Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Blackmore: First World War Centenary Commemoration

For King and Country: Blackmore during the First World War

Sunday 11 November 2018 will be a significant day in the life of this country because it marks 100 years since the end of the First World War.  At 11 o’clock that day millions of people will pause, stand around local War Memorials, to remember the cessation of hostilities in which over 888,000 lives were lost.

Blackmore is commemorating the weekend with a remarkable and moving tribute by covering the exterior of the church and the path leading from the Lych Gate with thousands of poppies.  Something like 4000 poppies form the commemoration, which have been handmade by many volunteers.

The Church Flower Guild will also be providing a beautifully themed Flower Festival.  

Also in preparation is a talk about the life and times of the people of Blackmore during the First World War.  The talk will be held on Friday 9 November.  It will be free, followed by tea and coffee.  There is will a retiring collection.

The Church will be open to view the Remembrance Displays from Thursday 8 November to Tuesday 13 November. Times daily 10.30am – 4pm except Sunday, 12.30 - 4.00pm, and Tuesday 10.30am – 12.30pm.

The Remembrance Sunday service will begin, as usual, at 10.45am at the War Memorial continuing at The Priory Church of St Laurence after the observance of two minutes’ silence.

In commemoration of the centenary of the end of the First World War

For King and Country: Blackmore during the First World War

The Priory Church of St Laurence, Blackmore
Friday 9 November

A talk by local historian Andrew Smith
which will include photos and extracts from diaries, letters etc.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

The Bardfield Painters. Thursday 28 June 2018.

Fed up with football on TV messing up the schedules?  Want to escape the nonsense and do something more interesting instead?  We have the answer.

On Thursday 28 June at 8pm Jacqui Eykelbosch will be giving a talk on The Bardfield Painters.  The village of Great Bardfield during the mid-twentieth century became a well-known artists’ colony, among them Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious.

Members £1.  Visitors £3.  Book stall and refreshments as usual.

This is a fixture you won’t want to miss.

Andrew Smith
High Country History Group

Sunday, 3 June 2018

ESAH160: New Book Stock: 'Essex full of profitable thinges'...

ESAH160: New Book Stock: 'Essex full of profitable thinges'...: ESAH160: New Book Stock: 'Essex full of profitable thinges'... : Condition: New.   £2 each + P&P.  Final opportunity to buy Ken...

ESAH160: Surplus Book Sale #7. Essex Review

ESAH160: Surplus Book Sale #7. Essex Review: ESAH160: Surplus Book Sale #7. Essex Review : Essex Review (1892-1957) back issues. 30p each + P&P (see below). Final opportunity to b...

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Epping Forest District Museum crowdfunding to buy Medieval Gold Ring found in Willingale

Save the Willingale Treasure!

Epping Forest District Museum has launched an appeal to save a medieval gold ring found in the parish of Willingale before the item goes on sale on the open market.
It is the first medieval gem set ring to be found in the district, and the first known finger-ring to be discovered in the parish of Willingale. The decoration is of an extremely high standard and, to the best of our knowledge, unique.
In total £11,500 is needed to acquire the ring and purchase a secure display case to house it, ensuring the ring  can be on free public display for generations to come. The campaign has already received support from the ACE/V&A Purchase Grant Fund and SHARE Museums East and Epping Forest District Museum has committed funding from its reserves leaving £3000 to be raised.
If the target’s reached the ring will go on public display in the museum’s newly renovated Core gallery, saving it for current and future residents to enjoy. The museum would also ensure the long term preservation of the ring making it widely available to the public through free exhibitions, inclusion in the school education programme, public talks as well as the ring being made available for loan and research.

If the funding is not raised, the ring may be sold on the open market and possibly leave the UK permanently.
About the ring
Recently unearthed by a metal detectorist the ring is thought to date from c.1200-1399 based on stylistic similarities with other rings of this date. The method of manufacture is typical of the period, but is a particularly fine example of application and techniques.

This very well preserved example of a medieval sapphire set finger ring would have been worn by a wealthy medieval nobleman. The maker of this item is unknown – there are no identification marks.  However the craftsmanship of the piece demonstrates great skill and technical ability, from which it is possible to infer that the goldsmith responsible was highly accomplished in their craft.

Jewellery at this time was increasingly used to signify rank, especially after the passing of the 1363 Acts of Apparel, which restricted the wearing of jewellery, especially that containing precious metal or gemstones to the highest and wealthiest social classes.

Goldsmiths were always highly regarded, but as gold became more easily available, and people wealthier, trade flourished and they prospered during the 14th Century.  This ring would allow this topic to be explored in more detail than the museum’s current collections allow.

Gemstones were thought to possess magical and medicinal powers in the medieval period - sapphires supposedly protecting chastity and uncovering deception, in addition to treating eye-ailments and hysteria, providing another area of investigation that would be enabled by the acquisition of this ring.

About Epping Forest District Museum
Epping Forest District Museum’s remit is to tell the human history of the Epping Forest District and is the only museum in the district that covers archaeology and social history acting as the archaeological depository for the area.

The museum holds a significant medieval collection, which is related to or was excavated from the Abbey of Waltham, including a 12th Century bible. Other secular examples of medieval precious metal at the museum are coin hoards; this would balance our interpretation, demonstrating the aesthetic appeal of gold and its more obvious financial uses. 

The collection also includes some costume accessories; this would be a valued addition to show jewellery of the medieval period, and the changes of fashion in precious metals and gem-cutting.
The ring will serve as a resource for the museum’s education programme, showing the themes of metalworking including: development of decorative styles and manufacturing techniques; wealth, power and status; craft guilds and companies; and fashion.

This will serve to spark interest in new areas of history and attract new audiences to the museum as well as giving the museum the opportunity to engage with colleagues and institutions on regional and national levels, increasing the profile of the district and the service.

To make a donation towards Epping Forest District Museum’s campaign please visit
If you would like to know more about our campaign please get in touch with the team at the museum on or 01992 716882.

Epping Forest District Museum
39-41 Sun Street, Waltham Abbey, Essex, EN9 1EL
Opening times: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10am – 4pm, Saturday 10am – 5pm
Twitter: @EFDMuseum  Facebook:

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Programme for 2018 Announced

Talks/Events – High Country History Group


22 February

The Work and Collections of the Epping Forest Museum
Catherine Howard
22 March

Annual General Meeting and Film Show

26  April

The Budworth Family of High Laver, Greensted and Ongar.
Martyn Lockwood
24 May

One Day in the Battle of Britain – 29th October 1940
Neil Wiffen
28 June

The Bardfield Painters
Jacqui Eykelbosch
26 July

The Tidal Thames – its Folklore and Traditions
Mark Lewis
25 October

More Essex Churches
‘Then and Now’
Andrew Smith
22 November

Christmas Party and ???

Thursday, 9 November 2017

ESAH160: Surplus Book Sale #7. Essex Review

ESAH160: Surplus Book Sale #7. Essex Review: Essex Review (1892-1957) back issues. 30p each + P&P (to be advised on application). The Essex Society for Archaeology and History...

Monday, 23 October 2017

Music in the Petre Household. Thursday 26 October 2017

Thursday 26 October
High Country History Group
meet at Toot Hill Village Hall (near Green Man PH)
Where their speaker will be Lawrence Barker, Essex Record Office
talking about ‘Music in the Petre Household in the 16th century’
This will be of interest to those wanting to learn more about Stondon composer, William Byrd.
Entry for visitors, £3 including refreshments.  

Monday, 2 October 2017

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Car Park Immediately Next to Essex Record Office to Close

ESAH160: Car Park Immediately Next to Essex Record Office t...: Essex Record Office has informed by Chelmsford City Council that it will be closing their Wharf Road surface car park on Saturday 27  May ...

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Essex Churches Then and Now. Thursday 27 April 2017

Our next meeting will be on Thursday 27 April, 8pm, when Andrew Smith, in his role as Honorary Archivist of the Essex Society for Archaeology and History, will be giving a talk drawing on two albums of Victorian church photographs in the Society’s collection: ‘Essex Churches Then and Now’.

