The Danbury Society
Registered Charity No. 283898
The Danbury Society is a village conservation Society located in
Danbury, Chelmsford, Essex, UK
Carved Village Post on Eve's Corner, Danbury

The Danbury Society in 2007

  • Snow comes to Danbury in February - collection of photographs

  • My Life as a Gamekeeper" by Mr G Bendall

    Thursday, 22nd March 2007 in the Church Meeting Room.

    Curt Brown, Chairman, opened the meeting promptly at 8pm & welcomed quite a large audience. He thanked Dave Bolwell for his contribution to the production of the Danbury Footpath Map distributed to all houses in Danbury.

    Curt opening the Meeting
    Curt opening the Meeting.
    Photos by John Bowen

    Curt then introduced Graham as a professional Gamekeeper from Little Brackstead.

    Graham Bendall
    Graham Bendall.

    Tweeds, facial hair and a rich Essex accent marked Mr Bendall as the genuine article. The audience learned a moderate amount about being the gamekeeper of a 1000-acre shoot at Little Braxted and an awful lot about Mr Bendall.

    Here was a raconteur of a high order. Entirely without notes he kept the audience entertained and amused for a full hour with anecdotes about his Dad (many stories about his Dad!), the bizarre workings of the Hunting Act, his fearsome terrier, ramblers carrying maps and carrying clipboards, urban foxes and clever magpies.

    There was even some straightforward country lore.
    "If you see a crowd of crows, they be rooks; if you sees a rook by 'isself, he be a crow".

    The shooting year starts for him about May when he takes young pheasants and partridges for rearing and bringing on. All the time he must ensure the ground offers good cover and protection for the birds or they will fly away to somewhere more amenable. He also has to keep down the predators.

    Shooting starts in the autumn and goes on to the end of January.

    After a lovely cup of tea/coffee and homemade cake supplied by Ivy Hare & Jean Brown, Graham answered questions about badgers, rabbits, squirrels, moles and pheasants in people's gardens. He was thanked by Curt & the audience showed their appreciation with a good clap.

    Write-up by Norman Barlett.

    Parish Meeting

    This took place on Monday, 26th March in the Village Hall

    Curt, Bob, Norman & Philip
    Curt, Bob, Norman & Philip at the Danbury Society table.

    The Spring (Bluebell) Walk

    This was on Sunday, 29th April from the Community Centre Top Car Park and led by David & Wendy Moore.

    Unlike last year when it was wet, this year was preceded by a month of above average temperatures & no rain.
    About 20 Walkers assembled at 2.15pm and struck off to Blake's Wood to see the Bluebells which were wonderful.   The rain ealier in the year had swollen the bulbs & the hot weather of April had brought them out in their full glory.   The scent was lovely but a bit overpowering.

    Spring Walkers
    Photograph taken as the party set out for Blake's Wood.
    David Moor has the Mapboard.
    Photo by John Bowen

    The Bluebells in Blake's Wood
    The Bluebells in Blake's Wood.

    The Armstrong Gibbs Society - CD Launch

    This was held on 19th May in St John's Meeting Room, Danbury.

    Mr Christopher Kingsley welcomed a number of the Armstrong Gibbs family, Members of the Armstrong Gibbs Society & friends. Angela Aries then told how the Society came into being and then introduced Robert Atchison, (Violin) and a member of the London Piano Trio. He explained that they were committed to publicising both the lesser known & his more popular works. A track was then played from the CD, the Allegro moderato from "a "Trio in D Major, Op 99". Very technical and superbly recorded.

    The digitized picture on the front cover was taken from the Danbury Society Web Site with permission of Curt Brown, Chairman and John Bowen who took the original photograph.

    The front cover from the CD
    The front cover from the CD.

    For more details click here to go to The London Piano Trio web site link: -

    The London Piano Trio


    The Armstrong Gibbs Society

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    The 35th Annual Art Exhibition.

    This was held at the Danbury Village Hall, Eve's Corner Bank Holiday weekend, 24th to 26th August.

    Entrance was free but a catalogues was £1.00.

    This is a highly regarded exhibition with both framed and unframed pictures for sale, many by local artist and further a field in Essex, showing different media and a variety of subjects.

    Monies raised will help to promote the general charitable benefit of the inhabitants of the Danbury area.

