The ford across the River Quin in the village
|Population||1,203 (2011 Census)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||East of England|
Braughing // is a village and civil parish, between the rivers Quin and Rib, in the non-metropolitan district of East Hertfordshire, part of the English county of Hertfordshire. Braughing gave its name to a county division in Hertfordshire, known as a "hundred". This was a rural district from 1935 to 1974. The population at the 2011 Census was 1,203. This includes Bozen Green, Braughing Friars and Brent Pelham.
There is some evidence of human activity in the Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age, but settled habitation began in the Iron Age, around the 3rd century BC. It was possibly a trading post, situated on the navigable extreme of the Rib, providing a route to the larger River Lea. In the late Iron Age (100BC - 43AD) it was the site of the largest 'Celtic' mint discovered in Europe.
Main article: Braughing Roman Town
There were significant Iron Age and Roman settlements at Wickham Hill, near Braughing. This is situated at the junction of several major Roman roads, including Ermine Street (now the A10), Stane Street (now the A120) and the Great Chesterford Road. This covers at least 36 hectares.
When the River Rib is in full flood, bricks, tiles and other more interesting artefacts from the Roman settlement are washed onto its banks.
After the Roman period it was settled by the Anglo-Saxons: the earliest form of the name Braughing is Breahinga, Old English for the people of Breahha, who was probably a local leader. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book (1086) at Brachinges.
Little remains of this hamlet, which lies to the east of the B1368 close to the Puckeridge junction. Originally part of Westmill parish, Gatesbury is now within the parish of Braughing. Its name originates from the Gatesbury family, who held the manor from the late 12th century up to the 15th century, when it was passed to the FitzHerberts.
On 2nd October 1571, as the funeral bell was being tolled, the coffin of a local farmer, Matthew Wall, was being carried down Fleece Lane towards the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin.
Wall's fiancée and other mourners were deeply distressed. As they made their way to the funeral service, one of pallbearers slipped on the damp autumn leaves and they dropped the coffin - waking the young man. Confused and wondering where on earth he was, he began frantically hitting the inside of the wooden case with his fist. The mourners removed the lid and were overjoyed to find him alive.
Matthew had probably been in a coma after suffering from what is believed to be a form of epilepsy. A year later, he married his fiancée; he lived many more years and had two sons. When he did die in 1595, his will made financial provision for Fleece Lane to be swept each year, after which the funeral bell, and then a wedding peal, were to be rung. The money, invested in 'Braughing Parish Charities' also paid for his grave to be pegged with brambles to prevent grazing sheep from damaging it.
The 2nd October is still known as 'Old Man's Day'. The tradition continues and schoolchildren now sweep the leaves from the lane, the bells are rung, and a short service is held at Matthew Wall's graveside.
The Braughing Pork Sausage was first made in 1954 by Douglas White and his wife Anna. The recipe remained the same until the company was sold to Musk's of Newmarket. Local sausages are served in the village's pubs.
On the second weekend of July the Braughing Wheelbarrow race takes place. This event started in 1964 with teams of two pushing a wheelbarrow round a 400 metre course through the village streets, starting and finishing in the village ford.
There was a station on the ex-Great Eastern Railway St Margaret's - Buntingford branch which closed in 1964. The station featured in the comedy film Happy Ever After which starred David Niven and George Cole in 1953. The location was temporarily renamed Rathbarney, an Irish hamlet.