Britain's most photographed village: How US airmen tried to buy picturesque Finchingfield

  • Hannah Pettifer explored Finchingfield as ITV News Anglia revisits communities featured in its Portrait of a Village series

It has been dubbed the most photographed village in the UK - but for one group of US airmen, a quick snap just was not enough.

With its chocolate-box houses and welcoming pubs, Finchingfield in Essex won the hearts of its wartime visitors so much they tried to buy it.

If the bid had succeeded, they would have literally picked up the buildings and shipped them across the Atlantic - making the journey to grab that picturesque piccie a rather longer one for many.

Finchingfield sits just a stone's throw from the former RAF Wethersfield which was home to the US Air Force during the Second World War and frequently welcomed visitors from the base.

You can see why those US airmen wanted to take a piece of this home with them... Credit: ITV News Anglia

But, according to Roy Cox, who runs the Finchingfield Community Group, when the war came to an end, they were reluctant to leave it behind.

"When the Americans were at the base two miles up the road, they loved this village," he said. "They loved all the pubs.

"When the war ended, they didn't want to leave the village and a few of them got together - quite wealthy, I understand - and they put in an offer to buy the village and transport it, or parts of it, back to America."

Mr Cox said, while some villagers were tempted by the vast sums of money on offer, the bid ultimately failed and the buildings remained in place.

Thankfully for Anglia Television which, more than 40 years ago, featured Finchingfield as part of its Portrait of a Village series.

ITV News Anglia has returned to the nearly-lost village to see if much has changed.

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