All the talks take place on a Wednesday in the Mead Hall in East Lane, Wheathampstead

       (behind The Bull, next to the free car park, starting at 7.30 pm).

         Admission is £1.00 for members and £3.00 for non-members and guests.



Refreshments will be available. Talks will start at 7.45.

Note: Members of the Society are reciprocal members of the Welwyn Archaeological Society with free access

to their meetings. Click here for the WAS programme.


17 January


  Peter Burley "Two Royal Burials in St Albans"

Many people know that Duke Humphrey of Gloucester (Henry V's younger brother, who died in 1447) is buried in St Albans Cathedral. It is less well known that there was - and may still be - a second royal burial here. Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, was killed in the First Battle of St Albans (1455) and buried in the Lady Chapel. We know his remains are not there now, but what happened to them?  Peter Burley will compare these two very different burials and the stories behind them.  

21 February


Rudi Newman "From Scythes to Suburbia: the Socio-economic Impacts of the Coming of the                                Railways to the Chilterns"

The railway line that ran from Hatfield to Dunstable, taking in our own Wheathampstead station on the way, was only one of many that were built in the Chilterns area in the 19th century and which transformed people's lives.


21 March


Kate Morris "Behind Closed Doors: the Inside Story of some St Albans Buildings"   

Many of us are familiar with buildings such as this one, Ivy House which stands opposite St Peter's Church at the north end of St Peter's Street but, in many cases, their history has not been researched until now. Kate Morris will tell us    about what she has found. 


18 April


Philip Sheail "The 3rd Earl Cowper's Grand Tour: 1756 - 1760"

George Nassau Clavering-Cowper, 3rd Earl Cowper (1738 - 1789) made his Grand Tour of Europe in the company of a tutor after leaving Eton. Unlike other Grand Tourers, he settled in Florence and seldom returned to England. His descendants became owners of Panshanger in Welwyn and hence of large areas of land around Wheathampstead in the 19th century.


The talk will be preceded by a short Annual General Meeting of the Society.

16 May


  Jane Kelsall "Christina of Markyate: c.1096 - 1155/60"

Christina of Markyate came from a wealthy Anglo-Saxon family in Huntingdon and was devoutly Christian from childhood. Escaping from an unwelcome marriage, she became an anchoress at Markyate and, later, prioress at St Albans Abbey. Markyate Priory was established in 1145. 


 20 June



 Andy Gibbs "The Poor Child's Friend: Joseph Lancaster's Educational Revolution"

Joseph Lancaster was a pioneer of elementary education for the poor in the early 19th century. He developed the 'monitorial' method of teaching and learning whereby one pupil would pass on what they had learned to another. This method would have been used in the school that opened on The Hill in Wheathampstead in 1815. Click here for more about this school.

 Sunday 1 July


 Clive Hammersley of the Battlefields Trust will lead a walk around Devil's Dyke, one of the possible sites of Julius Caesar's battle with Cassivellaunus. He will also discuss Caesar's campaign and other possible sites of the final battle. The walk will take in the public areas of Wheathampstead's Belgic Oppidum and some of its immediate surroundings. All are welcome to attend. However, costs are £5.00 for non-members of the Battlefields Trust.

18 July


  Members' Evening: a chance to share your history research

 Many members of the Society have a story to tell about research they have done, or are doing.   It may be about your family, or local history, or national history. This is your chance to tell us   about your work and what you have found. Please contact us if you would like to take part.




19 September 


  Elizabeth Eastwood "Constance and Mary: the Battle for Female Suffrage: Lady Constance   Bulwer Lytton and Mary Augusta Ward"

Constance Bulwer-Lytton (1869 - 1923) was a daughter of the 1st Earl of Lytton who became Viceroy of India. She was a political activist in the fields of prison reform, birth control and, particularly, female suffrage.

Mary Augusta Ward (also known as novelist Mrs Humphry Ward) was vigorously opposed to women having the vote and was founding president of the Women's Anti-Suffrage League. 

17 October




21 November


  Members' Evening: a chance to share your history research

 This is another opportunity for members of the Society to tell us about the research you have   done, or are doing. It may be about your family, or local history, or national history. Please   contact us if you would like to take part.

19 December


  Christmas party 

Our annual fish-and-chip supper. Members are invited to bring along an object of historical interest and tell us all about it. Please let us know that you would like to come so we can plan the catering etc.   email


Click here for links to our neighbouring History Societies, all of which have their own programmes of events.