Monday 19 November 2012
Saffron Walden gets its name from the flower called saffron crocus which was grown extensively due to its use in medicines and perfumes. Prior to the sixteenth century the town had been known as Chipping Walden.
At a distance of 15 miles from Cambridge, Saffron Walden is an affluent town which attracts many tourists during the summer months. Just 35 miles from London its timber framed medieval buildings give it a country market town feel.
There has been a settlement here at Saffron Walden since before the Roman occupation. Their is evidence that the town would have been a prominent trading post in Anglo Saxon times.
St Mary the Virgin Church in Saffron Walden is very impressive and dates back to the 15th century. It is actually the largest parish church in Essex with a church spire standing at 193 feet high.
The town has its own coat of arms and a castle which dates back to the 12th century. The castle is not much more than a pile of stones since many of the local houses took construction material from the damaged castle and there is nothing impressive to see here.
There is also a turf maze near the castle which is one of the largest of its type in England. It dates back to 1699.
Today the town of Saffron Walden offers some excellent independent shops and quality brand names with a host of exquisite tea rooms and restaurants. A good place to stop and miander its narrow and interesting streets.