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Sawbridgeworth Local History Society members revive trail of town's best kept secrets



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If you can't place where the 'trompe l'oeil' of a cat on a windowsill is in Sawbridgeworth or where the town's oldest timber framed house is history experts have an exciting plan which could serve to enlighten you.

Following a £300 grant from Hertfordshire County Council Sawbridgeworth Local History Society is aiming to replace the boards marking its Millennium Trail with QR codes linked to its website.

The 2000 Millennium Trail, sponsored by Sawbridgeworth Town Council, has nine stops of interest, beginning in Great St Mary's churchyard and ending in Bell Street.

The trail begins in the churchyard of Great St Mary's Church. Pic: Vikki Lince. (54014198)
The trail begins in the churchyard of Great St Mary's Church. Pic: Vikki Lince. (54014198)

Now the society is arranging a reprint the leaflet for the trail, acknowledging the support of the town and county councils and will install the codes at each step, with a formal launch planned.

History society chairman David Royle said: "We hope that we may in future be involved in any new town map/heritage trail, including the three new developments, to replace the Bell Street car park map.

"We are also organising an updated reprint of Wally Wright's Explore Sawbridgeworth town walk, originally developed with the Bishop's Stortford History Society, which is also on our website."

The Millennium Trail takes in some of Sawbridgeworth's best kept secrets, including where the town's malthouse and sack factory was houses and the path where Ann Boleyn may have trod on her way to church from Pishiobury House.

General Views of Sawbridgeworth. Sheering Mill Lock and Lawrence Moorings. .Pic: Seren Stephen. (54069375)
General Views of Sawbridgeworth. Sheering Mill Lock and Lawrence Moorings. .Pic: Seren Stephen. (54069375)

It also reveals details of the revelries the townspeople indulged in with fairs an essential part of the year's events. It's unlikely that organisers of current day events would stage sideshows seen in the days of old such as a boxing booth, a fat lady, a dwarf couple or a lamb with five legs. It may not be surprising to learn the authorities were forced to close many fairs due to riotous behaviour.

David Royle revealed the society has arranged with Bishop's Stortford Museum to organise two history walks this year - one in August based on the Millennium Trail and the Wally Wright's walk and one in November to link with Nostlagia Day and Remembrance weekend.

For more historical gems - and the answer to where the 'trompe l'oeil' is along with the oldest timber framed building - see https://sbwhistory.com

Fawbert and Barnard infants school. Pic: Seren Stephen. (54014179)
Fawbert and Barnard infants school. Pic: Seren Stephen. (54014179)

The society has a talk lined up later this month - Covid-19 allowing - by local historian Peter Reed on Sir Edwin Arthur Cutforth, major Sawbridgeworth benefactor. The talk is planned for Thursday January 27 at 7pm at The Hailey Centre, Bell Street. To book a place email david.royle1@gmail.com. Numbers are limited due to Covid measures.



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