Finchingfield Guildhall – A Building Story
Finchingfield Guildhall in Essex was on the Buildings at Risk Register until Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) helped fund its restoration.
The Grade I listed medieval building includes public rooms, former almshouses, a small museum and a library. It is also home to a collection of watercolours by local artist Arthur Legge.
Finchingfield Guildhall was built by the Guild of the Holy Trinity in 1470 and purchased by the village in 1630. The museum houses an interesting collection of local prehistoric flints, bones and fossils, Roman pottery, Victorian straw plaiting equipment and everyday objects from the past.
The museum and library also showcase the story of the lives of both famous authors, including Dodie Smith (I Capture the Castle and The Hundred and One Dalmatians) and Norman Lewis (Naples '44), as well as lesser-known local writers such as Eliza Vaughan, Henry Warren and AJA Simmonds.
Many of the village's residents are elderly and have seen numerous changes to the village over their lives. Their memories are being recorded and used to help tell the story of the village.
Team member, Des Fahy, points out:
“I think it is going to mean a lot to the village. The community will be back to using the building they own.”