The picturesque village of Arkesden lies in the North West corner of Essex, in the district of Uttlesford, five miles south west of the pretty market town, Saffron Walden and twenty miles south of the University City of Cambridge. Steeped in history, there is evidence of settlement there since the Bronze Age and it is mentioned as Archesdana in the Doomsday book. The handsome Church of St Mary the Virgin, dating back to 14th century, stands on foundations of a Norman predecessor. Although it was extensively restored by the Victorians it still houses elaborate 17th century marble sculptured monuments and an impressive Elizabethan memorial to the Cutte family – predominant in the spread of the Nonconformist movement in north-west Essex.
Today, Arkesden is considered one of the prettiest villages in the county with many old dwellings, dating back to 17th century and more than 30 grade II listed buildings, many thatched. Wicken Water meanders between weeping willows along the length of the village, passing the award-winning Axe & Compasses pub making its way to the River Cam. There are many lovely footpath walks around the proximity of the village and in spring you can see aconites, snowdrops, hellebores, periwinkle, violets, bluebells and hosts of golden daffodils – making it a perfect antidote to the bustle of the city.
Arkesden, presently, has a population of about 370 people and due to its proximity to the M11 and Audley End station, which connects directly into Liverpool Street, many villagers commute to London and towns throughout the east and Home Counties. Farming and local trades, however, flourish and still have a great impact on the character of the village. Many young families now inhabit Arkesden and on most days local children can be heard playing on the Millennium Field. Numerous communal events, on the Field or in the Village Hall, keep villagers entertained especially throughout the spring and summer months.