About VCH Essex

This finely surviving WW2 pillbox has undergone a number of changes since its or

VCH Essex is useful to anyone who wants to find out about almost any aspect of the history of our county, or of any particular place within it. Many simply refer to the Essex VCH as a source of information in itself, while others use its footnote references to guide them to the original documents or printed sources, so that they can follow up their own interests. The comprehensive nature of our research makes the VCH a standard work of reference that no county interested in learning should be without.

Below is a list of some of the groups who find the VCH helpful to their professional activities, educational goals, or personal interests. If you, or your interest group, are not represented here, why not let us know and we can add you to the list?

• Local historians and history groups
• Family historians and genealogists
• Social and economic historians
• Rural and urban historians
• Landscape and architectural historians
• Students of all ages, and teachers 
• Archivists and Librarians
• Archaeologists and museum curators
• Planning departments of local authorities
• T.V. and Radio programme producers 

For fuller details of the VCH approach and the content of future volumes please spend a moment or two to look at Writing the VCH. For the content of future volumes see Work in Progress. To find out where to find volumes look at Where to find Volumes.


Staff Profiles

Christopher Thornton, BA, PhD, FRHistS, Consultant Editor

Chris studied history as an undergraduate at the University of Kent and obtained his PhD at the Department (now Centre) of English Local History, University of Leicester. He was later a research associate in the Leicester Department and a Junior Research Fellow at Hertford College, Oxford. He contributed articles to VCH Essex Volumes IX (1994) and X (2001), including Dedham and several other parishes in 'Constable country'. He then edited Volume XI (2012), to which he also contributed articles on 'North-East Essex Seaside Resorts', 'Clacton-on-Sea to 1914', and 'The Resorts in the Second World War'. For Volume XII he is now completing a history of the parishes that formed the medieval Soke of the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's (Kirby-le-Soken, Thorpe-le-Soken and Walton-le-Soken) and the small port of St Osyth with its important priory. His other interests include medieval agarian history, landscape and settlement, publishing several papers on medieval farming techniques and agricultural productivity on the estates of the bishopric of Winchester, and editing a book by the late Derek Stern, A Hertfordshire Demesne of Westminster Abbey: Profits, Productivity and Weather (2000). In recent years he has also undertaken a series of studies of buildings and landscapes for The National Trust, English Heritage, Essex County Council and private clients. He is a holding trustee and officer of the Essex Society for Archaeology and History (and former President and Hon. Secretary), a member of the executive committee of the Friends of Historic Essex, and a primary school governor. In his spare time he enjoys fossil-collecting and reading military history.


E-mail: Christopher.Thornton@sas.ac.uk

Herbert Eiden Herbert Eiden, Consultant Editor

Dr Herbert Eiden studied history, philosophy and politics at Trier (Germany) and Stirling. He took his MA and PhD under the supervision of Franz Irsigler at Trier. His PhD on the English Peasants' Revolt of 1381 was published in 1995 (in German). Some of his findings on the Revolt in Essex and Norfolk have been presented to English speaking audiences in three articles published in History 83 (1998), in the English Historical Review 114 (1999), and in a volume of collected essays (Festschrift for Stuart Jenks, 2008). He assisted with the editing of VCH Essex Volume XI (2012), to which he contributed articles on 'The Resorts between the Wars' and 'The Resorts 1945 to c. 1970'. For Volume XII he is researching the history of the parishes of Great Holland and Little Holland. His main interests are medieval and early modern social and economic history. Before he joined the VCH Essex in 2003, he worked as a research fellow in projects on the history of money (1250-1750), the history of witchcraft (1550-1700), and the history of international trade fairs (1250-1550). He has published a range of articles in these fields and edited a volume of an international conference on witch-trials. He also taught medieval history and 'Geschichtliche Landeskunde' (regional historical studies) at the University of Trier, and undertook postgraduate teaching at the University of Essex and the Institute of Historical Research in London.