Much Hadham in Hertfordshire is one of those picture-perfect English villages with ancient half-timbered houses lining its main street. And such perfection comes at a price; the cost of housing here is the highest in the area, though a number of grand mansions like the one below certainly boost the average....
The Hall - recently available to rent at just £6,500 per month!
The village used to be known as Great Hadham but no one seems to be sure why it changed to the peculiar, but much more memorable, Much Hadham.
No alcohol was consumed during the creation of the above photograph. Honest!
Most people would say that the village is strung out along the road, however a landscape historian might point out that the road itself also runs parallel to the little River Ash, which would have served as a water supply to the houses in times gone by. This historian might add that the Bishops of London had the good sense (and the power and influence) to live upsteam from the bulk of the population and so monopolised the cleanest water.
And who might this landscape historian be? Well, yours truly, though I'm certain that others will have reached the same conclusions. How I came to be interested in this at all is an interesting study in chance and decision-making.
You see, I'd always preferred Geography to History, "maps" rather than "chaps". But in my second year studying the subject at university I was faced with the fact that if I wanted to attend lectures on Political Geography, which at the time I thought I did, I'd have to hang around all day on Friday for a lecture late in the afternoon. Very inconvenient. If, on the other hand, I chose to do Historical Geography I could have a three-day weekend. The rest, as they say, is History.
So I continued on my way down the street, snapping away at gardens, houses and details, crossing and re-crossing the road at great risk to life and limb.
Thinking about the River Ash and its influence on the layout of the village reminded me that I was actually on a walk, part of whose purpose was to follow the Ash valley. I soon slipped down a back alley towards the river, but not before I'd had a look around the church of course.