Once upon a time in...Finchingfield

PUBLISHED: 16:44 15 June 2009 | UPDATED: 16:03 20 February 2013

St John the Baptist's Church

St John the Baptist's Church

Deborah Peers from the Essex Record Office reveals these charming images of Finchingfield, reported to be one of England's most photographed village

FINCHINGFIELD'S picture perfect combination
of village green, duck pond, church, windmill and clusters of historic buildings ensure that it is much visited and photographed.

Its history is long, with archaeological evidence of a Roman villa in the area, and it was recorded in the Doomsday Book, although as Phincingfelda. The village name is most likely to mean, 'the land cleared by Finc's people'.The most important house in the area, and the one which owned much of the village and provided most of the employment, was Spains Hall.

Named after Hervey de Ispania who had land here, it was built in the Elizabethan period. The house later passed to the Kempe family, one of whom made an extraordinary vow. In a temper, William Kempe distressed his new bride by using unseemly language.

Overwhelmed by remorse he vowed to remain silent for seven years - a feat recorded on his memorial tablet in the church. Spains Hall still stands and is now owned by the Ruggles-Brise family.

Trace your history

Each month the Essex Record Office helps Essex Life trace the history of a town or village in the county Next month we look back at RomfordFor more information about the Essex Record Office 01245 244644

Leaflets explaining how to begin to research your family or house history are available free of charge on receipt of a SAE. Write to:Essex Record Office
Wharf Road, Chelmsford CM2 6YT

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