk, but has a fascinating history – including being the home of two famous actresses… Have you ever walked past the white folly in Tring Park and wondered why it was there? The white ‘porch’ with pillars is actually what remains of a summerhouse. And it had […]

Living Magazines Augustus John Smith

A Life Well Lived

Augustus Smith is a name entwined with Berkhamsted’s history – from the Battle of Berkhamsted Common to the creation of the town’s first elementary school. Berkhamsted has a link with the Isles of Scilly thanks to a 19th-century resident, whose name will be familiar to readers who went to school in the town in the […]