My Favourite Village...Essex and England cricket legend Graham Gooch picks Ingatestone and Fryerning


EXG JUN 14 GG - Credit: Archant

Which is your favourite Essex location?

For me it would have to be the villages of Ingatestone and Fryerning.

What do you like most about this part of Essex?

It is a comfortable place to live with plenty of facilities and it’s centrally located between Chelmsford and the M25. As a cricketer you travel the country all the time, so ease of travel is important.

Have you ever lived in this part of Essex?

I moved to Ingatestone in 1993 and relocated to Fryerning in 1995.

What are your first memories of Fryerning?

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Fryerning has wonderful country lanes and in 1995 I used to run all the time to keep in shape. I developed a particular run which I called ‘The Triangle’ with the three roads of Mill Green Road, Mill Lane and Back Lane making the triangle. My routine was to sprint one side, jog one side and sprint the next, and so on. Years later I had the present England cricket captain Alastair Cook doing the same routine, but with a slight difference. I made him carry some house bricks while I was riding my bike.

Has Fryerning changed over time?

Yes, sadly a few pubs and shops have closed. My closest pub, The Woolpack, has gone and is being turned into a residential house. Also there used to be a really old-fashioned petrol station where an attendant used to come out and serve you.

Who are the characters you most enjoy bumping into in the village?

In the mid-90s I first met Bob Boninngton; he was looking after my house and garden for the previous owners. Bob is a great character and he loves a real ale at the local pubs, especially The Viper in Mill Green Road. His favourite drop is Augustinian from the Negthergate Brewery in Clare, Suffolk. He has lived in Ingatestone and Fryerning all his life and is always keeping me entertained with stories about the history of his patch.

Tell us more about the village pubs?

The Viper is the only pub in this country with that name. If you like your real ale’s in a country setting, this is the pub for you. It is small and cozy, and Julia (my wife) and I enjoy going for long walks ending up there for a few pints on a Sunday. Being a free house, the beer is first class and they have beer festivals on bank holidays. It always attracts a wide cross section of local people and my friend Bob is often seen at the bar around 10pm on most nights.

What is it that keeps the community spirit of this area alive?

The heart of this place is about the local people, especially the wonderful independent shopkeepers. It has people like Martin Green of Greens the Butchers and Abigail and Phil who run Abigail’s delicatessen. Martin has been a butcher for more than 40 years and Abigail’s is a brilliant place to have lunch or a coffee. I often meet my daughters there because two of them live in the village.

Where do you find the best views in this part of Essex?

I am biased, but I think the best view is from my house looking across the fields to the magnificent St Mary’s Church in Fryerning. Interestingly, in the church graveyard are buried two famous Essex cricketers from the 19th century, Charles Kortright and AP Lucas — their graves are 22 yards apart!

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