PUBLISHED: 12:40 25 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:28 20 February 2013
Wedged between Stansted Airport and the M11, Elsenham has a fascinating history and vibrant community, as David Newland from Elsenham News reveals...
IF YOU'VE heard of Elsenham it's probably through its jam which is sold all over the world. Originally the brain child of Sir Walter Gilbey, who used the fruit from his estate, the jam was at one point advertised as, 'the most expensive jam in the world'. Although the company has now relocated to Wales, it is still known as Elsenham Jam.
More recently Elsenham has been the centre of both local and national attention. Initially through Uttlesford District Council's proposed New Town of 4,000 dwellings on the land between Elsenham and Henham and then the Government's proposed eco town of 7,000 or more. Many residents feel that to jump from 900 homes to more than 7,000 would completely change the character of the area, and the green fields that provide such a pleasant backdrop to our way of life will all be lost.
The village sign depicts aspects of Elsenham history. The top section of the sign shows Elsenham Hall, the home of Sir Walter Gilbey. Beneath is St Mary's Church, known in former years as the Little Norman Church on the Hill, and The Pump, which stands in the centre of the village and was built at the turn of the 19th century by Sir Walter as a memorial to his wife and still in use until the late 1950s. Peering over the top is Golden Miller, five times winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup from 1932 to 1936 and the Grand National winner in 1934, who is buried at Elsenham Stud.
Although it's a small village, Elsenham is very busy, with numerous well attended clubs. The village fete provides a great afternoon of entertainment each year and the Flower Show Society's Annual Show always attracts many entries across a variety of skills. In the autumn the Art & Craft Fair and the fireworks display draw in the crowds while Santa and Gifts Galore bring the year to an end.
With two halls to accommodate all this activity, a pub and a good selection of local businesses, Elsenham is a thriving community. The primary school is well attended and includes a pre-school. For the outdoor types there are tennis courts, a bowling green, a basketball court, a cricket field and a thriving youth football club.
A stone's throw from the centre of the village there are leafy lanes hiding away some charming cottages which epitomise the beauty of village life in Elsenham.
Already a close knit group, opposition to the recent proposals has brought the community even closer together. Only time will tell if the battle against the housing proposals will be successful.
From the editors of Elsenham News:
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