Recorder's Report 2006 - 2007


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Littlebury, Littlebury Green, Catmere End and parts of Audley End 2006-7

Since the last Recorders AGM in early May of last year Littlebury folk and some neighbours have ‘Beaten the Bounds’ twice, for the first time on May 21st 2006 and then on May 13th 2007 (Rogation Sundays). On both occasions over forty people braved filthy weather to cover about eleven miles (or shorter parts) of the boundary – and still ask for more next year. The Parish of Littlebury Millennium Society thanks The Right Honourable Lord Braybrooke, Rev Michael Lovegrove, Tom White; Audley End Estate, Tony Appleby, Carl Juhl, David and Paddy Melford at ‘Ryders’, David Melford, a fellow recorder for giving two separate pre-prandial lectures at Strethall Church and Nigel Swan, Rob and Kate Duke: Elmdon Lee, Robert Fairhead: Bordeaux Farm, John Brownbridge: The Audley Fishing Club, Joseph Lucas, The National Grid and Neil Cole, Laura Herrell, Linda Dyer and Mike Thurlowe: Audley End House for permissions and assistance. Well done all walkers. Especially the little ones.

Littlebury currently has an extremely active group ‘Friends of Littlebury Playground’, which has raised £17000.00 for playground equipment through Fun Days and Hollywood and Bollywood evenings – dinner and dance - with great style.

Friends of Holy Trinity Church has regrouped and received over £900.00 from a fund raising pop concert held in the grounds of Kings Mill, which also raised an equal amount going to the Downs Educational Trust.

We were sad to report the death of Janet Adams OBE, who had been cared for in a home in Saffron Walden for eight years, following a stroke. She was attended daily by her sister Elspeth Grant, similarly awarded, though for services for disabled servicemen.

The Parish Council was re-elected, uncontested, leaving room for one new councillor to be co-opted. Ongoing works include new pavement and a ‘safe haven’ area at the opening to the recreation Ground, additional churchyard land and lobbying for Natural Calming of traffic.

Littlebury village has terrific problems with speeding traffic and has been visited by Sir Alan Haselhurst and the police. We finally had a Vehicle Activated sign installed at one end of the village that is set off by speeding cars to inform the driver of the speed limit. It is effective when it works. Research into Natural Calming reveals that reduction of signage and white lining has proved successful in calming traffic in Dorset in recent years. The amenity of Uttlesford has been significantly eroded over the last twenty years, often through excessive signage and crude highway engineering and this downward spiral into ugliness should be resisted wherever possible. ULHRs could be part of this resistance movement because they have the evidence of what a beautiful place NW Essex was, and could still be again.

Since our community written book ‘Littlebury, a Parish History’ was published in 2005 Gillian Williamson and I have given several talks locally. Since the last AGM they were as follows.


June 22nd Jubilee Gardens, Saffron Walden

July 18th Newport Historical Society

September 4th presentation to our funder, the Local Heritage Initiative in Cambridge

November 7th Great Chesterford Historical Society


February 22nd Hempstead History Group

April 16th Museum Society, Saffron Walden

May 9th Ickleton History Group, Jean Cowell replacing Gillian Williamson

We are due to give talks to the staff at Audley End, and again to ‘Littlebury Ladies’ a local social group.

We, that is Gillian Williamson, Sue Lister and myself from the History Group, submitted the labelled finds from the 2004 Field walk to Saffron Walden Museum.

Throughout the year have met with Sarah Bradfield and Oriel Williams of Littlebury Green who have embarked on a history project for that village. Have shared archive material and assistance. On 4th October attended the inaugural meeting of the Iceni Group at Howe Hall, a history group for Littlebury Green.

Currently editing Sarah Casbolt’s 20th century memoir of Howe Hall comprised of the memories of her father Stan Casbolt. It is extremely difficult to get funding for individual projects, however unique and excellent. Community is a most important key word, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that work such as this and for instance, ‘A History of the Manor and Parish of Strethall’ by Dr David Melford are also important and deserving of a wider audience. Maybe we should look at ways to help publish these works.

During the course of the year campaigned with other ULHR members, Bruce Munro, Martyn Everett and the Town Council to raise awareness through the local press, meeting with ECC officers and The Town Library Society and solicitors; setting up exhibitions with the mayor, Hilary Shibata, regarding fears about the refurbishment of Saffron Walden Library.

Attended the Community Archives Development Group Conference at UCL in June. Tony Benn, was the excellent keynote speaker, the Heritage Lottery Fund was represented, as was the Community Archives Development Group by Jack Latimer and David Mander. There were academics from UCL and another London university and three community archive groups.

Tony Benn spoke on how learning about history gives perspective and how important it is preserve and conserve what we have now as well as what we can save from the past. He aid that archives give history which leads to confidence and knowledge – and that knowledge is freedom; that we should take counsel from the dead. He has five garages full of his diaries and papers and is struggling to find a safe and permanent home for them.

David Mander had found that the act of creating an archive can cross the wider demographic – something very familiar to the grass roots archivist. He recently received an OBE for his contribution to Community Archives. Jack Latimer encouraged community archive groups to submit their projects to the community archives site;

Anna Gundy from the HLF reported on how the HLF would replace the Local Heritage Initiative. She was tackled by a delegate from Hull who noted that the new Record Office being built there would disadvantage an existing community archive financially, as all the funding was attracted to the major project. The old archive was now very vulnerable. He said HLF had a responsibility here. The problem lies with the form that asks: “Will any one be disadvantaged by your project?” and HLF relies on the integrity of the reply.

From the meeting it emerged that the main difficulty encountered by community history groups lay in finding safe, cheap, secure and local homes for their collections. This was exacerbated by the fact that in certain parts of the country where individuals and groups had given archive material to Record Offices there had been real difficulty in accessing them again.

Three community groups gave short but succinct presentation on their activities. The day was extremely well organized and presented; it was most interesting, though an extra half an hour for discussion would have been welcome.

Lizzie Sanders

Uttlesford Local History Recorder for the parish of Littlebury. July 2007