Unfortunately the news from the Corporation of London is not encouraging. It seems that records kept over the past 100 years by the Essex Field Club and the Corporation are not able to prove 100% that the Axe on display at The View is the Willingale Billhook.

I’m hopeful that over time some more records will be found that enable us to prove that this is the Willingale Axe. For example in 1978 there was an exhibition in Loughton Library, called ‘A Keeper’s Tale’. I have a couple of photos of this exhibition, and can just make out a Billhook on display in one of the cabinets titled ‘The Willingale Collection’. If anyone has a better photo of this display we may be able to confirm if it’s the same billhook as now displayed at The View. Hopefully there are other photos, descriptions or drawing of these Axes in existence, which we are currently unaware of, that will allow us to positively confirm the Billhook as the one formerly owned by Thomas Willingale.

A full write up on the Axe will appear in next year’s summer Journal. This year’s winter journal is almost complete and is a celebration of our first ten years. It contains some of our best research since the society started, along with an update on the DNA project, which attempts to explain the issues with the Charles branch, plus a transcript of Thomas Willingale (the Lopper’s) letter to the Woodford, Buckhurst-Hill & Loughton Advertiser in December 1866, plus the letter which prompted his correspondence.