We are indebted to Glyn Warwick for sending us the photographs of this most photogenic of Essex villages. It is our belief that 'the word' about the 'Thankful Villages' will best be spread by local enthusiasm that keeps faith with the achievements of our forefathers.
Anyone with any doubts about the beauty of the Essex countryside should visit Strethall in mid August on a day when the sun is shining down on the golden cornfields and the harvest is well and truly underway. As the Parish Church came into sight we saw a herd of some 20 deer, including two white harts, sprinting across the freshly cut wheat stubble and then stopping to watch us from afar. One can very easily imagine much the same sort of scene awaiting the demobilised soldiers as they returned home in dribs and drabs throughout 1919, not least those making their way back to this idyllic Essex village, the only one in the county to be spared fatalities.
The village lies 4 miles West northwest of Saffron Walden and appears in the Domesday Book as 'Strathala', the name being derived from Old English words straeth and halh meaning 'Nook of land by a Roman Road'. The Parish Church is situated on a slight rise, next to a farm and actually predates the Norman invasion with Saxon parts of the church remaining. There are no monuments of remembrance in the church or in the village and nothing to indicate its good fortune in the Great War - but the fields in August were dotted with red poppies and the old Church looked down upon a scene of peace and tranquillity. Strethall has much to be thankful for.
Text: Rod Morris
Photo: Glyn Warwick
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