Area Guide: The pretty village of Essendon
- Credit: Archant
Beautiful views, local hotspots, history and transport links make Essendon an all-rounder to suit the needs of the whole family.
The hilltop village of Essendon, overlooking the valley of the River Lea, is located in the South East of Hertfordshire.
With excellent transport links that can have you in London within half an hour, Essendon is the perfect location for commuters that are seeking the best of country and city life. Buses run regularly from Essendon to local villages and to Hatfield station, just four miles away, with trains expected to get you to London King’s Cross in 22 minutes.
Today Essendon is a quaint, sleepy village with cottage lined streets, manicured parkland and plenty of open space but, unknown to some, pockets of history still remain. St Mary the Virgin church, in the heart of the village, contains evidence of previous rectors dating as far back as 1213, with Norman fragments discovered at the site in the nineteenth century. In 1916 the largest air raid of The Great War, with 16 airships in tow, struck Essendon farmland and parts of the church and village. A restoration project to reconstruct the building was completed by the following year, with many of the previous features replicated. In the aftermath of the bombings it emerged that two young sisters were killed in their nearby home. They were laid to rest in the churchyard, where their memories live on today as a reminder of wartime Essendon.
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Bringing the past into the present is Mill Green Forge, a family-run business of three master blacksmiths which was established in Essendon village in 1980. The team have used their combined experience of the historic craft in order to create bespoke, wrought-iron items for the village and beyond. Most notably, the trio’s handiwork has featured on-screen in The Phantom of the Opera and the Hollywood blockbuster, Saving Private Ryan.
Food and Drink
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The family-run Rose and Crown pub, a recent nominee of the Herts Gastro Pub of the Year awards, serves up fresh, locally sourced food in a traditional country pub setting. Punters can enjoy a delicious meal, whatever the weather; inside by the roaring log fire, or outside in the spacious beer garden. A friendly atmosphere created by locals and staff has given The Rose and Crown a great reputation, with visitors from all over Hertfordshire wanting to sample the menu. Originally a traditional coach house, the pub provides another dose of fascinating Essendon history, dating back to 1756.
A representative of the Rose and Crown, who has lived in Essendon for 28 years, describes the village as “a lovely, quiet area” and “the best of both worlds.”
Locals are also served by The Candlestick, a popular gastro pub in the neighbouring hamlet of West End Lane.
Essendon Church of England primary school is located between the village hall and the 400 acre Essendon golf course. Rated ‘good’ for overall effectiveness in its most recent Ofsted report, the pupils are encouraged to take part in a variety of extra-curricular activities such as, tennis, debating and arts club. The school’s motto, ‘caring and learning together’, underpins everything the staff and pupils aim to achieve during the academic year. There is also a vast selection of reputable primary and secondary schools within a five mile radius of the village.
Essendon Country Club is one of the fastest growing clubs in the UK, boasting a 400 acre estate for professional and amateur golfers alike. With two courses to play on, tuition, a clubhouse restaurant, a pro shop and regular events, golfing in Essendon provides a welcome day out for all skill levels.
Essendon also prides itself on the function of its village hall, hosting events, parties, children’s play groups and meetings for locals.
The strong community spirit and the villagers’ immense pride in the landscape and history of the place are contagious and will have you falling in love with everything Essendon has to offer.