The Reverend Cecil Edward Russell MBE was the vicar at St Leonard’s for 20 years, from 1937 to 1957. This means of course he was the parish priest throughout the second world war. He also wrote a history of Flamstead and the church, 50 years after the one written by his predecessor.
He was ordained in 1914 and before coming to Flamstead had been the vicar at Manston, Leeds and a curate at St Saviour’s, Ealing. He was awarded the MBE for his services in the first World War.
In 1956, he wrote a privately circulated typewritten book “Flamstead Hertfordshire” explaining in the Introduction:
“It is now fifty years since the Reverend John Vincent Bullard, Vicar of the parish of Flamstead 1898-1910, wrote a history of the church and village. This admirable work is out of print and at some points needs correction owing to later discoveries, but it supplies the foundation of this book.”
Intriguingly, on page 34 (and writing in 1956), he goes onto say:
“The parish log book has many press cuttings and photographs of events in recent history, of place and people, … . There is a 16mm film called ‘Flashes of Flamstead’ taken by the writer in 1938 which will be a valuable record in another century. It shows many of the children in sun-bonnets and some remaining horse transport. That same year was the last in which any straw-plait was made up the village, for the hat manufacturers of Luton no longer send out straw-plait and loan the machine for hats to be made up in the village cottages.”
Where is that film now? Does it still exist? Please do get in touch if you have any information.
He died in 1957, whilst still serving Flamstead, having never recovered from a fall in the winter of 1956. He is buried in God’s Acre.
This page has used material from Eric Edwards “A New History of Flamstead”.