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old cottages old terrace
old cottages old terrace

Little Chesterford is a small agricultural parish on the River Cam one mile south of Great Chesterford. At one time it boasted a shop, a church, two pubs, a reading room and an infant school. Now, the shop has closed as have the pubs and the school. The school was built in 1862 for 24 children, but was closed by 1902. The building ( a typical Victorian school building) was used as the Sunday School, and now serves as the village hall.

The reading room and the pubs are now private houses.

Villagers now travel to Gt Chesterford for schooling, shop and Post Office and pubs.

The church, St Mary the Virgin is annexed to the Vicarage at Gt Chesterford.



The Manor House below, a hall house, is said to be the oldest inhabited manor house in Essex.

ltchesterfordmanorhouse001sm church and manor house

On April 7th 1914 a disastrous fire broke out in farm buildings at Bordeaux Farm, spreading to the village and destroying eleven cottages and two inns, The Bushel & Strike and the Crown Inn at the top of the High St. Forty-three villagers were made homeless and many were given shelter by the villagers of Great Chesterford whose fire engine was sent across the fields to fight the flames. (See IR 5 – A Village on Fire in list of publications) 


The Bushel & Strike after the fire

after the fire
after the fire
the crown after the fire
The Crown after the fire
lt chesterford fire
after the fire

The Bushel & Strike before the fire

chesterford park

Chesterford Park

Chesterford Park is a large mansion one mile north east of the village, sitting in a park of 294 acres. In private ownership for many years, it is now owned by Norwich Union and is the home of various businesses in what is now called Chesterford Research Park. It was bought in the 1990s from the agrochemical company Aventis (formerly Agrevo, Schering and FBC) who used it for many years as an agrochemical research station.

In its heyday it boasted a golf course and a horse racing track. Many schoolchildren from the villages truanted from school to earn a few pennies collecting golf balls.

It was also the venue for village Sunday School outings.

On May 30th 1944, the village survived yet another disaster when the American ammunition dump in the grounds of Chesterford Park exploded causing damage to houses as far apart as Saffron Walden and Duxford. At the time, the house was being used as a hospital – The Jewish Home and Hospital for Incurables – moved there during the war from Saffron Walden.

To this day, unexploded shells are still being dug up in the grounds.

(See IR 4 Disaster at the Park in the list of Publications.)

Springwell is a small hamlet of Little Chesterford, situated on the main road to Saffron Walden. Springwell Farm, Rectory Farm, Manor Farm, Bordeaux Farm and Chesterford Park Farm were the largest farms in the area.

See also IR 8 Little Chesterford in 1801 in the list of publications, for an account of life before and after the Inclosure Act in Lt Chesterford)

outside a cottage pre 1914 post office c.1900
outside a cottage pre 1914 Post Office c.1900