Local History

Berkhamsted Local History & Museum Society

Berkhamsted Local History & Museum Society aims to encourage the study and appreciation of local history, genealogy and other subjects of historical interest. Meetings are held monthly in Berkhamsted during the winter months and summer outings explore local towns and villages. In September each year, the Society participates in Heritage Open Day events to celebrate the town’s history, architecture and culture, with guided tours of the castle and other local buildings.

The Society’s collection of archives and artefacts is deposited in the Dacorum Heritage Trust Museum Store in Berkhamsted. You can find more information on the Society website. Also here is a Heritage leaflet 2009 and High Street survey 2011.

Berkhamsted Castle

Perhaps the most well-known historical feature of the town is the castle. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle relates the story of Duke William of Normandy, who after the defeat of Harold at the battle of Hastings “marched inland with what was left of his host, together with reinforcements lately come from over sea, and harried that part of the country through which he came to Berkhamsted. There he was met by bishop Ealdred, prince Edgar, earl Edwin, earl Morcar, and all the best men from London, who submitted from force of circumstances… they gave him hostages and swore oaths of fealty, and he promised to be a gracious lord to them.” The Bayeux tapestry reconstruction of the last missing panels by Jan Messent in 1997 shows the submission at Berkhamsted (Beorcham) and William on the throne of England.

Bayeux tapestry

A comprehensive display of 16 panels of information and pictures tells the story of Berkhamsted in the castle visitor room, which is open from May to the end of September each year. You can find more information on Berkhamsted castle website.