A Beautiful Historic Essex Village on the Blackwater Estuary

A Beautiful Historic Essex Village on the Blackwater Estuary




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Village Square

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.

Click here to find out where we are. Or take a quick nip round the village on Street View.


If you remember KLF, you'll know what I mean

For a comprehensive and excellent history resource about Goldhanger read David Newman's website: Goldhanger Past.

Village Pump
Goldhanger Village Square with Pump

 Local Tradespeople

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.

Corn Marigolds in a field

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:

Goldangra - Grassland where the Corn Marigold grows
Goldangra - Grassland where the Corn Marigold grows

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

Goldhanger Village Sign

Village Sign

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?

Goldhanger Village Sign
Goldhanger Village Sign

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.

Local Stuff

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.

Maldon Salt

Salt extraction on the Blackwater has been taking place for about three thousand years and the famous Maldon Sea Salt is still extracted here. In fact it is more likely to have come from nearer Goldhanger than Maldon these days. Evidence of very early salt works can still be seen in the "Red Hills" along the north bank of the Blackwater, where the earth has been stained by the burning activities on the clay soil.

Tiptree Jam

Since 1926 Bounds Farm, in Goldhanger, have been growing strawberries for Wilkin & Sons at Tiptree. Today, their raspberries and blackcurrants are also grown here. If you have a jar of Wilkin & Sons jam in your cupboard it is likely the fruit was grown in Goldhanger.


Credit to David Newman for the information on this page

Credits ×

Goldhanger in the past | A website by David Newman

Most of the information on this page came from David Newman's excellent and extremely comprehensive website: Goldhanger - Past.

It's well worth a visit whether you know Goldhanger or not.