Chelmsford History - Historical Walks

Chelmsford History article

Did you know that for six days in 1381 during the Pheasants Revolt Chelmsford became the capital of England? This situation was brought about by higher taxation, introduced by the crown in 1376. Such action was greeted with much revolt which slowly increased and eventually resulted in a local incident on 11th June 1381. On this day rebels in Chelmsford assaulted the King’s sheriff and burnt royal tax documents on a bonfire. The group then being incensed matched to London to confront the King, Richard II. One of the prominent rebels, from Chelmsford, was a barber called John Stalworth. After quelling with the rebellion in East London, the King, then moved his court to Chelmsford to bring revolt under control. So for six days from 1st to 6th July 1381 Chelmsford became the seat of national Government and the capital of England. Hundreds of royal charters and letters were dispatched from the town during that week to try and quell the rebellion. Many of the ringleaders were caught and tried, but John Stalworth escaped and was later pardoned under an amnesty. With his name cleared he returned to his barber’s shop in Chelmsford High Street and lived a quite life thereafter.

* New - Alan has a new website: http://www.chelmsfordhistorywalks.uk

Alan the historian

In partnership with the Ideas Hub charity “Alan the historian” runs a number of history walks in Chelmsford. Here are details of the walks happening soon.



Industrial Heritage Walk of Chelmsford
Date to be confirmed

Chelmsford has a rich and varied industrial heritage which includes many ground breaking inventions. During this walk we will cover a large number of these marvellous achievements. The variety is amazing and includes from the early years the location of a rope maker’s walk and one of the many local iron foundries. From the Victorian era there is the first Marconi radio factory, a generator house used for public street lighting and a steam omnibus factory. The commentary will also include the building of the railway through Chelmsford, the precise manufacture of ball bearings, the evolution of radio, radar and the early days of television.

The walk starts at the junction of Mildmay Road and Hall Street (outside the old Marconi building), CM2 0DN.

Booking is essential as numbers are limited.

The price is £5 per person (Children under 12 half price) includes a donation to the Ideas Hub. Bookings can be made by calling Alan on 01245 609778 E-mail cityhistorywalks@gmail.com

Chilling Tales of Chelmsford
Thursday 6th July, Tuesday 22nd August and Thursday 21st September - Start 19:30 Finish 21:00

This walking tour of the city describes the more unpleasant side of its history, featuring murders, ghosts, hangings, witchcraft and much more. An evening event not for the faint hearted!
So what happened in Chelmsford to the wealthy landowner on his way to London? How did a protestant preacher end up facing a traitor’s death?

What methods did the Witch Finder General use to confirm acts of witchcraft?
In which Chelmsford buildings are there believed to be ghosts or paranormal activity?
If you would like to know more about the dark side of the history of Chelmsford and find the answers to these questions, then join us on this walk.

A word of warning though if you do not like stories of hangings, murders and of course ghosts then this walk is not for you!

The walk starts at the Stone Bridge in the High Street next to Toni & Guy, CM2 0LR.

Booking is essential as numbers are limited.

The price is £5 per person includes a donation to the Ideas Hub.
Bookings can be made by calling Alan on 01245 609778. Email cityhistorywalks@gmail.com

History of Chelmsford High Street
Tuesday 15th August - Start 19:00 Finish 21:00

A walk featuring the recent history of the town centre before the coming of the large shopping centres and pedestrianisation. This will bring to life tales about the shops and building in the High Street, some of which are still there and some that are sadly no more.

The walk starts at the Stone Bridge in the High Street next to Toni & Guy, CM2 0LR.

Booking is essential as numbers are limited.

The price is £5 per person (Children under 12 half price) includes a donation to the Ideas Hub. Bookings can be made by calling Alan on 01245 609778. Email cityhistorywalks@gmail.com

150 years of the Chelmsford Star Co-op
Saturday 19th August - Start 10:00

A special celebration walk providing a unique opportunity to understand the history and the development of the Chelmsford Star Co-op, one of our oldest local organisations. This walking heritage tour covers many of the varied locations, around the city, that the Co-op over the years has been associated with.

The walk starts outside the Mechanics Institute in New London Road (opposite Fitness Superstore), CM2 0ND.

Booking is essential as numbers are limited.

The price is £5 per person (Children under 12 half price) includes a donation to the Ideas Hub. Bookings can be made by calling Alan on 01245 609778. Email cityhistorywalks@gmail.com

Blue Plaques of Chelmsford Walk
Date to be confirmed

This walk covers some of the Blue Plaques of the famous and not so famous people who have over the years played their part in the history of the city. The commentary will include amongst others an inventor, a judge, a writer and the father of American democracy.

The walk starts at the junction of Mildmay Road and Hall Street (outside the old Marconi building), CM2 0DN

Booking is essential as numbers are limited.

