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Uttlesford at 50: what's in a name

Where does the name come from and what was the original Uttlesford.

Uttlesford hundred - square

The district was formed on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972 as one of 14 districts within Essex. The new district covered the area of 3 former districts, which were all abolished at the same time:

  • Dunmow Rural District Council
  • Saffron Walden Municipal Borough Council
  • Saffron Walden Rural District Council

Why Uttlesford

So, where is Uttlesford and how did it get its name?

The new district was named after the ancient hundred of Uttlesford, which had covered much of the area.  A hundred was the division of a shire for administrative, military and judicial purposes under the common law. 

The hundred had been named after a ford on the London Road (now the B1383, formerly the A11) at Wendens Ambo, which was later replaced with a bridge. The ford appears to derive its name from "Udel's ford".

Hundreds gradually lost their functions to other bodies from the seventeenth century onwards, with their final administrative function ceasing in 1886. 

But the name continues to live on.

About Uttlesford

Today, Uttlesford is a thriving, predominantly rural district in north-west Essex encompassing Saffron Walden, Great Dunmow, Stansted Mountfitchet and Thaxted and about 100 villages and hamlets in between. It is home to London Stansted Airport and major road and rail networks with links to London to the south and historic city of Cambridge to the north.

Find out more about Uttlesford today.