History of Chigwell Parish

Southwest of the Epping Forest District is where you’ll find the Parish of Chigwell.

Its northern and eastern boundaries are formed by the Parishes of Buckhurst Hill and Loughton.
Within the boundaries of the London Borough of Redbridge are the Western and Southern borders.

Before becoming Chigwell Urban District Council in 1933, the original Chigwell Parish Council was founded in 1894. The territory covered by the Urban District Council at the time included Loughton, Buckhurst Hill, and Chigwell.

Following the 1974 reorganisation of local government, the Urban District was incorporated into the newly established Epping Forest District Council, but no steps were taken at that time to revive the Parish of Chigwell. As a result, the old Chigwell Urban District’s “unparished” portion and 21 parishes made up the Epping Forest District. The District Council in this area handled problems that would typically have been handled by a Parish Council.

The “new” parishes of Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, and Loughton were established in April 1996.
The three new councils each conducted their first meetings in May 1996 after elections were held.
The Epping Forest District now consists of 24 parishes, with Chigwell ranking third in terms of population (being exceeded only by Loughton and Waltham Abbey which are administered by Town Councils).

There are around 12,987 people living in the 15.68 km2 that make up the Parish of Chigwell.
10,018 people were on the electoral roll in 2011. Chigwell still has the feel of a village while having a small town’s population. Chigwell lacks an industrial or commercial backbone and there are only a few parades where you can shop, and even those scarcely have more than shops.

The size and openness of Chigwell are preserved because of the size of the Green Belt. It is considered to contain one of the few remaining relics of the historic Forest of Waltham, through which Chigwell Brook still meanders, and it borders both Epping Forest and Hainault Forest.

At Roding Valley Meadows, there was an RAF presence from 1933 to 1958. (near what is now the David Lloyd Leisure Centre). Initially, it was used to protect barrage balloons during World War II but it served as a temporary home for the RAF personnel participating in the Coronation ceremonies in 1953. Currently, a portion of the RAF Chigwell site is a part of the Roding Valley Meadows LNR, a local nature reserve.

According to P. H. Reaney’s Place-Names of Essex the name means ‘Cicca’s well’, Cicca being an Anglo-Saxon personal name. In medieval sources the name appears with a variety of spellings including “Cinghe uuella”[3] and Chikewelle”. Traditionally a rural farming community, but now largely suburban, Chigwell was mentioned in the Domesday Book. It referred to by Charles Dickens in his novel Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of ‘Eighty; the Maypole Inn is based on the King’s Head inn, though the name was taken from the Maypole public house in Chigwell Row. Dickens frequently visited Chigwell, which he described in a letter to John Forster as “the greatest place in the world… Such a delicious old inn opposite the churchyard… such beautiful forest scenery… such an out of the way rural place…”