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Wendens Ambo shown within Essex
|Population||360 (recent est.)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||Saffron Walden|
|Dialling code||01799 540|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
|UK Parliament||Saffron Walden|
Wendens Ambo is a small village of approximately four hundred people in Essex, England. Its unusual name originates from the joining of two villages, Great and Little Wenden, to form Wendens Ambo, meaning "both Wendens".
The earliest signs of settlement are from the Roman period. Remains of a villa were found during an excavation in 1853, and finds of flint tools from 300-200BC suggest an even earlier settlement.
It is likely that the farming community of Wenden probably started around the 6th and 7th centuries, taking its name from the valley in which it lies: Wendene. The Domesday Book contains the first written account of Wenden Magna (Great Wenden) and Wenden Parva (Little Wenden). Wenden Magna was owned by Robert Gernon, a Frenchman who also had land in Stansted and Takeley. Wenden Parva was also owned by a Frenchman, William de Warenne. The Wendens passed through the Middle Ages as very ordinary English villages. One of the two villages may also have been called "Loutes Wenden", as seen in a legal record of 1470, where the nearby villages of "Arkysden" & "Elmedon" are also mentioned.
During the 17th century work began to rebuild the village dwellings, some of which are still occupied today. Also at this time, on 23 March 1662, Wenden Magna and Wenden Parva were joined to create Wendens Ambo.
The 18th and 19th centuries brought the industrial revolution and also the railway, providing opportunities for work elsewhere, leading to Wenden eventually becoming a commuter village.
St. Mary The Virgin Church
Wendens Ambo Church, formerly of Great Wenden, is dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin and is one of the most interesting churches in north-west Essex. It consists of a chancel with organ chamber, an aisled nave, a south porch and a western tower. The vestry in the western end of the south aisle, is unusually positioned.
The first church on the site was probably constructed of wood, perhaps as early as the eighth century, but no trace of it remains. It seems to have been rebuilt in stone about the time Domesday Book was written (1086 A.D.) with later additions in the 13th, 14th, 15th and 19th centuries.
The church register of Great Wenden commenced in 1540. After Volume II, which was the register of Little Wenden until 1662, the two parishes were united as Wendens Ambo.
In the 19th century Lord Braybrooke gifted land and a hall neighbouring the church to enable an extension to the ancient churchyard. The hall was extensively modernised in 2007 and under lease to the Village Hall, is managed for use by a variety of active village interest groups and activities.
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- Plea Rolls of the Court of Common Pleas; National Archives; CP 40/837; http://aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT2/E4/CP40no837/bCP40no837dorses/IMG_0578.htm; sixth entry with John Serle as plaintiff