Win a watercolour painting of the Rodings by artist James Merriott


WAPLES WATER MILL Sadly it was demolished many years ago but remains a thing of beauty in my mind. I was able to complete this watercolour from a pencil sketch by Kenneth C. Reid drawn in 1931 - Credit: James Merriott

James Merriott continues his watercolour tour of Essex with a journey through a part of the county he considers to be of outstanding natural beauty

You will never find it written in a tourist guide or a travel book, but to drive along the lanes from Leytonstone to Saffron Walden (A113/B184) is my own personal area of ‘outstanding natural beauty’. 

To my knowledge, nowhere so close to London can you hear the song of a nightingale or linnet than on the Wanstead Flats or see a buzzard or kestrel hovering above you. 


THE AXE AND COMPASS INN Conspicuous and very picturesque on the main road through the village - Credit: James Merriott

What I find most striking is that I can experience these places almost exactly as I found them when I used to venture here in 1950 on my sister’s bicycle.

As I continued my weekly rides, I ventured further into deepest Essex, passing the Kings Head Inn at Chigwell (beloved by Charles Dickens and an inspiration for his writing) and Passingford Water Mill at Stapleford on the River Roding (beloved by me).  


CHURCH OF ST BOTOLPH BEAUCHAMP RODING St Botolph sits on top of its hill flanked with a superb collection of trees making it an enthralling sight - Credit: James Merriott

Eventually I was to become mesmerised upon reaching the tranquility of The Rodings. These villages appear seemingly unconscious of the spell they weave and have for 70 years been an ongoing and fulfilling part of my life. 

How truly wonderful it has been to paint this captivating beauty, and my composition includes three from Aythorpe, two from Berners and one from Beauchamp. The other five Roding villages are named High, Leaden, Margaret, White and Abbess. 


AYTHORPE RODING WINDMILL Stunningly beautiful when viewed across lovely meadowland from the village churchyard - Credit: James Merriott

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I hope to be able to feature these remaining villages in later editions of Essex Life. 


To win James' watercolour painting of the old Waples Water Mill in Margaret Roding, fill in the form below:

Fill out my online form.


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