History Files


Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Essex

by Peter Kessler, 13 June 2010



Epping Forest Part 1: Churches of Chigwell

All Saints Church, Chigwell Row

All Saints Church, Chigwell Row lies on the eastern side of Romford Road, just below the Lambourne Road crossroads. Chigwell Row appeared on maps as early as 1645, part of the parish of Chigwell, or 'king's well'. In 1860 the separate parish of Chigwell Row was formed, and land that had been part of Hainault Forest was given for a church. Architect J P Seddon, whose other work includes Cork Cathedral, came up with an initial plan that was too expensive.

All Saints Church, Chigwell Row

His second attempt produced the present yellow brick church with Godalming stone facing and walls a metre (three feet) thick. Completed in 1867, there was no tower. The stone front wall replaced an iron fence in 1895, and a lych gate was added in 1933. Finally, in 1903, the tower was added, supplying space for the baptistery. Initially six bells were installed by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. with a further two being added in 1928. Electric lighting was installed in 1954.

Chigwell Row United Reformed Church

Chigwell Row United Reformed Church sits on the northern side of Lambourne Road, close to Grove Road. Built in the Georgian style in yellow brick with white stone edgings, it opened as an Independent chapel on 31 May 1804. Closed in 1857 after experiencing difficulties, in May 1858 it was reopened as Chigwell Row Congregational Church with the help of the Essex Congregational Union. By 1952, the church was a United Free Church, but by 2010 had become URC.

St Mary the Less Church

St Mary the Less Church occupies the south-west corner of Roding Lane and the High Road in the centre of Chigwell, although 'the Less' is absent from the modern church notice board. It was nearly a century after William the Conqueror seized Chigwell's Woolston Manor that the Norman church was built by Ralph Britto, in 1160. That church still remains (the handsome flint section nearest the camera), along with the Lady Chapel (far left) and original doorway.

St Mary the Less Church

The north aisle (the plain brown section nearest the camera) and chancel were added in 1887 by Sir Arthur Blomfield, a leading Victorian architect. The bell cote was probably added at the same time. A handsome collar-beam roof was fitted above the nave, and the old church became the present Lady Chapel and south aisle. Inside, the fine ceiling, pulpit and rederos were all designed by George F Bodley, as were the beautiful 'Angels' panels which now hang at the west door.

Chigwell School Chapel

Chigwell School Chapel lies behind the main school buildings on the High Street and is visible from the north side of Roding Lane. Chigwell School was founded in 1629 by Samuel Harsnett, archbishop of York, and the present school is a descendant of that, after going through several different incarnations. The simple red brick chapel, seen on the righthand side of the photo, was added in 1924. Pupils and staff in the school attend services in the chapel twice a week.

In Depth
In Depth


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