The Essex town dubbed 'the greatest place in the world' by Charles Dickens

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Essex is a county that boasts an array of stunning towns, villages and cities. Whether you're drawn to the lively atmosphere of places like Chelmsford or the tranquil beauty of villages such as Finchingfield, there's something for everyone.

Everyone has their favourite spot in the county, including renowned English author Charles Dickens. Dickens, who created some of the most iconic characters in literature and is often hailed as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era, had a particular fondness for one part of Essex.

The place that captured Dickens' heart was none other than the modern-day celebrity haven of Chigwell. This town and civil parish in the Epping Forest District is not only home to numerous celebrities but also serves as the backdrop for the popular TV show Birds of A Feather.

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Reaney's Place-Names of Essex, the name 'Chigwell' originates from 'Cicca's well', with Cicca being an Anglo-Saxon personal name. The name has appeared in medieval sources with various spellings, including "Cinghe uuella" and "Chikewelle".

There have been attempts to link the name to a lost "king's well", believed to have been located southeast of the parish near the border of what is now thought to be the London Borough of Redbridge.

In a letter to a friend, the renowned Victorian author penned: "Chigwell, my dear fellow, is the greatest place in the world. According to Great British Life, it's even suggested that the Maypole Inn, featured in his novel Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of 'Eighty, was inspired by the Ye Olde King's Head Inn in Chigwell.

The Ye Olde King's Head functioned as a pub until 2011. The building was then sold to local resident Lord Sugar's property company Amsprop, which now leases the Grade 1 listed building to the Sheesh Turkish restaurant.

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