Agriculture and its associated industries were at the centre of life and work in north-west Essex over many centuries. Today the buzz of the weekly auction sales has gone from Saffron Walden, few people encounter farming in their everyday lives and there is little sign of how malting once dominated the townscape. Yet historically Walden was a market town at the centre of a highly productive countryside, where vital industries in wool production and malting developed from its products. This is the theme explored in this book, together with a reflection on how different the Walden economy might have become had the much-vaunted canal scheme come into fruition in the 19th century. This wide-ranging perceptive analysis of land, agriculture and industry fills an important gap in the published history of a very special area of Essex.