Monday, 22 October 2012

Chigwell Row, Essex

I set out expecting to find most of the churches on this venture into south Essex locked  but was pleasantly surprised to find the majority open. All Saints, however, was not but I was not unduly concerned as it is a Victorian creation and undoubtedly the interior would be as drab as the exterior - not the worst I've seen but nor the best.

ALL SAINTS. 1867 by Seddon ‘excellent of its sort’ (GR). Yellow stone with white stone dressings. NW tower, low three-bay entrance porch with wheel window above. The style of the church is C13. Inside arcades with thickly carved stiff-leaf capitals. The chancel was rebuilt in 1918-19.

All Saints (4)

CHIGWELL ROW. From its highest point we look out over the Thames valley to the Kent hills, and below us is the famous Hainault Forest where kings and abbots hunted and the LCC now reigns over 1100 acres of rolling fields and woodland. So close it is to London, yet all around is wild and natural, the nightingale sings in the thicket, and many big trees increase their girth undisturbed, though the giant of them all, the Monarch Fairlop Oak, fell a century ago, when it was 45 feet round the trunk and had 17 branches each as big as an ordinary oak.

Thomas Day, author of Sandford and Merton, used to come from his home near by to pay a formal call on the oak every first Friday in July, a practice started by his namesake Daniel, a Wapping pumpmaker who came here to collect rent. The pumpmaker gave his friends an annual feast of bean and bacon under this tent of leaves 300 feet round, and when he died in 1767 his coffin was fashioned from a fallen branch.

An avenue of limes and chestnuts leads to a house close to the 19th century church with a tower of our own century, and it seems fitting that this church among the trees should be graced with much fine woodwork. The east window pictures in lovely colours the opening of the worship of the Lamb. On the wall an arch-angel with grey-blue wings of enamel honours the names of the fallen.

No comments:

Post a Comment