The environs are occupied by vineyards, gardens and orchards, in which madder, saffron and tobacco, as well as figs, peaches, pears and other fruits, are cultivated.
The country around is flat and fertile, producing much wine, dates, oranges, oil, saffron and aniseed.
Thus in Nuremberg a regular saffron inspection was held, and in the 15th century we read of men being burned in the market-place along with their adulterated saffron, while on another occasion three persons convicted of the same crime were buried alive.
The crops principally raised are wheat and maize, though here, as well as in other parts of the government, barley, flax, tobacco, water-melons, gourds, fruit, wine, saffron and madder are grown.
The Blackwater in Essex, which rises near Saffron Walden, has a course of about 40 m.
One grain of saffron rubbed to powder with sugar and a little water imparts a distinctly yellow tint to ten gallons of water.
Wheat and other cereals are cultivated, with fruits of many kinds, olives, and vines which yield a wine of fair quality; while saffron is largely produced, and some attention is given to the keeping of bees and silkworms. Stock-farming, for which the wide plains afford excellent opportunities, employs many of the peasantry; the bulls of Albacete are in demand for bull-fighting, and the horses for mounting the Spanish cavalry.
From early times George Fox and many others had taken a keen interest in education, and in 1779 there was founded at Ackworth, near Pontefract, a school for boys and girls; this was followed by the reconstitution, in 1808, of a school at Sidcot in the Mendips, and in 1811, of one in Islington Road, London; it was afterwards removed to Croydon, and, later, to Saffron Walden.
SIR THOMAS SMITH (1513-1577), English scholar and diplomatist, was born at Saffron Walden in Essex on the 23rd of December 1513.
Good saffron has a deep orange-red colour; if it is light yellow or blackish, it is bad or too old.