High street, and church of Saint John the Baptist
|Website:||Epping Town Council|
Epping is a small, prosperous market town in Essex, surrounded by Epping Forest, which takes its name from the town. It is a popular town for commuters and young families; rural, pretty and connected to London by the London Underground Central Line, which has its eastern terminus here.
The town retains a rural appearance through being surrounded by Epping Forest and working farmland, and has many very old buildings, many of which are Grade I and II listed buildings. The town also retains its weekly market which is held every Monday and dates back to 1253. In 2001 the parish had a population of 11,047 although this has increased marginally since then.
Although the once-famous Epping Butter, which was highly sought after in the 18th and 19th centuries, is no longer made, the equally well-known Epping sausages are still manufactured by Church's Butchers who have been trading on the same site since 1888.
The lie of the land
Epping stands 3½ miles northeast of Loughton, 4½ miles south of Harlow and 11 miles northwest of Brentwood. It is at the northern end of Epping Forest on a ridge of land between the River Roding and River Lea valleys. A little to the south of Epping is the small village of Theydon Bois.
Most of the population live in the built up area centred on and around the High Street (B1393) and Station Road. About a thousand people live in the small village of Coopersale which, while physically separated from Epping by forest land, is still part of the civil parish. A few dozen households make up the hamlets of Coopersale Street and Fiddlers Hamlet. Much of the eastern part of the present parish was until 1895 in the parish of Theydon Garnon.
"Epinga", a small community of a few scattered farms and a chapel on the edge of the forest, is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. However, the settlement referred to is known today as Epping Upland. It is not known for certain when the present day Epping was first settled. By the mid-12th century a settlement known as Epping Heath (later named Epping Street), had developed south of Epping Upland as a result of vigorous clearing of the forest for cultivation. In 1253 King Henry III granted the right to hold a weekly market in Epping Street which helped to establish the town as a centre of trade and has continued to the present day. Indeed, the sale of cattle in the High Street continued until 1961.
The linear village of Epping Heath developed slowly into a small main-road town and by the early 19th century considerable development had taken place along what is now High Street and Hemnall Street. Up to 25 stagecoaches and mail coaches a day passed through the town from London on the way to and from Norwich, Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds. In the early 19th century, 26 coaching inns lined the High Street. A couple survive today as public houses; The George and Dragon and The Black Lion. The advent of the railways put an end to this traffic and the town declined, but it revived after the extension of a branch line from London in 1865 and the coming of the motor car.
A number of listed buildings, most dating from the 18th century, line both sides of the High Street although many were substantially altered internally during the 19th century. Some of the oldest buildings in the town can be found at each end of the Conservation Area, e.g. Beulah Lodge in Lindsey Street (17th century), and the attractive group of 17th and early 18th century cottages numbered 98-110 (even) High Street.
The original parish church, first mentioned in 1177, was All Saints' in Epping Upland, the nave and chancel of which dates from the 13th Century. In 1833, the 14th century chapel of St John the Baptist in the High Road was rebuilt in the gothic style. It became the parish church of Epping in 1888 and was again rebuilt. A large tower was added in 1909.
Epping, as it stands today, has grown as a favoured town of residence for those who work in London. Particularly sought after is the hamlet of Coopersale Street where house prices have bucked the national trend and held their values. Its market still brings shoppers in from surrounding villages and towns every Monday. Perhaps the most prominent building in Epping these days is the District Council's office with its clock tower, designed to bring balance to the High Street with the old Gothic water tower at the southern end, built in 1872, and St John's Church tower in the centre. The centre of Epping on and around the High Street is a designated conservation area.
Epping's increasing popularity with young professionals and families, and ambitious house-building targets have begun to threaten Epping's rural status, so its popularity will destroy the very thing which has made it popular. Several sites have been proposed for redevelopment as new housing estates. Such developments would see Epping's housing stock rise by around 20% and has caused strong opposition from residents who wish to retain Epping's rural charm. This opinion has been echoed by Epping Town Council, who have stated that Epping will not be able to cope with any new housing estates for at least 10 years.
- Football: Epping Town FC
- Epping's famous weekly market was held every Monday since it received its charter from Henry II. Untl 1575 when it moved to a Friday. Just after the First World War it went back to a Monday; clearly the resentment at the change could be contained no longer.
- Epping is the starting point for the Essex Way, which is a long distance path between Epping and Harwich.
| ("Wikimedia Commons" has material|
- Epping Forest - Information about Epping Forest] (Corporation of London)
- Epping Weather - Weather records from the Epping Weather station.
- Epping to Ongar - Chronicles the history of the now defunct Ongar branch line.
- Epping Forum - Website for Epping residents to discuss local issues.
- Plainly Say No - The official website of the campaign against Bellway Homes' purposed development of 351 homes on part of the St. Margaret's Hospital site.
- Pictures on Geograph.co.uk
- St John the Baptist Church – History
- "EPPING: 'Decade until town is ready for development' (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)". Guardian-series.co.uk. 2008-08-04. http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/3569991.EPPING_____Decade_until_town_is_ready_for_development_/. Retrieved 2010-01-05.
- Epping - Economic history and local government
- BBC - Essex - Places - Where the town gives way to ancient wood
- Epping Forest District Council (2005). Key Facts: 2001 Census. http://www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/Library/files/planning/key%20facts%20-%20final.pdf.
- Epping Town Guide. Plus Publishing Services (on behalf of Epping Town Council. 2002.
- Jenkins (2001). Churchill. Macmillan. pp. 391–392. ISBN 0-330-48805-8.
- Parish Profile: Epping - information about Epping from the 2001 census (PDF file)