Very little information can be found to give the exact dates of the founding of Hastingwood, and is assumed that Hastingwood was initially called Hazelwood probably due to it’s close proximity to a copse of hazel trees – possibly the 60 acres of woodland that existed in the Paris Hall area in 1520. It can be deduced however, that it does have strong ties with the Paris Hall Estate (founded circa 1086). This estate was a moated site surrounding the Paris Hall Manor, one of four ancient manors (all moated sites) within the North Weald Parish area. The Paris Hall Manor was rebuilt in about 1600. It is known that Hastingwood was used as Oliver Cromwells armery in 1645 as the area had an abundance of flint. Around this time existed Hastingwood Farm, which had become known locally as Rainbow Farm (from the owners surname). Post coaches would stop over here en-route from Cambridge to London, having use of the old barn to stable their horses. As ale could be purchased from one of the farm buildings, this developed into an Inn, known as ‘The Rainbow’. Later, with reference to the topiary bird figure on the grounds of the Inn, which people wrongly assumed was a dove, the tavern gradually became known as the ‘Rainbow and Dove’.
The barn at the Rainbow and Dove was also used as a popular dance hall, in the 1940’s. Much of the farm and its’ buildings were then demolished in 1954, though the Rainbow and Dove Pub and a few of the original buildings remain today. Currently, the pub is run by Andy and Kate whose family became licencees in the mid 1990’s. Their website can be found here: http://www.rainbowanddove.com/
Few facts can be learned about the village between the mid 1600’s and the mid 1900’s, but it is known that Hastingwood was in further development by the late 19th Century together with Thornwood, mainly due to the opening of the Epping – Ongar Railway in 1865. Hastingwood House, was built about 1840 and was a completely new residence. It is a large gault brick house (gault brick is a mixture of a heavy thick clay soil and sand that produces a color of brick between white and pale yellow, depending on the percentage of clay) standing in extensive grounds. New places of worship in the 19th century were the Congregational chapel in Weald Bridge Road, built about 1830 but closed about 1874, the chapel of ease at Hastingwood (1864), the iron mission church at Thornwood (1888), and the Wesleyan churches at Thornwood (1883) and Weald Gullet (1888).
Further information about the history of the surrounding area of Hastingwood can be found here: