Cat no. 1177

Once Again - Around the Village Green

Colour Sound 1998 Finchingfield, Essex

This record does not currently have a video available to watch online.

To only see records with online videos in the future, please use the tick box provided during your search or browse.

If you would like more information on using search and browse you can view the 'using this site' page.

A comparison of village life in Finchingfield, Essex c1937 in the film `Around the Village Green' with life in the village in 1998.


Portrait of a Place

The introduction shows colour shots c. 1998 of the village including the Church, the windmill and the village pond. There is a shot of films in the viewing room of the East Anglian Film Archive and of a projector running. Following the titles, the opening scenes from the 1937 film. The modern commentary emphasises amenities in the village, travel and communications. The village appeared to be untouched by the Depression.

At the East Anglian Film Archive Curator, David Cleveland ,is filmed watching `Around The Village Green' on a Steenbeck machine. He explains the history of the film and puts it into context. This was made at a time when old buildings were being replaced by new ones. This is a film about a village that survived. The 1937 film emphasises the social organisation and the Squire. There are modern shots of what Sir John Betjeman called 'England's most attractive village.' The commentary emphasises that at the time the village was being championed as the picture of rural tranquillity, most of the cottages had earth floors with no running water or sanitation.There is a still of a reproduction of a medieval map.

In his study, Edwin Collar, Chairman of the Parish Council, born in 1936 when the film was made, explains how the village has changed. He reads from the parish magazine for that year. The vicar was writing about the war in Africa. Over stills of the main street, Mr. Collar recalls he and his friends waiting for over an hour for a car to pass. Modern scenes show the traffic in the village.The film shows scenes from 1937 of mechanised farming. This is compared with a shot of farmer Tony Cox in his modern tractor. He can plough and acre in an hour. He remembers being freezing cold on an open tractor with sacks around his legs for warmth. His tractor is air conditioned, has a radio cassette and some have televisions. He recalls having to bring your food for the day. Having to come to work a quarter of an hour earlier if you wanted time to eat your breakfast. At 14 he worked a 47 hour week. He recalls the camaraderie and how the village was self reliant. He drives his combine past two painted carts. In one hour this machine can do the work 8 men used to do in a day. There are shots of the combine in action. Ed Collar demonstrates the on-board computer. There are shots of the village shops from 1937. These include the grocery shop, the drapers and the butchers.

Film from 1998 shows these to be empty or converted to houses. New shops in Finchingfield include a hair salon, tea rooms, gift shops and antique shops. Peter Curry runs an antiques centre. He previously ran a restaurant. He explains the reason behind his business. There is a shot of the now closed village shop which Peter Curry remembers.1937 film shows a Church where it is time for the harvest festival and people arrive to decorate the church.

The Rev. John Shead, the vicar of four parishes including Finchingfield, explains that there are roughly the same number of baptisms, weddings and burials as there were in 1937. There are 200 tourists visit a day, but only 25 attend services. The Rev. Shead explains that this has changed very little, although now there is only a communion service once a month. In scenes from 1937, old men sit on a bench outside the Fox Inn, drinking beer. This transposes into a shot of the modern Inn. Inside the landlord is pulling a pint and people play darts. 1937 scenes show them doing very similar things. Mike Paviour, the landlord, compares the modern scenes with times past. Black and white shots show men drinking mild from a barrel. Mild is no longer stocked; it's only really drunk in the midlands and the north, explains Mike Paviour. Outside the pub a group of locals sit discussing village issues.

The Parish Council are complaining about the number of signs and billboards around the village. Locals claim that they have been around for as long as they can remember. The Parish Council seems resented as an unrepresentative minority. Another local man points to a house across the green. He can remember this as a butchers. They had a shed outside for slaughtering animals. The blood ran into the river - and they went swimming in the river. Black and white scenes show swimming in the river.There is a shot of Finchingfield Primary School. Inside the teacher shows a class of children the film and asks them for their responses. These are intelligent and mature. They highlight that people rode bikes, not drove in cars, that people went to Church more. They note the difference in the roads. Outside they practise putting one of their number in the stocks. This is compared with 1937 film of children doing the same thing. Colin Stock, filmed as a baby in the pram, talks to the camera about his memories of the film and its aftermath. Aeroplanes fly overhead on their way to Stansted airport. There are shots of the cottages 'done up' by professional people.

There are black and white shots of children entering the Methodist School. This has been converted by architect Robert Wood and his wife Kiki. She is local and doesn't like what is happening to her village. Over aerial and ground shots of the village, she describes the tourists turning Finchingfield in Torremolinos. The situation wasn't helped by the television series 'Lovejoy' using Finchingfield as one of its locations. Peter Curry believes that people come to Finchingfield to experience a typical English village with a duck pond. Mike Paviour observes that people don't want authenticity, they want a fast food area. He believes that they should treat the village with more respect. Edwin Collins believes that the local people should share their village.

Professor David Crouch of Anglia Polytechnic University, Chelmsford, believes that there is a danger of the village becoming a theme park with no element of reality.The final sequence in the film shows the 'cheat' scenes of the 1937 film makers. At the East Anglian Film Archive David Cleveland explains how film makers frequently sacrifice authenticity for artistic impression. There is a colour shot of Spains Hall. The film explains that in 1937 the Squire, Sir Archibald Ruggles Brise, didn't approve of the project and refused the film makers permission to film the hall or the Church. So they used shots of another manor house and another church. The film ends with the titles of the 1937 film.

