Pocket History: William Penn

Essex and Pensylvania do not at first glance have many similarities, but they do have an important connection – William Penn. The Quaker founder of the American state attended Chigwell school in 1685 when his father served in the navy. His interest in the New...

Back to our roots – Dec 2004

The BBC programme Who Do You Think You Are? has highlighted how popular researching family history has become. This week there’s a chance to start your investigations, says Chris Penhall With the huge success of the BBC TV series, Who Do You Think You Are?,...

Boudicca, warrior queen – Sept 2003

With a new film starring Alex Kingston in ITV this Sunday, Chris Penhall looks at the story behind the fearsome East Anglian rebel. She was of “enormous build, terrifying to look at, with a harsh voice and bright red hair down to her knees.” So said Roman historian...

Season of the witch – Oct 2002

In the 16th and 17th centuries, Essex was ‘witch county’, a hotbed of ignorance, superstition and fear which Matthew Hopkins exploited in his self-styled role as Witchfinder General. Chris Penhall investigates. Hallowe’en, the Ancient Celtic New...