£1 admission for members of High Country History Group. Visitors welcome, £3. Refreshments as usual at the end of meeting.  Venue: Toot Hill Village Hall. Follow signs to The Green Man from Blake Hall Crossroads on A414 Ongar / North Weald. The Village Hall is just down the road on the left as you reach the pub.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

High Country History Group AGM. Thursday 23 March 2017

Our AGM will be held on 23 March, 8pm, Toot Hill Village Hall.  All welcome.  To follow a film on rural Essex and cheese & wine.  Members: £2.  Visitors: £3

Saturday, 18 February 2017

'Men of Valour: Victoria Cross winners in Essex': Thursday 23 February 2017

Our next meeting will be on Thursday 23 February, 8pm, when our Chairman, Martyn Lockwood, will speak on the subject 'Men of Valour - Victoria Cross winners in Essex'

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Journal No. 62 (December 2016)

The latest Journal of the High Country History Group contains the following items:
- Greensted Hall, the Seat of Captain Budworth
- Essex Churches Then and Now: a talk to be given by the Essex Society for Archaeology and History on 27 April 2017
- Homeless in Stanford Rivers
- Captain Atherton Harold Chisenhale-Marsh 9th (Queen's Royal) Lancers
- Zeppelins Commemoration, September 2016: Memorial unveiled at Billericay, and Zepfest at Little Wigborough
- Apotrophic Marks
- Hainault Forest
- Listed Buildings in the High Country - 1. Theydon Mount
- Book Reviews
- From The Papers
- Essex Archaeological Society visit to the High Country in 1908
- Programme for 2017

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Journal No. 61 (September 2016)

The quarterly Journal of the High Country History Group contains the following items:
- Green Man Public House, Toot Hill - an update
- Verdun Oaks
- Toot Hill Windmill
- Memorials against the Police
- Threatened Closures of Stapleford Tawney and Theydon Mount Schools in 1911
- Extensive Fire at Greensted
- St James Church, Matrden Ash, Ongar
- The Post Office Rifles at Ongar
- Amelius Mark Richard, 1st Baron Lambourne (1847-1928)

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Journal No. 60 (June 2016)

The quarterly Journal of the High Country History Group contains the following:
- The sad story of Mr Mikkish
- World War II Airfields in Essex
- The Token Coinage of Essex in the Seventeenth Century
- Zeppelins Over Essex: Sources for Talk
- The Green Man Public House, Toot Hill
- Richard Mulcaster, Rector of Stanford Rivers 1598
- Hill Hall, Theydon Mount - a Haunting!
- The Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales

Thursday, 6 October 2016

'Following In Pevsner's Footsteps'. Thursday 27 October 2016

Dr. James Bettley, author of the updated ‘Buildings of England’ series for Essex, East Suffolk and West Suffolk, with Hertfordshire in preparation, will be our speaker on Thursday 27 October, 8pm, at Toot Hill Village Hall.  The leading architectural historian’s subject will be ‘Following in Pevsner’s footsteps: Essex and Beyond’.  It promises to be an excellent evening.  As usual refreshments afterwards, and a bookstall with donations to the Group.

£1 members. £3 visitors.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Doddinghurst. 'Turmoil and Intrigue' Sunday 6 November 2016

Caroline Seville will be giving a talk entitled 'Turmoil and Intrigue' at All Saints Church, Doddinghurst, on Sunday 6 November 2016 at 2pm to raise funds for the conservation of our 16th century processional cross - about Doddinghurst and All Saints' Church from early times to about 1580 when Richard Stonley became Lord of the Manor. Much of it concerns the Earls of Oxford and what they got up to. There will be an accompanying slide show.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Capability Brown: A Masterpiece. Thursday 28 July 2016

Blenheim in May
Our next meeting will be on 28 July, and an interesting talk in prospect about “Capability” Brown to mark the 300th anniversary of his birth.  His greatest work was at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, but he was also busy across Essex. 

‘Capability Brown. A Masterpiece’. Simon Cranmer.

The Group will also be at the Toot Hill Show on 6 August, an event widely publicised locally.

We look forward to seeing you.

Friday, 1 July 2016

1st July 1916: The Opening Day of the Battle of the Somme

The Revd. Edward Reeve, rector of Stondon Massey, kept a diary called ‘Notes for a Parish History.  In it he wrote his observations of the First World War from his study in what is now Stondon Massey House.

“1st July 1916: As I write, the reverberation of the great guns and explosion of mines are shaking the windows of the Rectory and of all the other houses, I suppose, in the southern and south-eastern counties of England.  There is evidently a very heavy bombardment in progress."