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I've been visiting Finchingfield in Essex all my life, although I've never lived there. My mother's family name is found in the church records of 1632, not long after the records begin. My grandfather was born there but moved to London as a young man. My mother used to holiday in the village as a child, spending the summer weeks with her grandmother who lived in a cottage right next to the pond.
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She continued to visit other relations as an adult. With my father she often spent weekends there during the war years, to get away from the London bombing. They travelled by tandem, and stayed at a lovely old farmhouse a mile or so from the village.

After the war, and with a small passenger to worry about (me), the journey was made by coach. I've got some photos taken in front of the farmhouse when I was about two. The farmer still had a couple of working horses into the early 1950s - they were called Smart and Blossom. I don't know what his horse-skills were like, but his car driving techniques left a bit to be desired. If he fancied a cigarette he would stop the car in the middle of the road while he lit up. In the quiet country lanes of those days, he was unlikely to trouble many other road users.

When the farmer retired we stayed at a public house in a nearby hamlet. I can remember getting out of the coach into the velvety country darkness, the sky full of stars, the milky way carving its way across the heavens. We didn't see such things in London. Today, light pollution is so bad you don't see them much in the country, either.
1930s view

Looking through the old family photos, I realised that there were several pictures of Finchingfield, mostly taken in the early 1930s, which would be of interest if compared with similar modern views. In the late 1980s and early 90s, I set out to take the matching views and I show some of the results here. Further material has been added since the site began. I have also included an article written by one of my cousins in the 1970s where he remembers his early visits to the area and a recollection of life as an American child in England from James Richards (these articles are on the 'memories' pages).

This site is meant to be a personal view of the Finchingfield, not a comprehensive guide or a village web site. If you decide to visit the village, it's best to avoid summer Sundays. There's no car park and instead of seeing a pretty village you'll probably find a sea of car roof-tops! The roads are narrow and easily blocked, so please park sensibly.

See the Finchingfield links page for more sites dealing with the village. If you are researching genealogy you may like to visit the genealogy/contacts page where you will find links to other people with the same interest. I can also add to this page requests for Finchingfield information or messages from anyone trying to contact Finchingfield people. To view a selection of my paintings and photography, use the home page link on any Finchingfield page. - Roger Beckwith.


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