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Thaxted is a town in the Uttlesford
Uttlesford is a local government district in Essex, England. Its council is based in Saffron Walden.Its name is derived from the ancient Hundred of the same name....

 district of Essex
Essex is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England, and one of the home counties. It is located to the northeast of Greater London. It borders with Cambridgeshire and Suffolk to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent to the South and London to the south west...

, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, with about 2,500 inhabitants.


Thaxted appears in the Domesday Book
Domesday Book
Domesday Book , now held at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond upon Thames in South West London, is the record of the great survey of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086...

 of 1086 as Tachesteda, Old English for "place where thatch was got." Once a centre of cutlery
Cutlery refers to any hand implement used in preparing, serving, and especially eating food in the Western world. It is more usually known as silverware or flatware in the United States, where cutlery can have the more specific meaning of knives and other cutting instruments. This is probably the...

 manufacture, Thaxted went into decline with the rise of Sheffield
Sheffield is a city and metropolitan borough of South Yorkshire, England. Its name derives from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city. Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, and with some of its southern suburbs annexed from Derbyshire, the city has grown from its largely...

 as a major industrial centre. A light railway, the Elsenham & Thaxted Light Railway
Elsenham & Thaxted Light Railway
The Elsenham & Thaxted Light Railway was a long light railway in Essex, England. The line was sanctioned in 1906, although did not finally open to traffic until 1 April 1913. It was the last rail line building in Essex until the construction of Stansted Airport railway station.The railway left the...

, eventually opened in 1913, though the railway itself never reached nearer than three-quarters of a mile (1.2 km) from the town, as building earthworks across the River Chelmer proved too costly. With the growth of road transport, the line was closed to passengers in 1952 and closed altogether in 1953. The name of Cutler's Green, a small hamlet
Hamlet (place)
A hamlet is usually a rural settlement which is too small to be considered a village, though sometimes the word is used for a different sort of community. Historically, when a hamlet became large enough to justify building a church, it was then classified as a village...

 about a mile to the west of Thaxted, recalls the trade that yielded the area's early wealth.


Thaxted's population has remained almost unchanged down the centuries, hovering near the 2,000 mark. In 1829 there were 2,293 people living in Thaxted; in 1848 there were 2,527. At the time of the 1881 census that figure fell to 1,914, and fell further in 1921 to 1,596. In 2001, the population was 2,526.

Notable buildings

Notable Thaxted buildings include Horham Hall
Horham Hall
Horham Hall is a late medieval hall in Broxted, England. Today Horham Hall is the home of novelist Evelyn Anthony and her husband Michael Ward-Thomas.-Design:...

, Thaxted Guildhall dating from around 1450 and John Webb's Windmill
John Webb's Windmill
John Webb’s or Lowe’s Mill is a grade II* listed Tower mill at Thaxted, Essex, England, which had been restored to working order, but is currently out of action following the loss of a sail in April 2010.-History:...

 built in 1804. The large parish church
Parish church
A parish church , in Christianity, is the church which acts as the religious centre of a parish, the basic administrative unit of episcopal churches....

 of St John, built between 1340 and 1510, is renowned for its flying-buttressed spire, which is 181 feet tall and is the only medieval stone spire in the county. It has perpendicular windows and a stained glass representing Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve were, according to the Genesis creation narratives, the first human couple to inhabit Earth, created by YHWH, the God of the ancient Hebrews...

. The church, which stands on a hill and overlooks the town, is often referred to as "the Cathedral of Essex".

Society and leisure

Thaxted has many clubs and societies. Thaxted Morris was founded in 1911 and is the oldest revival Morris dancing
Morris dance
Morris dance is a form of English folk dance usually accompanied by music. It is based on rhythmic stepping and the execution of choreographed figures by a group of dancers. Implements such as sticks, swords, handkerchiefs and bells may also be wielded by the dancers...

 group in England. Thaxted Morris Men hosted the meeting at which the "Morris Ring
Morris Ring
The Morris Ring is one of three umbrella groups for Morris dance sides in the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1934 by 6 sides: Greensleeves, Cambridge, East Surrey, Letchworth, Oxford and Thaxted. They meet several times a year, each Ring Meeting being hosted by a different member side...

