Chigwell derived from King's Well or Cicca's Well the jury is out!
While researching the history of Chigwell I discovered that a well known historian from Chigwell's past has already written a history of the area. A copy of Peter Comber's history of Chigwell can be read (here). I have printed a copy for Anne and posted it through her door and have stopped the historical research to some extent based on this wonderful find. I would like to thank Yvonne Sandford for her help in finding the account and for helping me navigate back to the Car Park, whilst I was visiting the various wells and ponds in Hainault Forest.
It the text of PH Reaney's book titled Place-Names of Essex, Cinguella is the first name used within historical annals for our parish - in the Doomsday Book of 1086. By 1294 the same area was being called Chike Well and had already had a whole host of other similar titles.
British History Online (BHO) documents the etymology of Chigwell, as such:
This place is called, in the most ancient records, Cingwella, which some suppose to signify the King's Well; others derive the last syllable from the Saxon word Weald, or wood (fn. 1). This etymology, perhaps, is the more probable, as it was in ancient times a part of the royal demesnes. Later records have varied the name to Chykwell and Chigwell.
You can read their full account on Chigwell (here)
You can also read one of the original writings of our Parish name on the Plea Rolls of the Court of Common Pleas 1235. National Archives. (click here). Chikewell is mentioned in entry five but you may struggle to read the text as writing styles have altered massively since then.
Like most people involved in researching the history of Chigwell I have formed my own opinion. Though BHO is correct that the woods and surrounds were often held by Lords on behalf of Kings which include Edward the Confessor and William the Conqueror, both of who no doubt, enjoyed hunting in our local forests all those many years ago.
I cannot believe the very clear last syllable of our name which so early on in our history was distorted. Firstly, there is no recorded history of the name weald being used to refer to our Parish at any time. Moreover, the longevity of the use of the term well suggests that is term that was supposed to be used. Moreover, many other references to Mineral wells and even a Kings Well or Cicca's Well reinforce that our name is more likely derived from our watery past.