Essex Landscapes


“Very many maintain that all we know is still infinitely less than all that still remains unknown”

William Harvey, physician to James I, sceptic on allegations of witchcraft and the first to describe the circulation of blood. Lived and buried in Hempstead.

The district of Uttlesford, named after one of the Domesday hundreds, covers most of north-west Essex. In many areas of Uttlesford, a medieval and Tudor landscape survived until the ploughing-up of pastures during the Second World War.

The soil of north-west Essex is suited to the growing of barley, giving rise to malting and brewing industries. The most complete 16th century maltings complex in the country has been beautifully preserved at Great Dunmow.

Poverty in the 19th century led to run-down cottages and poor roads and this may have led to large numbers of buildings in the area dating back centuries. 3,500 listed buildings, almost a third of all the Listed Buildings in Essex, are in Uttlesford, 40% of those from the 17th century.

The district was formed in 1974 by the merger of the borough of Saffron Walden, Dunmow Rural District and Saffron Walden Rural District.

Audley End House

“Loe, my Lordes, loe, you heare what my lord chief Justice saith. You are judged to be guilty, Sir Thomas More.”

Thomas Audley, 1st Baron Audley of Walden KG PC KS – English barrister and judge who served as Lord Chancellor of England from 1533 to 1544. Presided at the trials of Bishop John Fisher and Sir Thomas More. Granted Audley End by Henry VIII in 1538.

Audley End was once one of the greatest houses in England, a spectacular early 17th-century mansion set in an outstanding landscaped park. Now just a third of its original size, its history is one of vastly fluctuating fortunes, with episodes of ambitious development followed by periods of decline and retrenchment.

Audley End House is now in the care of English Heritage and, as well as the house itself, there are service areas, an ornamental garden, stables, a kitchen garden, grounds sculpted by Capability Brown, the River Cam and many other attractions. At some points in the year there are events hosted by English Heritage and it is an excellent day out.

March 2022

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