Living on the edge.

Living on the edge.

Yesterday, Thursday, started with a lovely clear sky and was forecast to stay that way until at least late afternoon so we decided to go and have a look on the western edge of Essex. This is supposed to be a thatched rooves area and it certainly seemed to be.

We started off in Widdington because it had a 14th century barn. Unfortunately it was open only on Saturdays and Sundays so we were not able to look inside – another day perhaps.

Priors Hall Barn, 124 feet long x 30 feet wide x 33ft high, is one of the finest surviving medieval barns in eastern England, dendro dated to the mid-15th century, with a breathtaking aisled interior and crown post roof, the product of some 400 oaks and little altered.

The view across the countryside from the barn was really quite nice.

Widdington is an attractive village with a good number of ancient buildings which did give us some thatched rooves and just how cute is this?

It looks just like a little face peering over the hedge and its hair is the same colour as mine. Then there was the beautifully made village sign and yet more thatch.

St. Mary's Church is a small traditional Essex church dating back to the early twelfth century.

Leaving Widdington we headed for Arkesden which is even further west and only a few miles from the Hertfordshire border – this could be bandit country we're heading into.

This turned out to be a really picturesque village with quite a lot of thatch.

We particularly liked this timber-framed cottage with brick infill.

There were a number of other villages that we passed through which were also attractive and there are others about which we've heard nice things so perhaps we'll have to go up that way again.

8 thoughts on “Living on the edge.

  1. Hello Barry,
    oh I am positively beside myself with delight…you have made my day, in no small way. Thank you for being my English eyes. To me these scenes are achingly beautiful. And what fine weather you had. Do you picnic? Or do you stop somewhere? I hope it was a nice meal no matter what. Wish I had some kind of transporter machine. I would buy your lunch as a thank you.
    how goes the toads and garage project?

    kind regards,


  2. We sat in Arkesden with the thatched cottages and church in view and ate the food we’d brought with us. I suppose it was a sort of picnic. :smile:

    Garage progress is to be found on the Forum in the Chat section under “It’s on its way up” although we haven’t seen any toads for some time. That’ll be because we’ve stopped moving things about – the toads were invariably under something,

    Wish I had some kind of transporter machine.

    They call them ‘planes Annie. :devil:


  3. I want the face house (what????? no dancing banana to click on the ‘blog’ comment page??? :bawl: )

    What a perfect gem of a place to live! If it’s ‘hair’ is the same color as yours, Barry, you could poke your head out of an upper window and nobody would see you :smile:

    Town signs…a new creation of councils, or upgraded/updated/repainted notifications from years gone by?

    The two towns look perfectionary as far as landscaping/yard work. Do these communities have an ordinance that stipulates everybody has to keep their yard tidy?
    Most people on our street have pride in their conditions, but there are the few who’d rather wade through high grass.

    Thank you for traveling to Essex!!!


  4. what????? no dancing banana to click on the ‘blog’ comment page???

    You haven’t been looking properly have you? :banana:

    Town and village signs have been around for a very long time but as they are often made of wood they have to be replaced/renovated from time to time.

    There are no rules in those villages that say that they have to keep their gardens tidy or their hair properly parted. :smile:

    Thank you for traveling to Essex

    Well it wasn’t very far. :grin:


  5. Found the picture of our cottage. the red brick infill with thatch whilst researching Arkesden in the Domesday book and other references.

    Cottage dates back to Queen Elizabeth I and was originally a dairy. Owned by an Admiral in 1800s and then renovated by American lady as second home in 1900.

    Lots of history which I will not bore you with but it is called Byrnes Cottage which is my wife’s maiden name. She hails from Ireland and there is method in this since she has numerous relatives abroad, one very rich who sends a nice cheque each year as a result of the name change from original of Deans Farm Cottage.

    I am glad the hedges were cut nicely for your photo.


  6. Many thanks for that information Tony. :grin:

    Tracey will be very interested to hear about the cottage’s origins as she has a special interest in all things Tudor.

    I am glad the hedges were cut nicely for your photo

    Yes it all looks rather neat and you have a lovely village there.


  7. I’ve slept in Byrnes Cottage, as a guest of Tony and his lovely wife Kitty. This village is utterly charming, as is its inhabitants. Tony & Kitty not only own this beautiful thatched cottage, they bring it alive with their effervescent and charming personalities. Looking forward to returning one day.


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