A picturesque, mainly rural settlement, that stands on the west bank of the river Cam (or Granta), in the county of Essex. Its name dates back to 10th-c, initially recorded as 'lytlan byrig' and later as Lithanberi.
Ancient cottages opposite the Queens Head Inn © Travel About Britain
The small village has many attractive whitewashed cottages, an ancient Coaching Inn and a fine 12th-c church. Littlebury is close to Audley End House and Gardens and the historic medieval town of Saffron Walden. Located just 12 miles south from the City of Cambridge and 55 miles north of London.
Settlements in this region date back to prehistoric times, with Bronze Age and Iron Age relics discovered to the east of the village. Ring Hill Fort (a few miles to the south, near Audley End) is thought to date from the Iron Age, and there much evidence of Roman occupation in the area.
The parish of Littlebury includes the hamlets of Catmere End, Chapel Green and Littlebury Green. The parish belonged to Ely Abbey from the 9th-c, until the dissolution of the monasteries (by Henry VIII). An ancient Roman road crossed the parish at Littlebury Green.
The remains of a moated house near Catmere are still visible. Once home to the Gate family in the 16th-c, it was then known as Gatemere Hall.
The only pub in the village is the Queen's Head. Formally a 14th-c coaching inn, it stands on the medieval London to Newmarket road, which runs through the village (B1383). The Queen's Head Pub is open daily, offering meals and accommodation.
The parish church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, stands within the area of an ancient Roman encampment. The earliest record of the church dates from 1163, with surviving stonework from the 13th to 16th centuries, although it was much altered during the 19th-c. The most interesting feature is a 13th-c stone baptismal font, encased in a 16th-c oak paneled case, with an intricately carved canopy. Services are held every Sunday.
Henry Winstanly, the builder of the first Eddystone Light House, situated on the dangerous rocks 12 miles (19 km) SSW off Plymouth Sound, lived in Littlebury in the late 17th-c. He was known about the village as an ingenious inventor and local practical joker. Sadly he died in the destruction of his famous lighthouse in the great storm of 1703.
Dame Jane Bradbury (widow of Thomas Bradbury) founded a free school in the village in 1585. The school was provided for free instruction to all children born in the parish, aged seven and over. The current School House (shown here) dates to 1865. It closed just over 100 years later, in July 1970, and is now a private residence.
The village hall is the heart of the community and a centre for local activities. A number of community events are run throughout the year. For further details visit the village website.
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