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Planned Events

Meetings Programme 2023-24

Meetings will start at 8pm. The talks and AGM will be in Chesham Town Hall only, with the exception of those in January and February, which will be on-line only. Non-members are welcome to attend.

For online talks, members and non-members who register an interest via the Contact Us page on this website, will receive joining instructions by email shortly before the event. All meetings, INCLUDING THOSE ONLINE, will cost £2 for members and £4 for non-members. Free tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided at the Town Hall meetings.

The entry fee will be payable on the door for Town Hall meetings and via an online booking system for the January and February meetings www.ticketsource.co.uk/cvahs

Friday, 20th October 2023

How to find your Roman Road      Brian Withington, Local Historian

After retiring from a career in high-tech engineering, Brian developed a strong interest in world history, the ascent of man, and migrations over 250,000 years traced by archaeo-DNA analysis. He is currently studying global patterns of civilization flux, the runaway 'success' of the human species and its effect on ecological balances.
His talk will explain ways of spotting and tracing enduring Roman roads, with reference to specialist maps to show route details through Amersham, Beaconsfield and Chalfont St Giles. Brian will finish with a vivid and highly dramatic story of rebel noblemen, played out along the Great North Road - the Roman Ermine Street.
Friday, 17th November 2023

The Skottowe Family of Chesham       Neil Rees, Local Historian

Neil Rees has lived (on and off) in the Chesham area since he was 4 years old and has traced his family history back to the 1400s in Bucks, so they have a tradition of not moving very far. He has a long interest in local history and has written several local history books. Two of his books have been translated into other languages and one was made into a documentary for Albanian television. Neil speaks at local history societies and other groups like U3As and WIs around the country and he currently writes a fortnightly local history page for the Chesham and Amersham edition of the Bucks Free Press.
Neil returns with another fascinating talk on a local theme. This time he will tell us about the Skottowe family of Chesham and his talk will include mentions of well-known places such as Bury Hill House, the Park and Skottowe’s Pond.

Friday, 19th January 2024   (Zoom Talk)

What a Load of Rubbish - the history and industrial archaeology of  solid wastes management      

Paul Daniel, Somerset Industrial Archaeology Society

Peter Daniel is a Chartered Civil Engineer who has worked in various parts of the country. Before retirement he had spent 30 years working in wastes management based in Somerset and is also a Chartered Wastes Manager. He has been active in Industrial Archaeology for nearly 50 years and has been on the committee of Somerset Industrial Archaeology Society for 35 years.
Peter’s talk is an overview of the development of wastes management showing how the changing nature of waste, from the 19C on, have influenced the technologies used. Surviving structures are discussed. Examples are drawn from around the country, with many from the south-west..
Friday, 16th February 2024   (Zoom Talk)

Investigating Medieval Churches    Dr James Wright FSA, Buildings Archaeologist, Triskele Heritage

James Wright is an award winning buildings archaeologist. He has two decades of professional experience of ferreting around in people’s cellars, hunting through their attics and digging up their gardens. He hopes to find meaningful truths about how ordinary and extraordinary folk lived their lives in the mediaeval period.
Medieval parish churches are some of the oldest and most loved buildings in the British Isles. However, relatively few of them have been archaeologically surveyed and many unverified stories have grown up around them. This talk will look at some of the commonly repeated tales about the architecture of churches, which are widely assumed to be true, but which ultimately fall into the realm of folklore and myth.
These stories include doorways apparently blocked to keep the Devil out, churches alleged to be aligned to the sunrise on their saint’s day and windows said to allow lepers to watch the mass. These are tales repeated in good faith but are not based in the lived reality of the medieval world. Instead, we will look at the how churches were used before the reformation. By applying contextual archaeological and historical evidence the architectural functions of churches will be investigated and unlocked..
Friday, 15th March 2024  

The Roman Road between St Albans and Silchester   David Stavely, Archaeological Geophysicist

David is a computer programmer by profession and in his spare time an archaeological geophysicist, whose main research interest is the study of Roman roads and roadside settlements. He has published several archaeological reports on Roman Roads and been a speaker at many conferences.
More details of David's talk soon..
Friday, 19th April 2024  

AGM and President's Talk by Garry Marshall: The Different Histories of Chesham and Quarrenden  

Having talked about Chesham and then Quarrendon in his past two talks, our President Garry Marshall now considers the histories of the two manors. It aims to show that there were certain circumstances to which they reacted in a very similar way, while there were others to which they reacted quite differently.
As an example of similarity, both manors imposed the payment of a 'head penny' on all their tenants and also changed the payment so that it was no longer actually a penny. Differences between them include renting the manor's farm, which one did while the other did not, and the existence of an internal market, which one encouraged and the other never had.
The similarities were often widely shared, while differences usually resulted from a custom of the manor that had evolved in response to some unusual local circumstance. The existence of such customs of the manor is a major difficulty in generalising about medieval manors..

Archaeology Field Group Programme 2023

Unfortunately, the Covid 19 situation led to a suspension of most field work in 2020 and 2021. We resumed work in the April 2022, investigating  a suspected Romano-British site in Little Missenden. A dig of this site was carried out in August 2023, but unfortunately found no evidence of Romano-British occupation. Further details can be found in Latest News.

Participants in all digs must be CVAHS members. If you are interested, but not yet a member, please contact CVAHS via this web site to confirm details of how to participate.

On our digs, we welcome people with experience and also novices - training in survey, excavation and recording techniques is given. For those who find digging difficult, there is valuable work to do on post-excavation cleaning, analysis and recording of finds.

Excavating a medieval ditch at Chesham Bois House
Medieval pottery fragments from the ditch and examples of complete pots