Hatfield Broad Oak (also known as HBO or Hatfield Regis) is a village and civil parish in the Uttlesford district of Essex, England.
The village is approximately 5 miles (8 km) south-east of Bishop's Stortford and is part of the electoral ward called Broad Oak and the Hallingburys.
The population of this ward at the 2011 census was 3,571.
Near the church of St Mary the Virgin is former Benedictine priory Hatfield Regis Priory.
The settlement of Hatfield was well established by the time of the Norman Conquest and its Domesday Book population of 115 put it as the ninth biggest settlement in Essex.
At one time a royal manor of Harold I, it fell under the possession of William I.
Popular for hunting in the neighbouring forest, its royal patronage led to its becoming known as Hatfield Regis, or King's Hatfield, partly to distinguish it from Hatfield Peverel, also in Essex.
Traces of Bronze Age occupation have been found in the parish, including the Portingbury Hills mound in Hatfield Forest.
By the time the priory was dissolved, the town had over 1000 residents.
The modern hedges in Hatfield Broad Oak still follow the boundaries the ancient forest following clearances known as Assarting.
A phonetic version of the name might be that recorded in 1381 as "Hatfeld Broodhook"
The name Hatfield Broad Oak has been used since at least 1136, and the eponymous oak was mentioned in record in 1295.
The forest still contains the fenced remains of a very large oak known as the "Doodle Oak", estimated as 850 years old, though it is believed to be a different tree to that which gave the parish its name.
Hatfield forest, is an Ancient woodland, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a National Nature Reserve (NNR).
It is now in the possession of the National Trust.
At around 8,800 acres (36 km2) the parish is one of the largest in Essex, stretching 4 miles (6 km) north of the village, and was formerly divided into four "quarters": Town Quarter, Woodrow Quarter, Heath Quarter, and Bruntsend Quarter.
At the north end of the parish lies Hatfield Forest, known for its large oak trees.
Approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) to the north of the village, and included in the parish, is the hamlet of Bush End, with its church, the Grade II listed St John the Evangelist, which dates to 1856.
The Village boasts 2 public houses, The Cock Inn, dates to the fifteenth century and the more modern Dukes Head, first recorded in 1755.
The Village shop and post office is well used by local residents and passing trade alike as is the local butchers of high repute.
Each May Bank holiday a 10 kilometre road race is held using a course running around the village attracting a large number of entrants.
A Saxon church was present in Hatfield at the time of the Domesday Book.
The present parish church of St Mary the Virgin is early medieval, and has a stone tower with eight bells.
The largest weighs 17cwt and was cast in 1782 by Patrick & Osbourne, a private bell foundry, who at the time worked in direct competition to Whitechapel Bell Foundry.
The parish church was at one time part of the priory church but was rebuilt for separate parochial use towards the end of the fourteenth century and extended over the next century.
The nave contains the mutilated stone effigy of Robert de Vere, 3rd Earl of Oxford, who was buried in the church in 1221.
In 1708 Sir Charles Barrington built a vestry at the east end of the south chapel to hold the library formed by the vicar, Revd George Stirling. The Parish Library has been expanded and is one of the last Church Libraries in Essex
St Mary’s Church of England Primary School is in the village of Hatfield Broad Oak, serving the villages on the Herts / Essex Border to the south of Stansted Airport. Pupils come to us from Dunmow, Canfield, Takeley, Priors Green, Hatfield Heath, Bush End, Hallingbury, Four Ashes, and the Rodings.
The School is “Healthy Schools” accredited and is very proud to have received a 5* Food Hygiene Rating. Good quality home cooked lunches are provided every day with fruit available at break times.
In the Village Hall HBO
Wednesday 8th January
Full Parish Council