Our bespoke leather goods workshop is located in Saffron Walden in Essex, England.
Saffron Walden is a charming little market town 15 miles (24km) south of Cambridge and 43 miles (69km) north of London.
Saffron Walden is nestled in the Cam Valley and is surrounded by idyllic countryside. It retains a rural appearance and some buildings of the medieval period. The town’s history can be traced back to the Iron Age.
Although archaeological finds indicate that the area was once an Anglo-Saxon and Viking settlement, it was probably after the Norman Conquest that the town’s fortunes grew. Geoffrey de Mandeville, first Earl of Essex, built Walden Castle around 1140.
Geoffrey de Mandeville also founded Walden Abbey and contributed to the relocation of a market from Newport to Walden in 1141. An official charter was granted in 1295 for a Tuesday market, which still operates today along with an additional market day each Saturday.
During medieval times, the town’s main industry was wool and, in the 16th and 17th centuries, the successful cultivation of the Saffron Crocus would give the town its unique name. Good soil and climate were ideal for the plant whose coloured stigma was used in medicines, dye, condiments, perfume and even as an aphrodisiac.
During the 19th century, the Quakers had a strong influence on the town and one family, the Gibsons who founded Barclays Bank, funded the construction of some key buildings that are still in use today, including the museum and the Town Hall.
The last census in 2011 put the town’s population at 14,000, but there has since been considerable development meaning today’s figure is closer to 17,000
Church of St Mary the Virgin, Saffron Walden