Goldhanger is a justified and ancient village on the north bank of the Blackwater Estuary in Essex about four miles east of Maldon.
The houses towards the centre of the village are mostly quite old, dating back a hundred years or more. The Chequers, in the square, is over 500 years old and has been an inn for about half that time. We've got a working village pump, which adults and children alike enjoy playing with.
For a comprehensive and excellent history resource about Goldhanger read David Newman's website: Goldhanger Past.
Goldhanger in the Domesday Book
Goldhanger is first mentioned in the Domesday book but there has undoubtedly been a settlement here since long before that. Neolithic flints have been found in Goldhanger Creek, dating some form of civilisation back to about 5,000 years ago.
Where did Goldhanger get its name?
The present name, Goldhanger, is thought to be of Norse origin and in the Domesday book is spelt Goldangra. In Maura Benham's book: Goldhanger - an Estuary Village, published in 1977, several methods of spelling and an origin for the name are identified:
Goldhanger, Goldanger, Goldangra, Goldangre - the name was spelt in many different ways from the Domesday records to the 19th century. Always the first part was 'gold', and this is said to refer to a yellow flower. For the second part there could be two meanings, 'hanger' a hill, or 'anger' grassland (as in Ongar), and the village being set on flat land, the latter is the more likely. As to the yellow flower, this is thought to be the Corn Marigold, giving the name the meaning of Grassland where the Corn Marigold grows.
Goldhanger - an Estuary Village by Maura Benham
The village sign depicts the iron plough - invented by old man Bentall, a First World War aeroplane from Goldhanger Airfield, Thames Barges - so iconic in this part of the world, and St. Peter's Church tower. The border flowers are the Marigolds from where Goldhanger gets its name (see above) - romantic eh?
Walking around Goldhanger
There are some beautiful walks around Goldhanger and we are fortunate to have miles of sea wall stretching along the Blackwater Estuary as far as Maldon on one side and Tollesbury and beyond on the other. The estuary is teeming with bird life and is a fascinating and inspiring place whether the tide is in or out (check out the tide times here). Once you return from your rambles, there are some very welcoming watering holes in the village to revive and refresh you.
St. Peter's Church is central to the village and has a long history dating back to the 11th century. We have 8 bells in the church tower, two of which date back to 1657. A radio programme entitled: "Funeral of a Bellringer" was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 remembering the life of the former Goldhanger Tower Captain, Bernard Mann.
Our Parish Magazine has been published since 1895 and is still going strong.
The Chequers pub next to the church was built around the 15th century and many of the houses in the centre of the village also date back to around that time.
The village pump (that's what the small image to the left is) was recently restored and children (and some adults too) delight in playing in the fresh waters on hot summer days. A local steam traction engine has even been known to rattle its way from Maldon to fill its water tank from the pump.
We have no street lights in the village, making this an excellent place to view the beauty of the night sky. On a dark clear night the Milky Way is quite clearly visible.
Some claims to fame for Goldhanger
♕ William Bentall developed his Goldhanger Plough.
♕ Gold Prospectors on Spitzbergen.
♕ Jacob Micklefield's Goldhanger Clocks.
♕ Electrophants - Mechanical Elephants (I kid ye not!).
♕ Jack Cohen, founder of TESCOS.
♕ Letraset has its origins at Goldhanger House.
Credit to David Newman for the information on this page