The original idea for this book came from attending a talk in February 2013, by Susan Oosthuizen, University Senior Lecturer in Historic Environment, University of Cambridge. The presentation featured the oldest known map of Balsham, dated 1617. Susan suggested that it would be a good idea to work on a project to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the map in 2017. I was convinced this was feasible, but only if people were willing to share their knowledge and keen to do local research could it proceed further. Through the village magazine I appealed for anyone else who thought this a good idea; there was considerable interest, so in May 2013 the Balsham Map Project was formed.
Personally I have been privileged to handle centuries old maps and documents, and enjoyed the hospitality of the Brothers at the Charterhouse. Following the census records and newspaper reports on the families who lived in Balsham in times past has been absolutely fascinating. The biggest problem we all faced was knowing exactly when and where to stop.
Not everyone who set out on this journey could commit themselves fully, but they have remained supportive. I am grateful to the remaining group members who gave so generously of their time and expertise
Berenice Smith who shared her design and publishing knowledge, kept us on schedule, created the design of the book and website and material for the launch.
Dick Paden, who although joining the group mid-way, was keen to take on a task. As well as putting pen to paper, he co-ordinated with other organisations to ensure for a safe and sound Boundary Walk.
Gene Bridgeman kept copious notes of our enthusiastic meetings, whilst using her local connections and memories, and brought together appealing stories and shares family photos in these pages.
Jan Ellam very cheerfully shared her vast collection of photographs; plus her own memories of family and friends and for bringing them all together, resulting in remarkable accounts of village life.
Pat Faircloth, who delved into her corner of the village and way beyond, and came up with some enjoyable stories, family history and documents.
Peter Neale's farming experience proved invaluable, and was instrumental in negotiating with local landowners, enabling the Boundary Walks to be held.
Sara Himsworth was unstinting and went to great lengths in her fund-raising efforts, as well as finding out the history and past occupants of her family home.
Seppe Cassettari: without whose skills we would not have progressed very far; he worked his magic on the maps we gathered, and presented them so they could be displayed for all to see at our exhibitions.
Finally, eternal thanks to Ian Creek, my husband, for his enduring patience and for coming to my rescue to see me through some challenging times. Ian is also the treasurer of our group.