    The Danbury Society Annual Art Show was headed by Glad & John Deamer and her band of willing helpers.

    Art Exhibition Village Hall
    Photographs by Norman Bartlett.

    The Village Hall with the banner flying to attract punters.

    Curt's Painting

    Photograph taken of the lovely painting of Danbury Palace by A.R.S.A. Artist, Keeley Halswelle & given to Hon Mrs Claughton on 11th July 1889.   Mrs Claughton was the Wife of Dr Thomas Legh Claughton, 1st Bishop of St Albans.
    It was presented to the Danbury Society by Robin Campbell, the Great Grandson of Bishop & Mrs Claughton and now lives in Scotland.   See the page on Keeley Halswelle under "Danbury Palace", above.

    Main Hall
    The Main Hall showing the lovely paintings on display.

    The Top Tables

    Main Hall
    The Main Hall looking towards the stage.

    Thank you very much Glad & John Deamer for all the work you put in on behalf of the Danbury Society. Thanks also to all the Stewards & Helpers who made this, the 35th Exhibition such a social & commercial success.

    Thanks also to Bakers of Danbury, from Eves Corner who collected & returned the Art display screens - our grateful thanks to their helpful driver who's professionalism & knowledge of his lorry was appreciated.

    The Autumn Meeting

    This was on Thursday, 20th September in the Church Meeting Room when Mark Stacey (Ex BBC Roadshow) presented "My Life with Antiques".

    Mark was introduced by Chairman, Curt Brown to a full house, such was the interest in the subject.

    Mark & Curt

    He said his Grandfather started the business in 1947, his Father continued it & it is now run by Mark & his Brother at Rochford.   Mark gave out a nice catalogue for an Auction the day before this meeting.   He drew our attention to a small Victorian silver Vinaigrette with a guide price of £300 to £500 which went for 3 times this figure.

    He then went through a large selection of Antiques starting with a Delft Plate dated 1680 - "Value" he asked? The audience advanced their valuation to over £3,000 - "£50" someone shouted in the front row to a gasp of disbelief from the audience. "Absolutely correct" said Mark.   "It is not really wanted even though it is old".

    This set the tone for the evening - listening to words of explanation from a very professional Auctioner.

    Copies & Fakes were also explained and demonstrated.

    Mark and the Audience

    The audience enjoyed a cup of English Tea & Cakes at the break-time provided by Glad, Jean & Ivy and then examined the pieces Mark had brought along.

    Afterwards, Mark answered many questions which proved that Antiques were a subject quite dear to Danbury residents.   A lady produced a lovely statute which proved very interesting to Mark who described it to the audience.

    Mark and the figurine

    Mark Stacey holding the Figureine with Curt Brown, Chairman.

    A very interesting talk presented in a very enthusiastic manner - thank you Mark and your lady assistant for your interesting & informative presentation.

    The Autumn Walk

    This was on Sunday, 21st October at 2.15pm from the Community Centre Top Car Park - led by David & Wendy Moore.

    In total contrast to last year the weather was superb with a cloudless sky and basically no wind. Initially only 4 persons turned up but in the last few minutes 20 more appeared from nowhere.

    Mr & Mrs Sharp gave their apologies - it was rare that they did not do the walk but they were on their next holiday assignment.

    Autumn Walk
    Photo by John Bowen

    Most of the walkers as they assembled ready to start the walk. David & Wendy are on the right of the picture.

    John Bowen - The photographer
    Photo by Colin Page
    The photographer, John giving the "start" signal for the walk to begin.

    The Walk was first documented by David Moore, October 1992 and called Danbury Society Walk No 1.
    It starts by going down the Scout Hut road, Bellhill Wood, cross The Ridge into Runsell Lane, Scrubs Wood to the indentation known as "Glacier Road", Twitty Fee, back of The Warren Golf Course, Thrift Wood and then across the A414 by The Royal Oak public house to Tyndales Lane.   Gay Bowers Road, back of Danecourt, Copt Hill & back to the Car Park.

    Rear of Danecourt
    Photo by Colin Page
    Footpath at the rear of Danecourt, note how green the leaves are.

    Distance of 5.6 miles was walked in something like 2½ hours.   A beautiful walk, thank you Wendy & David.

    The AGM and The World of Fred Spalding

    This was on Thursday, 22nd November in St John's Church Meeting Room at 8pm.