" was formed as a national organisation in 1934; and continue to host one of their meetings every year: in 2009 this was a celebration of the Ring's 75th anniversary.

The annual Thaxted festival takes place over four weekends in June and July every year, presenting a programme of musical concerts.

The town was used for many of the exterior scenes in the 1952 comedy film Time Gentlemen Please.

In late 2010 and into early 2011, the town's recreation ground play park was redone. It now provides children with new equipment such as swings, a zip wire, a climbing frame and much more.

Thaxted also has its own football club who are known as the Thaxted Rangers, they have a senior team as well as several youth teams - one noteable coach for Thaxted Rangers is footballing legend Andy Smith who also lives in Thaxted.

Notable residents

  • The British composer Gustav Holst
    Gustav Holst
    Gustav Theodore Holst was an English composer. He is most famous for his orchestral suite The Planets....

     was a long term resident. Sections of his most famous work, The Planets
    The Planets
    The Planets, Op. 32, is a seven-movement orchestral suite by the English composer Gustav Holst, written between 1914 and 1916. Each movement of the suite is named after a planet of the Solar System and its corresponding astrological character as defined by Holst...

    , were inspired by local characters. Holst's setting of the patriotic hymn "I Vow to Thee, My Country
    I Vow to Thee, My Country
    I Vow to Thee, My Country is a British patriotic song created in 1921 when a poem by Sir Cecil Spring-Rice was set to music by Gustav Holst.-History:...

    " to the trio melody of "Jupiter" in The Planets is named after the town
    Thaxted (tune)
    Thaxted is a hymn tune by the British composer Gustav Holst, based on the stately theme from the middle section of the Jupiter movement of his orchestral suite The Planets and named after the English village where he resided much of his life...

  • Diana Wynne Jones
    Diana Wynne Jones
    Diana Wynne Jones was a British writer, principally of fantasy novels for children and adults, as well as a small amount of non-fiction...

    , author of Howl's Moving Castle
    Howl's Moving Castle
    Howl's Moving Castle is a young adult fantasy novel by British author Diana Wynne Jones, first published in 1986. It won a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award and was named an ALA Notable Book for both children and young adults. In 2004 it was adapted as an Academy Award-nominated animated film by Hayao...

    and many other novels, was raised in the town.
  • Conrad Noel
    Conrad Noel
    Conrad le Despenser Roden Noel was an English priest of the Church of England. Known as the "Red Vicar" of Thaxted, he was a prominent British Christian Socialist...

     (1869–1942), an ardent Christian Socialist, Noel was Thaxted's most famous and controversial vicar
    In the broadest sense, a vicar is a representative, deputy or substitute; anyone acting "in the person of" or agent for a superior . In this sense, the title is comparable to lieutenant...

    , serving in the post from 1910 until his death.
  • John Hunter (1932–2005) who was at the forefront of what is now the national movement to marry agricultural prosperity with the conservation of natural and historical features in the landscape; he was also the pre-eminent landscape archaeologist / historian of Essex and Cambridgeshire
    Cambridgeshire is a county in England, bordering Lincolnshire to the north, Norfolk to the northeast, Suffolk to the east, Essex and Hertfordshire to the south, and Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire to the west...

    . He is the author of two books and many shorter papers on these subjects.
  • The actresses Fiona Shaw
    Fiona Shaw
    Fiona Shaw, CBE is an Irish actress and theatre director. Although to international audiences she is probably most familiar for her minor role as Petunia Dursley in the Harry Potter films, she is an accomplished classical actress...

     and Saffron Burrows
    Saffron Burrows
    Saffron Dominique Burrows is an English actress and former fashion model, who starred as Det. Serena Stevens on Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Lorraine Weller on Boston Legal.-Early life:...

    share a house in Thaxted.

External links