Sunday, November 29, 2015


I am now at Chigwell, the 10th station on the Central line and part of the loop.
It is about 12 miles from Central London and my first impression is that once again I am in the countryside. It is thought the name comes from the Anglo Saxon 'Cicca's well' which no longer exists. The village of  Chigwell was first mentioned in the Domesday Book which was a a survey of land ownership and population in England and Wales carried out in 1086. Further surveys showed that in 1391 there were 72 houses in the parish.

Looking towards the next station at Grange Hill
Looking back towards Roding Valley station.

The station was built in 1903 and has changed little since then. Walking out of the station onto the High Road you are in the heart  of Chigwell Village. The village was once on the main coaching route between London and Chipping Ongar and is now a conservation area with its large number of expensive Georgian houses.

A sign outside the station tells me this is part of the London Loop (London Outer Orbital Path). It is section 20 out of 24 and is the most rural section of the whole walk. I turned left out of the station. and walked along the High Road.

Chigwell stands on the route of a Roman Road from London to Dunmow in Essex.  Roman roads are the straightest roads we have in the UK. Nowadays there are many elegant and expensive houses along this road.

This is Chigwell Lodge, a Grade II listed building.  Built in the late 18th Cent building it has a small bell tower which was added in the 19th Cent. I can't find out whether there was a reason for the bell tower or whether it is a decorative feature.

You can see why many roads leading from the village have been nicknamed Millionaire's row. There are so many of these large gated properties on this road. Looking in local estate agents, prices seemed to start at £1,000,000 and go up from there!

 Further along the road is a family run Garden Centre,which has been here 50 years

Across the road from the garden centre is Chigwell golf course which  is well known to golfers in Essex. Built in 1925, it is known for its long holes and many hazards such as the mature trees that line the fairways.

After the golf course I turned and walked back towards the station and  to the main part of the village, passing this flint fronted house on the way.

Just passed the station is a small row of shops on Brook Parade. You can tell a lot about a neighbourhood from the local shops, This parade has beauty salons, boutiques and a delicatessen rather than cheap takeaways and discount shops. Across the road from the shops was a small recreation ground with a children's playground.

Just back from the road is the library which  unfortunately was closed when I visited, so I was unable to do any local research.
Next to the library is Chigwell Men's Club. An unusual name in this day and age of gender equality.

Look at the open fields behind the library and the men's club giving you an idea how rural it is here.

Continuing along the High road I crossed Chigwell Brook which flows into the Roding river that I walked along when I visited Roding Valley station.

This is the long drive to the Met Police sports ground. There is supposed to be a good cafe here but I didn't have the time to find out. Maybe next time.

 St Mary's Church. Little now remains of the original 12th century church, however, the bell tower with its shingled spire dates back to 1475.

Next to the church is this granite wheel cross is a war memorial commemorating 39 men who lost their lives in the 1st WW and 29 who died in the WW2.

Across the road from the church is The King's Head which was built in 1547 and is now a restaurant owned by Lord Sugar's property company. However it has had a more famous admirer in Charles Dickens. He said of the inn, 'Chigwell is the greatest place in the world. Such a delicious old inn opposite the churchyard, such a lovely ride, such beautiful forest scenery, such an out-of-the-way, rural place, such a sexton.' Dickens loved it so much he  used the inn in his novel 'Barnaby Rudge' and called it 'The Maypole', describing it as 'having more gable ends than a lazy man would care to count on a sunny day.'

The inn was also used by the 18th cent highwayman Dick Turpin who started his criminal life poaching deer from the nearby forest.

!8th Cent, mock Tudor timber framed house which used to be the Chigwell Village store

These two 18th cent houses were also shops at one time.

Further along the High Street is Chigwell School, a public school, founded in 1629 by Samuel Harsnett, Archbishop of York. Among its past pupils is William Penn who became the founder of Pennsylvania. The original 17th cent school room where Penn was taught still exists and is now the library.

If you are thinking of sending your child here then expect to pay £16,000 per year and if you want them to board then it would cost £26,500

 Next to the school are these almshouses. Almshouses are houses owned and managed by charitable trusts and are for the benefit of elderly people who can no longer work to earn enough to pay the rent. These were originally built to house four poor widows in the parish.

They are known as Coulson's almshouses, believed to have been founded by Thomas Coulson in about 1557. They were rebuilt in 1858


  1. Hello, Chigwell looks like a beautiful place. The homes, churches and the station are all beautiful. The almshouses sound like a great idea for the elderly. Wonderful post and photos. Happy Sunday, enjoy your new week ahead!

  2. That is a beautiful area - very fancy and expensive. It's out of my reach!

  3. The beautiful Kings Head Inn has been very well kept up. Lots of gables and wonderful chimney pots.

  4. The inside of the Kings Head is equally as beautiful. I used to have many a lunch there as well as Christmas get togethers. The funny thing was that my Grandad used to do exactly the same! It's no wonder that Birds of a Feather used Chigwell as its base. Many huge mansions around there which all look beautiful at night. Thanks for the trip down memory lane xx

  5. Very different to how most of us live. I have a photo of a row of Jewish alms houses here in Melbourne, sadly demolished. I will get around to posting about them one day. The bell on the house appears to have a rope attached to the arm above.

  6. Yes it looks really as somewhere in England but I never guess it is still London.
    The next time I have to make a stop right there.
    Thank you for showing
    Have a nice day

  7. That is a great stop! I love seeing all the contrasts between the different boroughs. This one is quite upscale ( no wonder we didn't stay there ;)! But it sure would be one we'd love to visit. I love that you tell us about all the Dickens places (I'm on a mission to read or re-read all his books, and Barnaby R is one I've missed ( off to Amazon)! The Wm Penn connection is interesting as well.

  8. That was a very interesting stop. I checked on Google Map and Chigwell is only 8 miles from where I stayed while going to school. I attended the South-East Essex Technical College and School of Arts in Dagenham – that was its name then (in 1959!), located on Longbridge road. I never went farther up though because I took buses to go to school and on week-ends took the Tube – the District Line - to London to do more studies for my Cambridge exam. I wish I had gone up the line like you are doing now.

  9. What a beautiful place Chigwell is, and what history. That I hadn't expected. Of course I know of Chigwell, I knew it was an expensive place and I link it in my mind to Birds of a Feather and to footballers! But I never expected it to be so historic. Thank you for that. What a lovely walk you had. :)

  10. It is a surprise for me . I had no idea it was such a posh place. It must be sought after being so rural yet so close to London city. The Inn is beautiful as are the old houses and the mansions.

  11. What a charming gem of a place!

  12. I am just amazed by the amount of research you're doing. It's all so fascinating.

    Merry Christmas, by the way!

  13. The English countryside is so beautiful *sigh* I MUST visit!

    Lovely photos! Thanks so much!

  14. Wow! You have been busy and so creative ~ I enjoy your photo tour so much ~ great shots!

    Wishing you the magic and love of the season,
    artmusedog and carol

  15. Lovely town! Fun history!

  16. I'm surprised that such a peaceful place exists so near to the heart of London!

  17. Your blog is very useful for me,Thanks for your sharing.



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