Thaxted Windmill and Church
Thaxted shown within Essex
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
|UK Parliament||Saffron Walden|
Thaxted appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Tachesteda, Old English for "place where thatch was got." Once a centre of cutlery manufacture, Thaxted went into decline with the rise of Sheffield as a major industrial centre. A light railway, the Elsenham & Thaxted Light Railway, eventually opened in 1913, though the railway itself never reached nearer than three-quarters of a mile (1.2 km) from the town, as building earthworks across the River Chelmer proved too costly. With the growth of road transport, the line was closed to passengers in 1952 and closed altogether in 1953. The name of Cutler's Green, a small hamlet about a mile to the west of Thaxted, recalls the trade that yielded the area's early wealth.
Thaxted's population has remained almost unchanged down the centuries, hovering near the 2,000 mark. In 1829 there were 2,293 people living in Thaxted; in 1848 there were 2,527. At the time of the 1881 census that figure had fallen to 1,914, and fell further by 1921 to 1,596. In 2001, the population was 2,526.
Notable Thaxted buildings include Horham Hall, Thaxted Guildhall dating from around 1450 and John Webb's Windmill built in 1804. The large parish church of St John, built between 1340 and 1510, is renowned for its flying-buttressed spire, which is 181 feet tall and is the only medieval stone spire in the county. It has perpendicular windows and a stained glass representing Adam and Eve. The church, which stands on a hill and overlooks the town, is often referred to as "the Cathedral of Essex".
Society and leisure
Thaxted has many clubs and societies. Thaxted Morris was founded in 1911 and is the oldest revival Morris dancing group in England. Thaxted Morris Men hosted the meeting at which the "Morris Ring" was formed as a national organisation in 1934; and continue to host one of their meetings every year: in 2009 this was a celebration of the Ring's 75th anniversary.
The annual Thaxted festival takes place over four weekends in June and July every year, presenting a programme of musical concerts.
The town was used for many of the exterior scenes in the 1952 comedy film Time Gentlemen Please.
In late 2010 and into early 2011, the town's recreation ground play park was redone. It now provides children with new equipment such as swings, a zip wire, a climbing frame and much more.
Thaxted also has its own football club who are known as the Thaxted Rangers, they have a senior team as well as several youth teams.
- The British composer Gustav Holst was a long term resident. Sections of his most famous work, The Planets, were inspired by local characters. Holst's setting of the patriotic hymn "I Vow to Thee, My Country" to the trio melody of "Jupiter" in The Planets is named after the town.
- Richard "Conversation" Sharp MP (1759-1835) was educated here by the Dissenting Minister, Rev. John Fell.
- Diana Wynne Jones, author of Howl's Moving Castle and many other novels, was raised in the town.
- Conrad Noel (1869–1942), an ardent Christian Socialist, Noel was Thaxted's most famous and controversial vicar, serving in the post from 1910 until his death.
- John Hunter (1932–2005) who was at the forefront of what is now the national movement to marry agricultural prosperity with the conservation of natural and historical features in the landscape; he was also the pre-eminent landscape archaeologist / historian of Essex and Cambridgeshire. He is the author of two books and many shorter papers on these subjects.
- The actresses Fiona Shaw and Saffron Burrows share a house in Thaxted.
- "Thaxted CP (Parish)". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
- Mark Arman. 1978. An Historical Guide and brief tour of the Ancient Town of Thaxted in Essex. [Published by author], ISBN 0-946943-00-1.
- Ward, Amy (September 2008). "A Centre for Culture". Essex Life (Archant): 94. Retrieved 24 January 2009. (Registration required).
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Thaxted.|
- Thaxted Church on Essex Churches website
- Pictures and information on Thaxted station from subbrit.org.uk