Bishop's Waltham - its History
The Society has an important role to play in conducting research into the town’s history and publishing information about it.
What we discover also provides opportunities to celebrate our past. For example, in 2014 it came as a shock to find that Bishop’s Waltham was in danger of completely overlooking an important anniversary the following year - 2015 - which would be the 600th anniversary of Henry V's stay at the Palace for two weeks whilst preparing to embark for France on the road to Agincourt. Just in time, this discovery led to the “Road to Agincourt” celebration held at the Palace on the anniversary. A video of the event is available on YouTube. It was a remarkable example of cross-community collaboration (as the acknowledgements at the end of the video illustrate).
The Society took a lead role in proposing and then supporting another celebration at the Palace in 2022. This was the 500th anniversary of a prolonged 10-day visit by Henry VIII and the Holy Roman Emperor in 1522 at which they signed the Treaty of Waltham - an agreement to invade France. This was celebrated on the exact day, July 2nd (and 3rd) 500 years later. Again a video of the event is available on YouTube and once more it was the result of cross-community co-operation.
As part of both the Agincourt and Henry VIII celebrations, our then chairman, Tony Kippenberger, prepared an exhibition for Bishop's Waltham Museum. A pdf of the Agincourt exhibition can be downloaded here [4.2 MB] (remember it is under copyright, but is free for personal non-profitmaking use!). A 12-page booklet based on the Henry VIII exhibition was published by the Society and is downloadable here [6.8 MB].
So many historical events occurred at the Palace that we have put together a detailed list of those that occur over the next 25 years (download the latest BW Anniversaries document here). The Society aims to update this list every year and re-post it on this website.
The 2023 list of anniversaries
The anniversaries are broken down into three groups: important Palace anniversaries, a number of (inevitably rather random) town anniversaries (both at 25 year intervals) and some organisational anniversaries (at 5 and 10 year intervals).
We would like to add more dates to all these groups – so please let us know of any more that you uncover by contacting our chairman Robin Shepherd (via firstname.lastname@example.org).
Bishop’s Waltham Timeline
In 2018, the Bishop’s Waltham Museum asked our former chairman, Tony Kippenberger, if he would produce a timeline of Bishop’s Waltham’s history in abbreviated form for a display on their walls. The timeline now covers – in four separate charts – the period from 10,000 BC to the 2020s!
A pdf of it can be downloaded here [335 KB] (remember it is under copyright, but is free for personal non-profitmaking use!). It is possible that a larger, wallchart version might be made available for sale.
All the Society’s publications also trace the town’s history in greater detail (see Our Publications).