Well done all scarecrows


As you undoubtedly know  already High Wych held its second scarecrow festival last weekend. The weather was not as brilliant as it was last year but  participation broke all records. The village was rewarded with a two page spread in the Herts & Essex Observer and also with an online video. If you are interested, you may want to visit that paper’s website.

The Sawbridgeworth Local History Society set out its stall there as well, complete with a scarecrow of Asgar the Staller, the first known Lord of the Manor in our area.  For the occasion we had amended our presentation slightly making it more attractive for tose who live in the ecclesiastical and civic parish of High Wych.  There was a quiz with “historical questions” which was won by Amy Mead.

Thanks go to the organisers, visitors and participants. And if you are wondering, the above picture shows David Royle on the SLHS stand just after we set out our wares. That’s him on the left. The other chap is Asgar!

As this is a High Wych website rather than a Sawbtidgeorth ditto I can’t resist showing you some favourite scarecrow pictures.



Talk soon,  Best wishes,   your High Wych Historian

Meet Asgar (the scarecrow)


As many of you know on Saturday 9th September and the following Sunday the High Wych scarecrow and flower festival will be held. Scarecrows will line the road from The Hand and Crown Pub to High Wych School and along High Wych Lane up to The Manor of Groves Hotel. The centre of the festival will be St James’ Church. The churchyard will also be decorated with scarecrows and there will be stalls from local organisations. The Sawbridgeworth Local History Society will be there as well  and your High Wych historian will be one of those manning its stand.

The SLHS will have its own scarecrow in the shape of Asgar the Staller who was the first known “Lord of the Manor” in these parts. See above for a picture of Asgar’s  scarecrow. Asgar fought on the side of a famous king during a famous battle against the forces of another famous king. We are not telling you more than that as there will be a quiz to answer and a prize to win. Participation in that quiz will be limted to children below the age of 16. So why dont you come along.  Apart from that there will be photographs and maps from the olden days to look at and friendly people to talk to. You might even want to join the SLHS !!!

I make mistakes………………………….

Yes I do. Despite the fact that I let people have sight of articles I write before they get published in our parish magazine the Link or on line, mistakes are being made.  Most recently this happened with my article on Actons Farm and the Mynott family.

In the last paragraph of that aticle I failed to mention that father Chris Mynott (Ernest Christopher Wilfred) passed away on New Year’s Eve 2001. The version published in the link now sadly contains that mistake.

I have however now published a correct version on line which can be found by clicking on the following link:    Actons Farm and the Mynott Family

Once again my apologies.


A date for your diary ???

Next week, on Wednesday 19th April I will be giving a presentation at the Sawbridge Words bookshop in Bell Street Sawbridgewords. The title of my presentation will be “Tales of a Village Historian”    As you can imagine I will tell people of my experiences writing the history of High Wych, the village where I live. It would be nice to see you there.

The event will start at 7.30 pm. Entrance will be £ 5.== which will however entitle you to a refreshment. If you want to have a look at the poster advertising the event you can download that here.

Meanwhile, enjoy a picture of High Wych as it was roundabout 1910.

For further information contact Neville at Sawbridge Words on 01279 248336

John Clarke – a Tribute

On 24th February 2017 John Clarke passed away. He was 76. It is fair to say that John was my inspiration in choosing local history as a hobby. His encouragement and help has been invaluable.

John taught me  how local history can help the community and how it can encorage your own sense of community. Over the last five years we had many long telephone conversations. We never talked for less than an hour at a time.

Gilston church was standing room only for John’s funeral and afterwards there were many who came to High Wych Memorial Hall to pay homage to him. Our thoughts are with Yolande, his widow. How lucky she was having lived with such a generous, warmhearted and kind man. All those who knew him were enriched by him.

Meanwhile, there is no better way to honour John’s memory than to reread the histories he wrote of both Gilston and Eastwick. To read them once again visit the pertinent pages by clicking on the following links:     John Clarke’s History of Gilston      and:                John Clarke’s History of Eastwick


The High Wych Allotments


Walking back from Sawbridgeworth one evening this week I took the below photograph of the High Wych allotments. I’m quite proud of it to be honest. Here it is:

1702 0701 hwFor quite a while,  writing an article about the history of the allotments has been on my to-do-list. Maybe the sight of this picture will provoke people into coming forward with some stories.

Thanks already,  Theo


The Sawbridgeworth Local History Society is looking for volunteers.

First of all a happy, prosperous and peaceful 2017.

I am taking a break from publishing articles in the Link, High Wych’s Parish Magazine this month.  This website needs a bit of updating, particularly older articles. I have also now added some back ground information on the relevant page.

The Sawbridgeworth Local History Society also takes up a lot of my time. The society would like to have its own website and is looking for volunteers who can help. Personally I would prefer it if this could be done using the same software as this site does: WordPress. The society’s needs however has a few requirements that go beyond what is being done here so my own talents will not suffice. Please contact me if you think you can help.


The Society also needs a logo. Possibly this could be a version of the above picture, an emblem which can be found on one of the old alms houses in Sawbridgworth.  Anybody with a bit of graphical talent please contact me! And whilst you are volunteering, what is stopping you joining the society ylourself!

Thank you very much.


The Oaks of Vimy Ridge – A positive story for Christmas

One of the nice things of having this website is coming in contact with various people inside and outside this country, people who usually have some connection with High Wych.  As a results of these contacts I sometimes rewrite earlier articles. My work as amateur local historian becomes all the more interesting because of this.

A recent example has been my contact with Alan Ward whose family roots do in deed go back to High Wych. His great grandparents were Arthur and Alice Ward who lived in Vicarage Lodge opposite St. James’s Church.  Alan alerted me to a lovely story involving the oak trees from Vimy Ridge.  In these days of gloomy if not disastrous news stories we all need some good news. Click on the below link and perhaps you will feel a bit better.


Thanks go indeed to Alan Ward.

Happy Christmas, Happy New Year,


High Wych Windmill

Hertfordshire University Press just published an interesting book about the history of windmills in  our county.   Entitled ” Wind , Water and Steam” it was written by Hugh  Howes.  It is, as they say, available through all good bookshops and I can thoroughly recommend it.  If you are interested, you can find more information on :   http://www.herts.ac.uk/uhpress/books-content/wind,-water-and-steam

1870-high-wych-windmill003It reminded me of my first foray in the subject of local history when, in 2009, I helped my mother in law write and publish an article about the windmill that once stood on the corner of Broadfields and High Wych Road.  My rewrite will take into account information from Hugh Howes’s book as well as an article written by Gary Thorp in the early nineties.  Watch this space!

Meanwhile why not buy a copy of “Wind, Water and Steam”.