Danbury shown within Essex
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
|UK Parliament||Maldon and East Chelmsford|
|List of places: UK • England • Essex|
The village was built on the site of a Neolithic or early Iron Age hill fort noted for its oval shape, sometimes confused with the Megalithic enclosure at Danebury in Hampshire.
According to the official parish publication, Danbury Parish Plan 2003, first Iron Age settlers, then the Romans and finally the Dæningas tribe of Saxons occupied the Danbury area. They built a hill fort. It was known as Danengeberiam in the Domesday Book of 1086, a name meaning "stronghold of the family or followers of a man called Dene".
Medieval to Georgian period
The church of St John the Baptist is the oldest building in the village, dating from the 13th century
In medieval times Danbury developed from two manors, St Cleres/Herons and Runsell. Traces of both still exist. There was also a small part of a third, now extinct, manor of Gibcracks.
The village has a long connection with the Sinclair family, known locally as St Clere. There are three wooden effigies in the church which date back to the thirteenth and fourteenth century One has been identified as being that of William St Clere. In 1968 it was taken to be exhibited at the Louvre in Paris.
In 1779 the tomb of a knight was disturbed, and the body therein was discovered to be perfectly preserved in what was described as "pickle", but this was contested by Joseph Strutt, MP for Maldon. Strutt also attempted to write a romance with a book called Queenhoo Hall. In 1808, Walter Scott was asked to complete the book by his publisher John Murray. Scott visited the village and stayed at the Griffin inn in order to attempt his first venture into romantic fiction. In 1985, the author and psychic-questing investigator Andrew Collins suggested that the body was that of a Knight Templar.
The church also contains some memorial slabs to the Mildmays. Sir Walter Mildmay was the founder of Emmanuel College, Cambridge and built Danbury Place in 1589. The original building has disappeared but another was built in 1832 in the Tudor Revival style, with red brick. It was acquired by the Church of England in 1845 and became the residence of the Bishop of Rochester. From then on it became known as Danbury Palace. The mansion sits within the historic landscape of Danbury Park, a former medieval deer park, with later additions dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. The history of the park and garden was researched by Kate Felus in 2007.
The village is at the centre of extensive areas of woodland and heath owned by the National Trust and other preservation organisations. However. the quietude of the surrounding countryside contrasts with the A414, which is the major road which runs through the centre of the village and links it with Maldon to the east and Chelmsford to the west. Several bus services running from Chelmsford link Danbury with Maldon, Great Baddow, Little Baddow, South Woodham Ferrers, Sandon and various villages around Maldon.
- Moore, Wendy; Moore, David (1997). Danbury Walks: Six Circular Walks Around the Danbury Countryside. Essex County Council. ISBN 1-85281-150-1.
- Felus, Kate (2007). Danbury Park - A Guide to the Historic Landscape. UK: Essex County Council. ISBN 978-1-84194-078-6.
- Collins, Andrew (1985). The Knights of Danbury: The Story of Danbury and Its Mysterious Knights of St. Clere. Earthquest Books. ISBN 0-9508024-1-7.
- Mills, A. D. (1998). Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-280074-4.
- Danbury Parish Plan 2003. Danbury Parish Council. 2004.
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