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Quendon is a linear village on the B1383 (formerly the A11 trunk road) between Saffron Walden and Bishops Stortford. Rickling is joined to Quendon but mostly surrounds the picturesque village green. The name Quendon is derived from the Old English swords cwene and den meaning ‘women’s valley’. The name Richelinga is found in the Domesday Book in 1086 and means ‘Ricola’s people’. Ricola was Queen of Essex in the 6th century. Rickling was once based near the church, but moved to its present site around the village green – this is said to be due to the Plague.

We have several very fine houses dating from the 17th century, exemplifying local materials and traditions, including flints and bricks from local brickworks, tiles and thatch. Some of the houses supersede much earlier ones: Quendon Court, for example, built around 1750, is known to be the third house on this site. Panelling in the Old Coach and Horses – renamed the Quendon Arms (now a private house) – is older than the brick frontage. Both villages are dominated by Quendon Hall and Rickling Hall, who farm the surrounding areas. Up until the late 1960s most of the houses in the village were occupied by estate workers for either Rickling or Quendon halls. Now only a very small number are retained by the halls. Quendon Hall is now known as Parklands, and hosts wedding parties. Rickling Hall is still privately owned.

As with many villages, we once boasted two shops, three pubs, two garages, a transport cafe, post office and school. Now we are reduced to our thriving and popular school, plus our two churches. Both churches are over 800 years old. Quendon is on the site of an earlier Norman structure; inside there are coats-of-arms to the De Mandeville and De Bohun families.

Cricket has been played on Rickling Green since 1850 and is still played throughout the summer months. Our remaining pub ‘The Cricketers on the Green’ closed in October 2008 but we have hopes of it re-opening.

Although our numbers are small – the population of Quendon is 175 and Rickling 368 – we have several thriving clubs and the village hall is well used for many activities.

We have one or two notable residents, including William Winstanley, diarist and writer who lived in Quendon in the 17th century. He wrote the Poor Robin Chronicles, keeping the customs of celebrating Christmas alive when they had been banned by the Puritans. He was the uncle of Henry Winstanley of Littlebury, famous for designing the first Eddystone Lighthouse. Also the Pamphiliion family who were noted violin makers.

Christine Osbourn
Quendon & Rickling Local History Recorder