Finchingfield looking east
|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. The place-name 'Finchingfield ' is first attested in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it appears as Fincingefelda, a name that means 'the field of Finc or his people'. 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 First World War, written by and starring Simon Bird and Joe Thomas.
The village is on the route of the Dunwich Dynamo annual cycle ride.
- Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel
- Norman Lewis, travel writer, novelist, founder of Survival International
- Dodie Smith, author of The Hundred and One Dalmatians
- A J A Symons, author of The Quest For Corvo, an acclaimed biography of the author Frederick Rolfe.
Finchingfield Guildhall (before 2011-2013 restoration)
- "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Civil Parish population 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
- Eilert Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names, p.179
- 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.
- Tomes, Jason (8 January 2009). "Lewis, (John Frederick) Norman (1908–2003)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/92251. Retrieved 17 February 2019.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- "Guildhall Finchingfield Essex", Retrieved 4 January 2015
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