Brentwood is a suburban town, located in the county of Essex, in the east of England.
It is situated 20 miles (30 km) north-east of London, near the M25 motorway, but despite it's close proximity to the capital, it retains a rural feel, and is surrounded by large areas woodland and open countryside. In part, this is due to the success of the government's Metropolitan 'Green Belt' policy, which has helped to halt the outward expansion of London's built-up area.
Brentwood has a population of around 71,500, a sizeable proportion of whom, commute to London for work. However, several notable businesses are also located in the within the town, including The Ford Motor Company's UK headquarters.
In 2008 The Daily Telegraph found Brentwood to be Britain's 19th richest town. The newspaper cited Brentwood's private schools, open parks, good motorway access and a 35-minute train journey to London's Liverpool Street station as reasons why it was chosen.
Brentwood gained some unfair notoriety and national attention in the 1990s, mocked as being the most boring town in Britain. The controversy was initially caused by a former manager of Brentwood Theatre, who, while being interviewed by a local reporter, said it was "hard to pick something interesting about Brentwood". He later claimed he meant it was hard to pick from the many interesting historical events in Brentwood's history.
The trivia that 'bored town' is an anagram of Brentwood added to the jesting in the press.
It is believed that the Saxons were the earliest known settlers to the area and it is likely that the town originated in a small clearing, in a forest, that created as a result of a fire. The name 'Brentwood' is a corruption of the words 'burnt' and 'wood' and, infact, the name Burntwood is still visible on some 18th century maps.
The settlement grew, as it lay on the crossroads of the old Roman road from London to Colchester, and in the middle ages, it became became a major coaching stop for stagecoaches, with plenty of inns for overnight accommodation, as horses were rested. A 'stage' was approximately ten miles, and being around 20 miles (32 km) from London, Brentwood wouldlikely have been a second stop for many travellers to East Anglia.