The price is £5 per person (Children under 12 half price) includes a donation to the Ideas Hub. Bookings can be made by calling Alan on 01245 609778. Email cityhistorywalks@gmail.com

Historical Walk of Moulsham Street
Wednesday 12th July - Start 19:30 Finish 21:00

Moulsham Street, named by the Saxons, is perhaps the oldest street in Chelmsford and has a past which predates the city centre. This walk covers the history of the hamlet from before the Roman occupation, through Saxon and Medieval times up to the industrial revolution and the present day. Over time the street has seen many dramatic changes, but hidden away are some fine examples of it’s evolution which you will discover during this tour.The walk starts at the Stone Bridge in the High Street next to Toni & Guy, CM2 0LR.

Booking is essential as numbers are limited.

The price is £5 per person (Children under 12 half price) includes a donation to the Ideas Hub. Bookings can be made by calling Alan on 01245 609778. Email cityhistorywalks@gmail.com

Special Marconi Walk – Part of Chelmsford Heritage Open Days
Thursday 7th Septemeber - Start 10:30 Finish 12:00

This is a special “one off” walking tour from the first Marconi factory in Hall Street to the second in New Street and finishing by special arrangement actually inside the Marconi 1912 building. During the walk the commentary will cover how the people of Chelmsford played a key part in the early days of the evolution of this once great company.

Booking is essential as numbers are limited.

found at the end of Hall Street, Moulsham, opposite the Woolpack PH. The price is Free. Bookings can be made by calling Alan on 01245 609778. Email cityhistorywalks@gmail.com


Bookings can be made by calling Alan on 01245 609778 or E-mail cityhistorywalks@gmail.com

Chilling Tales of Chelmsford
Thursday 7th December - Start 19:30 Finish 20:50

This walking tour of the city describes the more unpleasant side of its history, featuring murders, ghosts, hangings, witchcraft and much more.

An evening event not for the faint hearted!
So what happened in Chelmsford to the wealthy landowner on his way to London? How did a protestant preacher end up facing a traitor’s death?
What methods did the Witch Finder General use to confirm acts of witchcraft?
In which Chelmsford buildings are there believed to be ghosts or paranormal activity?
If you would like to know more about the dark side of the history of Chelmsford and find the answers to these questions, then join us on this walk.
A word of warning though if you do not like stories of hangings, murders and of course ghosts then this walk is not for you!
Booking is essential as numbers are limited. The walk starts at the Stone Bridge in the High Street next to Toni & Guy, CM2 0LR.

The price is £5 per person which includes a donation to the Ideas Hub.
Bookings can be made by calling Alan on 07779 931401 Email cityhistorywalks@gmail.com

City History Walk

Sunday 26th November Start 14:00 Finish 15:30


This walk of Chelmsford City centre brings to life the fascinating past of our city, which dates back to Norman times and has a name that is of Saxon origin. On the walk you will hear some of the unusual stories behind the buildings and get an insight into how the past residents of Chelmsford lived.

Booking is essential as numbers are limited. The walk starts at the Stone Bridge in the High Street next to Toni & Guy, CM2 0LR.

The price is £5 per person (Children under 12 half price) which includes a donation to the Ideas Hub. Bookings can be made by calling Alan on 07779 931401 Email: cityhistorywalks@gmail.com

Industrial Heritage Walk of Chelmsford
Saturday 11th November - Start 10:00 Finish 11:30
Chelmsford has a rich and varied industrial heritage which includes many ground breaking inventions.

During this walk we will cover a large number of these marvellous achievements. The variety is amazing and includes from the early years the location of a rope maker’s walk and one of the many local iron foundries. From the Victorian era there is the first Marconi radio factory, a generator house used for public street lighting and a steam omnibus factory. The commentary will also include the building of the railway through Chelmsford, the precise manufacture of ball bearings, the evolution of radio, radar and the early days of television.

Booking is essential as numbers are limited. The walk starts at the junction of Mildmay Road and Hall Street (outside the old Marconi building), CM2 0DN, and finishes just off Meteor Way.
The price is £5 per person (Children under 14 half price) which includes a donation to the Ideas Hub. Bookings can be made by calling Alan on 07779 931401 E-mail cityhistorywalks@gmail.com

Historical Walk of Moulsham Street
Sunday 4th March 2018 Start 14:00 Finish 15:30


Moulsham Street, named by the Saxons, is perhaps the oldest street in Chelmsford and has a past which predates the city centre. This walk covers the history of the hamlet from before the Roman occupation, through Saxon and Medieval times up to the industrial revolution and the present day. Over time the street has seen many dramatic changes, but hidden away are some fine examples of it’s evolution which you will discover during this tour.
Booking is essential as numbers are limited. The walk starts at the Stone Bridge in the High Street next to Toni & Guy, CM2 0LR.

The price is £5 per person (Children under 12 half price) which includes a donation to the Ideas Hub. Bookings can be made by calling Alan on 07779 931401 Email cityhistorywalks@gmail.com









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