I have two files available of my copy of the 1815 Chelmsford Chronicle; a more web friendly, black and white version (still 10 megs) and a full color, high resolution version which is over 34  megabytes in size. To download either one, click the links below:

B&W (10 Megs) | Color (34 Megs)

Stories about me and my copy of the paper were featured in two different newspapers; the Essex Chronicle, the modern day descendent of the Chelmsford Chronicle and the Cedar Rapids Gazette. To see transcriptions of these articles, click on the links below:

Essex Chronicle: Copy (1.5 Megs) Transcription () | Cedar Rapids Gazette: Copy (833 K) Transcription ()

I am working on an index to the paper with references to people, companies, and locations. These files are also available on CD ROM by special arrangement. Contact: thorpe@skep.com

Background on my copy of The Chelmsford Chronicle - July 14, 1815

When my grandmother, Grace Thorogood Bellamy, died in 1987 my mother, Paddy Bellamy Thorpe, returned to England for a visit. While cleaning out Grandma's effects, Mom came across an old newspaper and brought it home to me, Robert Thorpe. It seemed the proper thing to do as I am the family historian and genealogist.

The newspaper was generally in good shape with only a few tears and wrinkles and a portion of one corner missing. It had been folded all these years so there was some deterioration where it had been creased. I laid it out flat on a large piece of archival encapsulation material and carefully flattened out the pages, correctly orienting the little bits and folds as best I could. Then I laid another sheet of encapsulation material over the top and sealed the edges, forcing out as much air as I could. Unlike lamination, this process leaves the original unhurt and it is completely reversible.

My wife Karen and I are in the process of moving to a new home here in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA, and while packing I came across the newspaper once again. This rekindled and interest in it and I did a little web research. I sent an email to the Corporate Communications desk at the Essex County Council. Ms Emma Moore responded and also forwarded my letter to the Essex Chronicle's newsdesk.

I am happy to make a scan of this newspaper available to anyone who has an interest researching it. To that purpose I have set up this web page where interested parties can download copies in various formats.


I was born in 1948 in the USA. My father was an instrument mechanic in the US Army Air Corps in World War II and was stationed at Alconbury. My mother was a radar operator in the WAAFs. They met and were married and she came to the US after the war. All my relatives on her side of the family still live in England. Both my grandparents are dead now, but I have two aunts and and uncle still alive; Joan Green of Whittlesey, John Bellamy of Maidstone, and Barbara Butler of Sutton Coldfield. There are also many cousins and their children too.

My grandmother, Grace Caroline Thorogood Bellamy, was the daughter of Frederick and Emily Munson Thorogood who lived on Baddow Road. It was from this grandmother and presumably one of her parents that this newspaper originated. I know my great grandmother Emily's people came from the Felsted area, still close enough that they could have been the ones responsible for preserving the newspaper. My great grandfather Frederick's parents lived in Chelmsford but may have only lived there for a short time. The Munson and Thorogood families seem to have been fairly closely associated, marrying back and forth between generations so Munson and Thorogood are the only surnames I can document as ancestors. I have been looking through the paper for either of these two names but have not come across them yet. I assume that there is an article about one of my relatives in the paper, why else would it have been preserved for nearly 200 years. I know we are somehow related to families named Masson, Sorrell and Cooke, but I have not discovered what that exact relationship is yet. I suspect that an earlier generation even yet may have been responsible for saving the paper. My great great grandfather, James Munson, Emily's father was only born in 1815 and he is the oldest that I know of from this generation. So it is probable that someone in his parents' generation, being adults at the time, kept the paper. Who these people might have been is a mystery to me, my genealogical research has not progressed that far.

I have been in correspondence with Ms Gloria Harris of Chelmsford who has been very kind in helping me locate the graves of these ancestors. I would like to invite anyone who has an association with this family or other information to contact me at: thorpe@skep.com.