Finchingfield looking east
Finchingfield shown within Essex
|OS grid reference|
|– London||40 mi (64 km) SW|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
Finchingfield is a village in the Braintree district in north-west Essex, England, a primarily rural area. It is approximately 6 miles (10 km) from Thaxted, further from the larger towns of Saffron Walden and Braintree.
There has been a settlement in Finchingfield since historical records of the area began. There also is archaeological evidence for a Roman villa 400 metres south-south-west of the village church. Finchingfield was recorded in the Domesday Book as Phincingfelda. The village was an official stop for horse-drawn coaches travelling from London to Norwich.
Spains Hall, the nearby Elizabethan country house, was built in the early fifteenth century. The hall is named after Hervey de Ispania, who held the manor at the time of the 1086 Domesday Book. Since then, the land has been owned by three families: the de Ispania family, the Kempe family, who acquired it when Margery de Ispania married Nicholas Kempe in the early fifteenth century, and the Ruggles family (later the Ruggles-Brise family who reside there today). The hall was the hub of the community, those families owning much of the village, and employing most of the villagers.
Societies and clubs founded in Finchingfield, include The Finchingfield Society, the Horticultural Society, the Royal British Legion, and Finchingfield Cricket Club.
It often is called the most beautiful village in England, a "picture-postcard" village and one of the most photographed, with a duck pond and village green surrounded by Georgian and medieval cottages; St John the Baptist Church on the hill; an eighteenth-century windmill; three public houses; Post Office; tea rooms; a hall; a primary school; and a doctor's surgery. It often has appeared in television programmes, films, and commercials, as well as on chocolate boxes, biscuit tins, and other products.
Finchingfield was the home and is the burial place of Dodie Smith, whose books include The Hundred and One Dalmatians (1956). She lived in The Barretts at Howe Street, a hamlet in the parish about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the village.
The 2013 Sky series Chickens was filmed in the village. The series concerns three young men who avoided going to fight during the Second World War, written by and starring Simon Bird and Joe Thomas.
- Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel
- Norman Lewis, travel writer, novelist, founder of Survival International
- Dodie Smith, author of The Hundred and One Dalmatians
Finchingfield Guildhall (before 2011-2013 restoration)
- Jarvis, Joanne (November 2008). "Finchingfield's friendly faces". Essex Life (Archant). pp. 78–79. Retrieved 24 January 2009. (Registration required)
- "Finchingfield & Cornish Hall End", Braintree District Council. Retrieved 4 January 2015
- "Cruella's 'home' up for sale". BBC News (BBC). 25 September 2002. Retrieved 24 January 2009.
- "Guildhall Finchingfield Essex", Retrieved 4 January 2015