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Thaxted, Essex

Historical Description

Thaxted, a small but ancient town and parish in Essex. The town stands on the river Chelmer, on the road from Chelmsford to Saffron Walden, 7 miles SE from Saffron Walden, and 6 NE from Elsenham station on the G.E.R. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Dunmow. Acreage of parish, 6252; population, 1767. There is a parish council of nine members. The manor belongs to the West family. The Guildhall, which was built in the reign of James I., is used as a reading-room and for parish meetings. Horham Hall, erected in 1520 by Sir John Cutts, is a fine castellated building, now partly covered with ivy. A fair for pleasure is held on the Monday before Whit Monday, and another for cattle on 10 Aug. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of St Albans; net value, £370 with residence. The church, a spacious and handsome building of flint and stone in the Late Perpendicular style, is one of the finest in the county. It consists of chancel and nave, each with aisles, S transept, N and S porches much enriched, and a lofty western tower with crocketed spire, strengthened with flying buttresses. The church is 183 feet in length, and the tower and spire, which form a landmark for all the surrounding country, are 181 feet high. It has some ancient brasses and memorials, and a fine ancisnt font. There are Baptist and Congregational chapels, and a Friends' meeting-house. The charities of Thaxted are unusually valuable, and at one time they amounted to about £1000 a year. Owing to the depressed state of agriculture, this amount has been considerably reduced of late years, and the gross value of the charities is now about £550. Samuel Purchas, the author of " Purchas: his Pilgrimage," and " Purchas: his Pilgrimmes," was born here in 1677.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyEssex 
Ecclesiastical parishThaxted St. Mary 
Poor Law unionDunmow 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Thaxted from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Essex is available to browse.

The Essex pages from the Return of Owners of Land in 1873 is online.


Online maps of Thaxted are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers covering Essex online:

Postal districtCM6
Post TownDunmow