My Favourite Village: Roy Gwinnell, partner at Gwinnell & Sons Funeral Directors, picks Mistley

PUBLISHED: 12:58 17 December 2013 | UPDATED: 12:58 17 December 2013




Which is your favourite Essex village?

I have a warm affinity to Mistley.

What do you like most about Mistley?

Everything, generally, from the architecture, to the walls and the swans. It has such character and history.

Have you ever lived in Mistley or are you an outsider?

I now live across the border, in Suffolk, but had a number of years in Lawford prior to that move.

What are your first memories of spending time in Mistley?

I remember going for a walk in the area when I was young and I remember a feeling of calmness and serenity.

Have things changed in Mistley much since those first memories?

I have been connected with Mistley for more than 25 years and the place hasn’t changed much, other than the recent development of some of the commercial sites.

Who are the characters you most enjoy bumping into when you visit Mistley?

It is the characters that make a real difference to the community spirit of a village. In Mistley everyone knows everyone. Over the years people come and go, but I often nod at the familiar faces I see.

What do you think the future holds for Mistley?

I don’t know, really. I know it’s a beautiful area, beloved by its residents and visitors. It would be great to see a spa develop somewhere, as was the original intention of 18th century landowner Richard Rigby when he established Mistley. I think it would just add another reason to visit this classic and endearing place.

Does Mistley have a local pub?

Yes, there are actually two in Mistley – the Mistley Thorn and the Anchor. They both have their own characters and are very well supported in the village.

What is it that keeps the sense of community spirit alive in Mistley?

We have conducted many funerals and seen many sad times through with families and their loved ones, and there is something very tranquil and reassuring about people’s sympathies within a village when someone passes away. They all want to help, support and show their appreciation for that person’s life. 
I think pride in the sheer beauty of Mistley is what maintains the spirit of locals and I learnt that very early on.

Where do you find the best view in Mistley?

I think it is the North Belt – sitting 
or strolling along the walls.

Is there one thing you need to 
know about Mistley to be 
considered a ‘local’?

I suppose it’s good to mention that although most people know it comes under English Heritage, many don’t know it is actually the Mistley Thorn Residents Association that tend and care for the wonderful Mistley Towers.

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