Background Information:

Some shots of the 1937 film were taken around Great Bardfield and Steeple Bumstead. The farming scenes are not shot at Finchingfield as there wasn't this level of technology in the area at the time. Any shots with telegraph wires in them are not of Finchingfield. The local Squire, Sir Archibald Ruggles Brise, considered them unsightly and demanded that they were buried. Only the first shot purporting to be Spain's Hall is actually the Hall. This shot was taken from the public highway. Sir Archibald wouldn't allow the film crew to film the Hall. The shot of the Church by the river is Hemmingford Church and the interior shots are not of Finchingfield Church.The Stocks have been moved. They now stand outside a house once owned by Sir John Gielgud. The locals were trying to make a point!
Britten's music for the original film, written in 1936, was entitled Irish Reel. Britten discarded the score after the film and it wasn't played again until 1995. It was played by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Davies, at the 'Last Night Of The Proms,' September 13th, 1997.

Featured People:

David Cleveland, Director, East Anglian Film Archive; Edwin Collar, Chairman, Finchingfield Parish Council; Tony Cox, farmer; Professor David Crouch, Anglia Polytechnic University; Peter Curry, businessman; Mike Paviour, publican; Rev. John Shead; Colin Stock; Kiki Woods, resident

Featured Buildings:

Spains Hall; Finchingfield Windmill; The Fox Inn; St. John The Baptist Church, Finchingfield

BBC East

Peter Hiscocks

Martin Gibbs; Matthew Parker

Kevin Waters; David Holdsworth

Donna Talby

Steve Nicholl

Terms and conditions

The Terms and Conditions apply to the website (the Website) and by accessing the website you are agreeing to abide by them.

 We may modify the terms and conditions or withdraw or deny access to the Website at any time at our sole discretion.

In your use of the Website you agree not to, at any time:

  1. Conduct or promote any illegal activities
  2. Attempt to reverse engineer or jeopardize in any way the correct functioning of the Website and its services or otherwise attempt to derive the source code or other code or software that enables the operation of this website.
  3. Use any automatic, electronic or manual process not provided by this website to access search or harvest any information from the website or to interfere in any way with its proper functioning.
  4. Mirror or frame the website or any portion thereof, place pop-up windows over its pages or otherwise affect the display of its pages.

Every effort has been made to exclude or flag content that may be upsetting or cause offence and not to include films that are unsuitable, however the East Anglian Film Archive bears no responsibility for people under the age of 18 viewing the Website or for any offence that may be caused by people viewing the Website. If you feel that some items could cause offence please contact us in the first instance. If you would like to have access to any of the films available for purposes not permitted by these Terms and Conditions, including any commercial venture, then please contact us.


The content of the Website including but not limited to the text are Copyright © 2011 The East Anglian Film Archive of the University of East Anglia.

The copyright in the original film materials and the digital reproductions of all still and moving images herein and their arrangements in many cases may be owned by a number of parties. Any requests for copyright clearance for use of the material should be directed to the East Anglian Film Archive in the first instance. It is the requester’s responsibility to obtain such necessary clearance and the East Anglian Film Archive will not be held responsible for any failure on the requester’s part to do so.

The contents on the Website may be accessed as view only and purely for non commercial personal, educational and cultural interest. Under no circumstances shall any content be downloaded, transferred, copied or re-produced in whole or in part in any manner or in or on any media without the prior written consent of The East Anglian Film Archive.

The East Anglian Film Archive would like to thank those who allowed copyright permission for the use and display of works that appear on this site.


The East Anglian Film Archive has made every reasonable effort to locate, contact and acknowledge copyright owners. There are a small number of cases where, despite our efforts, the copyright owner has not been identified. In these cases, we welcome contact from copyright owners and will take immediate action to gain any appropriate clearances or remove the items if requested.

We do not guarantee that the Website will be compatible with any and all hardware or software which you may use nor that the Website will be available all of the time or at any specific times.

The East Anglian Film Archive makes no warranty that the Website is free from computer viruses or any other malicious or impairing computer program.

The Website contains links to other websites with their own terms and conditions. The East Anglian Film Archive is not responsible for the terms and conditions of these websites.


The East Anglian Film Archive is committed to a high standard of quality in all its work and with this in mind every attempt has been made to present up to date and accurate information on this website. However, visitors need to bear in mind that it is possible that information contained on this website may be out of date, incomplete, the opinion of the author or the opinion  “of the time” and may contain technical inaccuracies and typographical errors. We accept no responsibility for keeping the information in these pages up to date or liability for not doing so. If you notice information that needs to be updated or corrected, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Personal data

The Website may contain some personal data such as names of film-makers, some film participants etc. We have taken all reasonable care to ensure that we operate within the provisions of data protection legislation. If you believe that any of the data on the Website causes or is likely to cause damage or distress to you or any other living person, please contact us with details.

Liability and indemnification

Any unauthorised use you make of the University of East Anglia or East Anglian Film Archive copyright and/or trademarks will constitute an infringement of the University of East Anglia’s Intellectual Property and may lead to legal action and other such remedies in accordance with the governing law.

You agree to indemnify and hold harmless the University of East Anglia and its employees, affiliates and students

Except to the extent prohibited by the governing law the University of East Anglia accepts no responsibility for any use you may make of the Website.

The University of East Anglia is only liable to you for direct losses which you may reasonably be expected to suffer where you can show that such losses were as a result of our breach of these terms and conditions. Any implied warranties and conditions are fully excluded.

Our Liability to you shall in no circumstances include any loss of profit or revenue or any other indirect losses you may incur whether foreseen or not.

Governing Law

The Laws of England and Wales shall govern and the Courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction over

  1. The formation, existence, construction, performance, validity and all other aspects of these terms and conditions whatsoever
  2. Any and all claims made by you or us for any and all breaches acts omissions, misuses, liability and copyright claims as set out in these terms and conditions.

The East Anglian Film Archive is owned and operated by the University of East Anglia

© 2011 The East Anglian Film Archive of the University of East Anglia.