Postcard of Chipping Ongar

Discover The Wonderful Ongars

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Postcard of Chipping OngarThe Ongars Offer Rural Living, Within Easy Reach of London

The civil parish of Ongar is in the heart of the Essex countryside, yet it lies just 20 miles from central London. There really is something for everyone in Ongar!

Anyone who has travelled by car between Essex and north east London cannot fail to have noticed the signs for Ongar, located within easy reach of the M11, M25 and A414. Yet how many of us have ever actually visited Ongar, or know our Chipping Ongar from our High Ongar?

With its blend of old world charm, metropolitan fame and historical buildings, all located in prime commuter territory, the Ongars tick all the right boxes for so many people that estate agents in Ongar are busier than ever.

What’s in a name?

Ongar derives from the old Anglo Saxon word Aungre, meaning grassland, and Chipping meant market. The civil parish of Ongar actually contains the town of Chipping Ongar and the village of High Ongar.

The parish also includes the villages of Greenstead, Shelley and Marden Ash.

Chipping Ongar

The town of Chipping Ongar lies at the heart of the parish of Ongar, and it is little wonder that the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

Its relatively close proximity to London made Chipping Ongar an important market town in medieval times, as is testified by the huge Norman castle, the remains of which can still be seen from the top of the High Street.

Today, the town has a population of around 6,000. It has received a certain amount of publicity as the former home of celebrity Jade Goodey, and also plays an important role in the final chapters of Will Self’s novel The Book of Dave. Despite these brushes with fame, Chipping Ongar retains its traditional market town feel.


The High Street has everything you could wish for to meet your day to day needs, and for those needing larger or more specialist shopping facilities, the towns of Chelmsford and Harlow are both a short drive away. There is also an abundance of pubs, restaurants and cafes to suit all tastes and budgets.

Leisure and culture

Ongar Castle was originally a wooden structure and was built in the 12th Century. The castle was visited by King Henry II in 1157. The original structure has long since been demolished, but the motte is still clearly visible from a public footpath that leads off the north end of the High Street.

A more recent tourist attraction is the secret nuclear bunker that causes many drivers to chuckle as they drive past the many signs that do little to keep the secret! The bunker is located around two miles south of Ongar on the A128.

The Epping Ongar railway is great for a day out, combining period buses, steam trains and diesel locomotives on the longest heritage line in Essex.

High Ongar and the neighbouring villages

The village of High Ongar lies a mile to the north east of Chipping Ongar and is centred around the beautiful Grade-1 listed church of St Mary the Virgin, which dates back to the 12th century. Like any good village, there is a traditional pub located close to the church, which is also a listed building and is popular with both locals and visitors.

The village of Greenstead lies a mile to the south west of Chipping Ongar and is home to the oldest wooden church in the world. Greenstead church has stood for more than 1,200 years and still holds services every week.

If you are looking for a rural home that is close to large towns and within easy reach of London, take a look at what’s on offer at the Ongars.