History4 miles west of Bishop’s Stortford
Standing in wide, wooded country, Much Had-ham is reputedly the most handsome village in Hertfordshire. Its chief glory is the main street, a charming mixture of Elizabethan cottages and rather grand gentlemen’s residences of the 18th and early 19th centuries.
At the beginning of the street there is the 18th-century Lordship’s stable block, crowned with a clock-tower like a decoration from an outsize wedding cake.
Down the street lies a fascinating range of architectural styles - Victorian almshouses, fine pargeting and black-and-white timber cladding.
Behind the main street is the original reason for Much Hadham’s prosperity - the long, low, Bishop’s Palace, the home of the Bishops of London for 800 years. It was also the birthplace of Edmund Tudor, the father of Henry VII.
The big, solid church is of flint, and a sign over the door announces ‘This is the Gate to Heaven’, while other unexpected pleasures include heads by Henry Moore, who lives in the village, ancient cawing and ironwork, fine stained glass and a quilt embroidered by the village Women’s Institute for Queen Mary in 1935. It was later returned to them by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother after the death of George VI in 1952.