Church of St Mary the Virgin
|Post town:||Saffron Walden|
Newport is a large and attractive village in north-western Essex near Saffron Walden on the River Granta. The village lies amongst the arable fields of the Uttlesford Hundred. A village far inland, the "port" in its name signifies a market town, not a seaport. Newport's population is just over 2,000.
The main village runs along the High Street, fronted by half-timbered cottages. The High Street runs parallel to the M11 motorway but the village is separated enough by fields and woodland to keep its peaceful demeanour. The tower of the parish church, St Mary the Virgin, is seen by travellers on the motorway.
Found some 41 miles north of London and with a regular train service to London Liverpool Street Station from the Newport (Essex) railway station, the village is considered to be within commuting distance of the capital.
Newport is the centre point of the long distance path "The Harcamlow Way", a figure of eight walk between the towns of Cambridge and Harlow, consequently it has a large number of walks radiating from its centre; short walks of surrounding interest include those heading towards Saffron Walden, the English Heritage property, Audley End House or Prior Hall Barn in Widdington.
The parish church, St Mary the Virgin, dates from the late 14th century.
The earliest mention of Newport is in the Domesday Book. The name is of English origin and means "new town" or "new market", as Newport had a flourishing market in this period.
The village prospered until around 1300, after which it declined and its market ceased; it was overtaken in importance by the town and neighbour, Saffron Walden.
Until the 20th century Newport was mostly dependent on agriculture in addition to local trade of leather, woolcombing and in later years, malting.
Perhaps the two most interesting secular buildings are The Crown House (mostly late 16th century), and Monks Barn, a Wealden-type house dating from the 15th century. In 1588 Newport Free Grammar School was founded by Dame Joyce Frankland; although it has retained its name it began to take boys of all abilities in 1976, and is now fully comprehensive as well as co-educational.
On the creation of a turnpike trust in 1744, the main road was greatly improved. This brought new people and new trade to the village, as did the arrival of the railway in 1845.
The greatest changes have occurred recently. 100 years ago about 900 people, largely agricultural workers, lived in some 220 dwellings. By 1971 the population had increased somewhat to over 1,200. Since then all the livestock farms have closed, fields, orchards and farm premises in the centre of the village have been built over, and more than 2,200 people now occupy over 900 houses.
The village has two public houses. The Coach and Horses, a large 17th century Inn situated at the north end of the village, which offers a wide range of food and beverages; and the White Horse, an equally old but smaller pub in the centre of the village, which serves as the vibrant hub of the village's social activities. There is also a private members club, The Newport Club, and an Indian restaurant, The Radhuni.
Newport is home to a tennis club and youth organisations and benefits from the Village Hall where activities include a farmers' market, bingo, keep fit, the Footlight Theatre Dance School, Newport Amateur Theatrical Society, Newport Art Group, and Saffron Walden Indoor Carpet Bowls Club.
Newport is famed for its exceptional village magazine, Newport News; which is published twice a year and runs to around 150 pages. It is also noted for its themed bonfire night firework display on November 5th each year, which attracts an international audience.
Newport Business Association, a not-for-profit community-led business networking group, has been set up to discuss and take positive local action on issues that concern the business community in and around Newport.