Farnham Church


Introduction to Farnham


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Farnham village is situated about 3 miles north of Bishop’s Stortford, covering about 8 square miles. The Herts/Essex border runs through parts of the village. The Electoral Roll averages 65 people. Farnham is a small village spread over 3 main areas:

  1. The most populous area is situated around Rectory Lane where the Primary School, Church and Childrens’ Playground are.
  1. Hazel End boasts a small duck pond, a few thatched houses and is a Conservation Area.
  1. Farnham Green has a handful of cottages.

There are 2 smaller areas called Levels Green and Chatter End.

We also have some council houses, 2 manor houses, a converted Methodist Chapel and a crescent of bungalows for the elderly. Several families have lived here for generations.

Our present Victorian church, built 1858, replaced earlier churches on the same site (the earliest recorded being 1247). The church was partially funded by the Gosling family who lived in the nearby mansion called Hassobury House which they purchased in 1773. The interior of the church is well worth a visit to see a reredos by Farmer, some Hardman windows and a mosaic round the font by Geldart – all eminent artists of the time.

The present church Primary School was built in 1855, replacing an old Dame School. The school numbers fluctuate but average about 40 pupils. The Infant classroom was added in the 20th century.

The Gosling family decided to live in the Victorian Rectory instead of Hassobury House, so built a new house close to the church for the Rector. Both rectories were later sold to different families. Our church is now part of a United Benefice so we have no resident Rector.

Agriculture is still practised in Farnham, although fewer people are working on the land. Many of the farms were tenant farms, owned by theHassobury Estate and today some cottages where the farm-workers lived still have the Gosliing initials imprinted in the plasterwork at the front. All the old dairy farms have now disappeared and have been converted to privately-owned properties. Many of the smaller farms have combined.

Farnham has many activities considering the small population. The list includes a church tower bell-ringing group, and a hand-bell group which plays at the monthly Children’s Service. The village hall is well used for Circuit Training classes, a Social Club, a ‘Young at Heart’ Club, Parish meetings and is hired out to parties etc. The cricket club still thrives on their ground at Hazel End. One Farnham resident runs ‘Riding for the Disabled’ and we have an Ancient Charities Fund which is distributed annually to anyone in need.

The ‘Bluebell Ride’ is a very popular annual event which is supported by many Farnham residents who act as stewards. It takes place in the local woods and fields and horse-riders come from far and wide. The money goes towards the church. There is a an annual Church Fete and numerous other activities.

Sadly, like many other villages, we have lost our local shop and Post Office, so have a bus which goes to Bishop’s Stortford once a week on market day!

‘The Glebe’ pub opposite the church was sold as private house in 1970. The remaining pub, ‘The Three Horseshoes’ still survives at Hazel End.

Freda Nancarrow

Farnham Local History Recorder