Land, Agriculture and Industry in North-west Essex


SWHS Publications Vol 1

Land, Agriculture and Industry in North-West Essex: spotlights on a land remembered

 by Geoffrey Ball  £7.50 + pp

Edited by Jacqueline Cooper

Published by SWHS Publications

ISBN 978-1-873669-02-0

Books can be ordered from Saffron Walden Tourist Information:

Sales Enquiries –

Editorial Enquiries:


  • Local Farming in a Bygone Age – what was it like?
  • The Victorian Home Farm at Audley End
  • Horham Hall, Thaxted 1808
  • Mitchells Farm at Little Walden: its life and times
  • The Floor Malting industry of North-west Essex and East Hertfordshire up to c.1914
  • A Canal for Saffron Walden?
  • The Wool Industry of North-west Essex


The author, Geoffrey Ball, signing books at the launch.

The author, Geoffrey Ball, signing books at the launch.

Agriculture and its associated industries have been at the centre of life and work in north-west Essex over many centuries. The first chapter looks at  a local example of common field (or open field) farming close to Saffron Walden. The three chapters which follow examine three very different local farms, two from the 19th century and the third a long and detailed history of a typical north Essex holding located on the difficult heavy clay soil at Little Walden. In the remaining chapters the focus changes somewhat to industries directly connected with the products of farming which at different periods in local history have been important to the success of Saffron Walden and its environs – Malting and the Wool Industry. There is also a chapter on the 19th century outline plan to construct a canal into and past Saffron Walden. Over the past 40 years North-west Essex and Saffron Walden town especially have witnessed many changes resulting in a lower profile for local farming. These changes are reviewed in the Postscript, together with some thoughts and concerns about the importance of agriculture in our national life.

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