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High Road, Chigwell - - 92815.jpg
High Road, Chigwell
Grid reference: TQ435935
Location: 51°37’21"N, 0°4’20"E
Population: 12,449  (2001)
Post town: Chigwell
Postcode: IG7
Dialling code: 020
Local Government
Council: Epping Forest
Epping Forest

Chigwell is a town and parish in south-western Essex, on the edge of the metropolitan conurbation.

It is on the Central line of the London Underground. With Loughton and Buckhurst Hill, it is said to form part of the Essex golden triangle of wealthy places [1][2].



According to P. H. Reaney's Place-Names of Essex, the standard guide to etymology in the county, the name means 'Cicca's well', Cicca being an Anglo-Saxon personal name. In medieval sources the name appears with a wide variety of spellings including "Cinghe uuella"[3] and Chikewelle".[4] Folk etymology has sought to derive the name from a lost "king's well", supposed to have been to the south-east of the parish. There were several medicinal springs in Chigwell Row documented by Miller Christy in his book History of the mineral waters and medicinal springs of the county of Essex, published in 1910. The proposal by 18th-century local historian Nathaniel Salmon that the "-well" element in the name derives from Anglo-Saxon weald (forest), indicating Chigwell's location in a royal demesne[3] rather than Anglo-Saxon wielle (well) has long been superseded by modern onomastic study and is no longer credible.

The land registration map of Redbridge Council shows "Chig Well (site of)" as being located to the rear of the house located at 67 Brocket Way, Chigwell.

Economic development

Traditionally a rural farming community, but now largely suburban, Chigwell was mentioned in the Domesday Book. It was later spoke about 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; and it is likely Dickens visited both hostelries. Dickens frequently visited Chigwell, which he described in a letter as "the greatest place in the world ... Such a delicious old inn opposite the church ... such beautiful forest scenery ... such an out of the way rural place!".

RAF Chigwell

From 1933 to 1958 there was an RAF presence[5] at Roding Valley Meadows (near what is now the David Lloyd Leisure Centre). It served first to provide barrage balloon protection during World War II and was involved in the rollout of Britain's coastal nuclear early warning system during the Cold War. In 1953 it briefly housed the RAF contingent taking part in the Coronation celebrations. Some of the RAF Chigwell site is now part of the Local Nature Reserve, Roding Valley Meadows LNR.


St Mary's Church, Chigwell

The hamlet of Chigwell Row lies towards the east of Chigwell, near Lambourne; this part of the parish is well forested and mostly rural. Grange Hill is the area around the junction of Manor Road and Fencepiece Road/Hainault Road, extending as far as the boundary with Redbridge including the Limes Farm estate. Chigwell has a population of around 12,500 and is generally considered a wealthy area,[6] which since the TV series Essex Wives, journalists have called (with Loughton and Buckhurst Hill), the Essex golden triangle. The area is characterised by large suburban houses, notably in Manor Road, Hainault Road and Chigwell High Road, which featured in the popular situation comedy Birds of a Feather (although many of the outside locations used in that programme were not in Chigwell).


Chigwell School c. 1904

Schools in the area include Chigwell Primary School, Limes Farm Infants School & Nursery, Limes Farm Junior School, Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College, West Hatch High School and most notably Chigwell School, an independent school, which was founded from a bequest by Samuel Harsnett, Archbishop of York, in 1629, among whose many famous past pupils are William Penn, who later went on to found Pennsylvania, and actor Sir Ian Holm.[6] The diarist John Aubrey recorded that it was at Chigwell School that Penn had a mystical vision, which influenced his later conversion to Quakerism. The original 17th-century schoolroom where Penn was taught still stands, and is now the school library.


Ye Olde King's Head and St Mary's Church, depicted in 1851

Until May 2012 Tottenham Hotspur Football Club had its training facilities in the area,[6] when they moved to a new facility in Enfield, However the club still runs training sessions for local youth on the Limes Farm estate through the summer months. Many past and present players and staff have homes in the area. Leyton Orient Football Club also have a training ground in Chigwell, adjacent to Chigwell School's fields.[6]

A David Lloyd Leisure Centre is situated off Roding Road by the M11 motorway, which offers indoor and outdoor tennis courts, swimming pools and gymnasium. Also in the area are a Holmes Place Health Club, Topgolf playing Centre and Chigwell Golf Club. Chigwell Cricket Club is based at the Old Chigwellians Club in Roding Lane. Chigwell also plays host to the Old Loughtonians Hockey Club. The town is also included in a number of London loop walks, which start in the city and pass through the outskirts of the capital.[6]

There are two pubs, The King William IV and the Two Brewers.

Ye Olde King's Head, which was operated as a pub until 2011 is said to be the Maypole Inn in Dickens' Barnaby Rudge.[6] The building was subsequently sold to local resident Lord Sugar's property company Amsprop which now leases the Grade 1 building to the Sheesh Turkish restaurant.

Until their closure in 2002, Chigwell had several night clubs, known collectively as the Epping Forest Country Club. There is a Local Nature Reserve at Roding Valley Meadows off Roding Lane which follows the River Roding up to Loughton.


Chigwell Station, opened 1903 by the Great Eastern Railway

Chigwell is served by Chigwell station and Grange Hill station (further south bordering Hainault), both on the Central line of the London Underground. For a more frequent service to London there are also nearby Buckhurst Hill, Woodford, Loughton and Hainault stations as services between Grange Hill and Woodford are limited to three trains per hour in each direction, with an increased service during morning peak hours.

Notable people

  • Don Lewin, Entrepreneur – founder of Clinton Cards
  • Sir Alan Sugar, Baron Sugar[7] billionaire entrepreneur, former owner of Amstrad, host of The Apprentice
  • Ilan Araujo Dall'Igna, footballer
  • Martyn Woolford, footballer
  • David Bentley, footballer
  • Roy Carroll, footballer
  • Ashley Cole, footballer
  • Alan Davies, actor and comedian
  • Jermain Defoe, footballer
  • Martin Jol, football manager
  • Paolo Di Canio, footballer
  • Oliver Fisher, golfer
  • Heurelho Gomes, footballer
  • Katie Griffiths, actress, Clo Granger in Waterloo Road, born in Chigwell
  • Sally Gunnell, athlete, pupil at West Hatch High School
  • Admiral Sir Eliab Harvey, Royal Navy officer, lived at Rolls (demolished 1953)
  • Simon Harris, music producer
  • Geoff Hurst, footballer
  • Martin Lennox, organist and NAVer
  • Harriet King, Victorian poet
  • Gary Lucy, actor
  • Vicki Michelle, actress
  • Bobby Moore, footballer, captain of the 1966 FIFA World Cup-winning England team
  • Lucas Neill, footballer
  • Ronnie O'Sullivan, snooker player
  • Mark Wright, Reality TV personality.
  • John Paintsil, footballer
  • Kimi Räikkönen, racing driver
  • Teddy Sheringham, footballer
  • George Shillibeer, creator of the London omnibus, buried at St Mary's, the parish church
  • Kate Silverton, BBC newsreader, pupil at West Hatch High School
  • Adel Taarabt, footballer
  • Sandro Ranier], footballer
  • Dave Gahan, singer, born in Chigwell
  • John Watson, recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Jonathan Antoine, tenor
  • Joey Essex, Reality TV personality
  • John H Stracey, boxer
  • Jim Peters, athlete


Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Chigwell)