Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hadrian at the Manor of Groves

Recently I started research on the Manor of Groves. History of that estate goes back to the middle ages. The Manor of Groves was the place where local vips such as the Barnards, the Buxtons and the Egertons resided. As always I will appreciate help from all who think they have a story, a picture or any other information.

I can already show you one picture. It was given to me by Douglas Scott. The Scotts were the last private occupants of the Manor before it became a hotel.  The photograph shows Hadrian the Bull on what had until then had been a cricket field.  Shortly afterwards, in 1987, the Scotts left for Gloucestershire where they still live and are engaged in raising pedigree South Devon cattle.hadrian-sIsn’t Hadrian beautiful?

John Sapsford, the Sapsfords, the Burys and the Birds

Currently I am preparing publication of an article based on the writings of John Sapsford.  As some of you may know already, John Sapsford (1922 – 2010)  wrote extensively about the history of High Wych and Sawbridgeworth.  I received a lot of help from John’s daughter, Wendy Oxborough who supplied me with some lovely photographs. Amongst those is the below  picture taken in 1907 at the wedding of Alice Sapsford and Walter Bird. Perhaps some of your ancestors are in it as well!

1907 wedding of alice sapsford to walter bird

According to John Sapsford’s writings the people in the above photograph are:

Backrow left to right: Frank Bury, Susanna Thurgood, Percy Saban, Harry Tucker, William Bird, George Childs, Emma Thurgood, Nellie Thurgood, William Sapsford, Jim Eaton, Bertha Rickett, Minnie Rickett.

Middle row left to right: Lilian Bury, May Tucker, Louisa Sapsford, Walter Bird, Alice Bird, Alfred Sapsford, Liza Saban.

Bottom row left to right: Leonard Thurgood, Harold Thurgood, William Bury, George Rickett, Emily Tucker, Arthur Sapsford, William Rickett.

Talk to you soon. Best regards,  Theo

Walter Richard Webb – Finally some more details

It has been a while since I did anything about first world war research. The internet   being what it is however people contact you out of the blue with questions and with help. That was the case when Gareth Hughes of St. Albans contacted me. Sadly I could not help him with the questions he asked me but the help he gave me set me on the way to finally find out more.

It appears that Walter ended up in Mesopotamia, present day  Iraq where he served with the military police until his death in 1921.

baghdad northgate cemetery

Walter Webb was buried at the Northgate cemetery in Baghdad, I have not been able to find out the exact co-ordinates of his grave.

Having found out all this I amended the list of High Wych WW1 fallen soldiers. You can download it by clicking on the below link.

The first world war in High Wych – The soldiers that did not come back



Jane Lydia Bird

hw un dated high wych green reducedin the centre of our village are two rows of cottages. One is still referred to as the Helmer & Dyer officeds although that company moved out quite a while ago. The other are known by some as the “pink cottages” although only one of them is now a pinkish white. In the middle is the green where between 1865 and 1919 a pump stood.  The picture above was taken around 1911-12. We know that because at HALS a postcard version was found with a date stamp from 19 13. The woman in the picture was Jane Lydia Bird. The boys in the front mst probably her sons.

hw 25 or so jane lydia bird

The second picture  was taken some 10-15 years later and shows the same Jane Lydia Bird in front of her cottage which was the one on the right.

Two surviving soldiers from WW1


November is drawing near and once again we prepare for the remembrance of the fallen in two world wars. My latest article however concentrates on to soldiers that survived war: William Smith and George Howe. You can download it by clicking on the link :   two surviving soldiers

At present I am working on an article about the Queens Head, the one and only hostelry in Allens Green. If you have any recollections of this place or the people that managed it, please get in touch.

Thanks very much.   Theo

High Wych – One of the 100 parishes



What are the 100 parishes and where are they you may ask. In short it is an area of some 450 square miles in northwest Essex, northeast Hertfordshire and southern Cambridgeshire that is largely unspoilt and richly endowed with many fine examples of agricultural and built heritage. The 100 parishes society was formed in 2012 to raise public awareness and to encourage preservation of the region’s special characteristics. Underneath is a map taken from the society’s website.locationmap 100parishesThat website is the most visible manifestation of the organisation. Amongst other things it includes a short description of every single parish including High Wych. So, if you want to gather ideas for short walks or day outings, find out about local activities or just read up on our heritage, there is no better place to start. Recently your parish historian was involved in an update of the entry for our parish and without any false modesty I can tell you that I am proud of the result. You can see for yourself at