Finchingfield is a small village in north-west Essex, six miles from Thaxted. The name, Finchingfield, means, “land belonging to Finc or his family”. It has been described as the most photographed village in England. A visitor can quickly see why they recognise the village, because they have seen it on boxes of chocolates, calendars and jigsaw puzzles. Winding roads and lanes descend through the village greens to a duck pond, a hump backed bridge and pubs, overlooked by colour washed 16th century cottages. Bridge House, beside the footbridge over the pond, which is fed by the River Pant, dates from the 17th century. It has four chimney stacks and was once the village workhouse. The Fox Inn was an official stage coach stop on the London to Norwich route, in the 18th century.
At the top of the hill, overlooking the green, is the Norman church tower of St. John the Baptist, which had a cupola added in the 18th century. The entrance to the churchyard is through the arch of the timbered 15th century Guildhall, which contains four almshouses, a meeting room and a small museum.
North of the village is an 18th century windmill, although one has stood on the site since at least 1100 AD.
Dodie Smith, the author of the childrens’ story, ‘101 Dalmatians’, which was published in 1956, lived on the outskirts of the village at Howe Street, after returning from many years living in America. The novel was made into an animated film by Walt Disney in 1961 and remade into a live action film in 1996.