It used to be a more important settlement than Braintree in Norman times, although this has not been the case for a long time now.
If you enter Rayne from Braintree, you immediately arrive at a crossroads. The playing field is to your left, while to your right is a pub called "The Swan". Turning left into Gore Road takes you to the village hall, which overlooks the playing field. Alternatively, turning right into Shalford Road takes you into the north of the village, where there are such things as All Saints church, a war memorial, a stream called Pod's Brook, and a small airfield. There are also the old manor houses of Rayne Hall and Old Hall. Rayne Hall was for a long time the home of the Capel family, who became Earls of Essex.
If you continue along the main road, however, you will pass some more pubs, the old foundry, the post office, and an Indian restaurant, although not necessarily in that order. Continuing in that direction out of the village leads to the town of Great Dunmow.