The area of Stansted Mountfitchet has been settled since the Palaeolithic (Stone Age) through the Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age) and Neolithic (New Stone Age). There is little doubt that Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements existed and the Roman influence can be seen in the area.
The area was subjected to the Saxon invasion between the 5th and 7th centuries and most noticeably the Norman Conquest in the 11th century. The name Stansted is of Saxon origin compounded from the two Saxon words ‘Stan’ meaning a stone and ‘Sted’ meaning a place. The area is renowned for the stony soil and appears to have been why it was named.
In the 11th Century, William The Conqueror granted the Lordship of the Manor of and Bentfield Bury to the Germon family, who later changed their name to Montfitchet. From this the family name was incorporated into the place name.
During the 12th century a Norman Knight, Richard de Montfitchet had the motte and bailey castle built, in which the family lived. An impression of what the castle would have looked like remains today as a tourist attraction having been recreated by a local businessman.
St Mary’s Church is situated in Church Road, the North Chapel originally a Norman Church. In the North Chapel is the effigy of a cross-legged knight, which is believed to be the tomb of Richard de Montfitchet from circa 1300. There are other notable tombs within the Church including a painted recumbent effigy of Hester Salusbury wearing a fashionable ‘High Hat’ from circa 1614 and a standing wall monument to Sir Thomas Middleton and his wife, Lord Mayor of London circa 1631.
St Mary’s Church remains standing alongside Stansted Hall redundant although it continues to be maintained by the Churches conservation Trust.
St Johns Church was built in 1889 as a chapel of ease and is now the Anglican Parish Church, designed by the architect W.D.Caroee. Most of the funds were provided by the Pulteney Family. The United Reform Church and Quaker Meeting House are situated still on Chapel Hill and the Roman Catholic Church of St Theresa is situated in Millside near to where the windmill and formerly the millers house stand.
The Stansted Windmill built in 1787is a fine example of a tower mill, the last type of this mill to evolve. It was last worked in 1910 and in 1935 Lord Blyth gave it to the village. It holds an ancient monument status. The original workings are almost complete. It has undergone a conservation programme; the most recent works being completed in 1995.
William Fuller Maitland built Stansted Hall in 1871, a Neo-Jacobean red brick mansion house in Church Road set in the grounds of Stansted Park, which had been designed by Repton for an earlier Stansted Hall. William Fuller Maitland gave the Recreation ground to the village in 1867. Fullers House in Church Road was built as an almshouse by the Fuller Maitland family and now modernised still serves the community as 17 self-contained flats for the elderly.
Hargrave House originally dated from 1777 and was the home of the Pulteney Family. It was completed in its present form in 1875 in situated Hargrave Park with later additions in 1880 and 1898. It is situated in Cambridge Road and was designed by C.R.Pritchett. Much of the original land belonging to Hargrave Park has been sold off In 1939 it was converted into the Mary MacArthur Holiday Home for working women. It is now owned commercially and is run as a retirement home.
Cambridge Road runs along the line of the old Roman road. It is reputed to have the largest mile iron in Essex indicating Thaxted 9, Cambridge 23, Saffron Waldren 9, Dunmow 10, London 31, Chelmsford 21.
Stansted Mountfitchet situated in the undulating countryside of North West Essex with ample road and rail links is subject to much development and change. The Stansted international Airport is situated 2 miles to the South East. Stansted Mountfitchet is one of the largest parishes in Essex and encompasses the settlements of Bentfield end and Burton End
Essex County Council, Uttlesford District Council and Stansted Mountfitchet Parish Council are responsible for the provision and maintenance of services in the village. The Parish Council, which was established in 1894 as the Stansted Rural District Council, provides the day-to-day services. The first chairman was William Fuller Maitland from 1894 to 1919. Today there are three wards – Bentfield, Castle and Mountfitchet with 15 members of the Council elected every 4 years.