    Curt Brown was elected Chairman again - during his Report he said the Danbury Society had presented a sum of money to the Parish to enable them to provide a power point on Eves Corner and for them to arrange the erection of a Christmas Tree. The Mission are this year going to provide Carols around the Village but not the Tree.   Mince Pies & Muld Wine being provided at The Mission.

    After the AGM Chris Lambert of the CBC Record Office presented an illustrated talk entitled “The World of Fred Spalding”. Chris had been an archivist in Chelmsford for 20 years and had written the “words” to the CBC book on Fred.

    Chris Lambert
    CBC Record Office Archivist, Chris Lambert
    Photo by John Bowen

    Fred (Senior) is known to have been a shoemaker in March 1830 but by 1851 was classified as running a shop for “Bird Stuffing & Shoemaker”. He also did photography as a sideline using the recently developed “Wet Plate” method.   By 1860 Fred (Junior and the same name) had joined him in the photographic business.

    Chris showed a number of early photographs and explained their significance in social history. The Prince of Wales with Daisy at Easton Lodge in 1905 provided a talking point. A couple of pictures of Park & Bolton were shown as they were female impersonators & soon afterwards prosecuted in London as part of a sex scandal.

    Fred ran one photographic shop of some 8 or 9 in Chelmsford and 80 in Essex at the turn of the century. His niche market was taking photographs of mainly houses in Chelmsford, Danbury & district but not Maldon and printing them into postcards with many thousands being produced this way.   Photos of the Hon Bishop Claughton at Danbury Palace, 1891 and The Griffin about 1905 were shown.

    Fred Senior was a Councillor for some 50 years, a Mayor and died in 1947.

    Thank you Chris for an interesting evening.

    After the Talk the Danbury Society Committee invited the large audience have a glass of wine, cheese & biscuits with them.

    The Christmas Tree at Eves Corner

    For the past 20 years or so the Danbury Society Committee aided by a number of volunteers have obtained a Chritmas Tree locally and erected it at Eves Corner.   They then dressed it with 40 bulbs and the Salvation Army have come from Maldon or Chelmsford on a night in December and played their Silver Band and up to 140 people have sung carols.
    Afterwards they have walked to the URC Meeting Rooms and enjoyed Mince Pies & Mulled Wine.

    Unfortunately the Danbury Society Committee are getting older and were very upset by the part destruction of the trees in the past two years by the louts of Danbury so felt that their efforts were not really being appreciated.

    The Danbury Parish Council have taken on the task of providing the Tree this year with a grant from The Danbury Society. After much effort by the Parish Clerk a Lighting Pillar has been provided.   This is a good feature as it could be used at other times.

    Christmas Tree at Eves Corner - Dec 2007
    Christmas Tree at Eves Corner.
    Photos by John Bowen

    The Parish arranged for Contractors to erect the tree this year inside a stout stockade and light it with low voltage bulbs to meet current Health & Safety Regulations.

    Christmas Tree at Eves Corner - Dec 2007
    Christmas Tree at night - the stockade illuminated by a car's headlamps.

    The Danbury Society would like to thank the Parish Council for all the work involved in providing the Tree.

    This year, the Mission arranged a Siver Band from Brentwood and invited all from Danbury to join them going around the village singing Carols on Wednesday, 19th December starting at 7.30pm from The Mission.   The night was dry but with a good frost and about 50 people set off to sing the first Carol in Belvedere.   Unfotunately double glazing and Oliver Twist on TV meant that only 2 window curtains twitched but one lady thanked everyone for the lovely Carols.

    Silver band from Brentwood
    9 piece Silver band from Brentwood.

    Carols around Danbury
    Part of the large group of singers.

    Carols around Danbury
    Band playing in The Avenue

    Carols around Danbury
    Part of the large group of singers.   Simon is on the left.

    Having visited Hoynors & Jubilee Rise (where 4 houses opened their doors to appreciate the lovely Carols), the group made their way to The Avenue where only two houses appeared to hear us!   We were then invited by Simon to go back to the warm Mission where we enjoyed hot Mulled Wine/coffee & hot Mince Pies.

    Pity that Carols were not sung around the tree on Eves Corner - maybe next year?
    Thanks to the Mission for their hopitality.

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    Copyright (c) John Bowen 2008
    Last revised:-
    29th January 2008 - Created this page.