Local History

I have lived in Berkhamsted for over 35 years and became interested in local history as an adjunct to my family history research and as an antidote to my career in information technology.

Follow the links here for topics on Berkhamsted Castle (includes Time Line, Personalities and Events such as the Pageant in 1966 that bring its history alive), St Peter’s Church, Marlin Chapel, Elite Wealth, the Abolition of Slavery and the Hoo-ha over Gaddesden Hoo, Farming, Marriage, Women, Lost Boys, Health, Poverty, the Workhouse and Crime. Find out more about Berkhamsted’s landmarks by clicking on on these interactive maps of Berkhamsted from  1766 and 1899.

Market hall and High St

Local historian Percy Birtchnell wrote articles for the Parochial Review and Berkhamsted Review for over forty years from Jul 1941 to his Memoriam article in Apr 1986.

“… a talented local writer has generously offered to contribute to the ‘Review’ a series of articles on Berkhamsted’s links with by-gone days. His nom-de-plume is particularly appropriate – ‘Beorcham’ is a very early way of writing the town’s name.” 
(Berkhamsted Parochial Review, Jul 1941).

Here is an index to Birtchnell’s articles (use Ctrl-F to search for particular items). Check out the links available from the index to see the original articles, or Facebook posts related to them. Included in Birtchnell’s treasure-trove of local history are glimpses of Peter the Wild Boy (his remarkable story told here by Lucy Worsley), with the 200th year since his death commemorated by Northchurch History Society in 1985.

We are fortunate that many members of Berkhamsted Local History & Museum Society are keen to share the results of their local research and we have produced a wide range of articles in the pages of the Chronicle for several years now; here is the contents list.

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.